Friday, August 11, 2006
Engineering, Accounting, Medicine
Some figures were released a few days ago showing the disparity between the job choices of students from different races. I looked at the black students and instantly recognised the choices. The BBC is the top choice for most races, but I don't understand why it's also top choice for black people. I reckon many people think it'll be "nice" to work for the BBC, but not on the same level as people "waiting for that Shell job". Which is probably why the BBC is top of the list.
No doubt that Shell is there because of oil obsessed Nigerians. If worshiping Shell wasn't so blatantly blasphemous, many a Nigerian would be burning incense at the foot oil rigs in the Delta. Shell satisfies the wannabe engineers, since they can drill (destroy) the land, and accountants for fiscal responsibility (cookbooking). The parents jump for joy.
I haven't the foggiest idea where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office come in. I can only assume it is skewed by Caribbean blacks. And perhaps also the Red Cross. It has never been the desire of Nigerians to work for the state, or to work for charity. Yes I know there are many Nigerian charities in existence, and that's the point. They don't want to work for other people's charities such as Oxfam, Christian Aid etc, but to start their own charities. Egotism. And as far as the FCO is concerned, the days when Nigerians wanted to work for government are long gone. They want contracts with the government, they want commissioner positions, they want ministerial posts, but not to be a lowly civil servant. Nigerians, being the Americans of Africa, are insular, and generally don't speak foreign languages. I know I'll be slated for saying that, but tis true.
NHS needs no explanation. "My daughter is a medical doctor," and "my daughter is saw-jion." Nurses would also turn up in the NHS, which is over-represented when it comes to ethnic minorities.
Accenture, PWC, and JP Morgan all fall into the accountant category. I can never understand why people going into accounting. I have many accountant friends, bless their hearts, but I just don't geddit. The most boring girl I ever met was an accountant:
Me (in lothario mode): So what do you do?
Her (bored): I'm an accountant.
Me (making conversation): Really? That's interesting (trying hard to make sure my growing nose doesn't show, Pinocchio style). Why accounting? (like I care)
Her (still bored): I don't know. It's okay.
Me (getting infected by her boredom): You don't know why you like accounting? (genuinely astonished)
Her (ridiculously bored): I don't know. It's okay.
Me: Oh my goodness, is that X? I haven't seen him in such a long time, I'll go and say hi. Don't go anywhere, I'll be back. (Will I heck?)
I'm not the most irresistible on man in the planet (okay, I lie. I am), but if there's one thing I can do, it's talk. Note that I'm not saying that I'm good at making conversation, but for someone to be bored enough to make me not want to talk... After some enquiries about said girl, it turned out that she was just generally a boring person, and bored everyone. Yep, men gossip too. But that's accountants for you. The ones who didn't make it into sciences get shoved into the nothingness of otherness.
Microsoft fits into the IT/engineering mould of Nigerian graduates. BA and Virgin must have been recent additions. If you travel on those airlines all the time to go back home, why not work for them? You'll be the envy of all your friends. Lagos today, Dubai tomorrow, Buenos Aires another time. Look at the Luis Vuitton suitcase I brought from a mall in Tokyo. Might even bring home some exotic looking Spaniard named Emilio Corazon de la Piñata Oruzco. Aspirational.
In all honesty, the immigrants are largely the same. Banking, engineering, medicine, accounting. Heaven forfend that a brown person works for the government. White people want to work for the BBC, FCO, MOD, Environment Agency, NHS, Civil Service, Cabinet Office, Teach First. Nearly all are public service organisations.
I have a couple of theories for this. One is simple, which is that the immigrants still don't feel any affinity to their host nation, and therefore no obligation to serve that community by working for the government. The second - and this relates more to Nigerians - is that Nigerians do not believe in government. The government has never done anything for them, so why would they work for it? It has never educated them, never given them water, never given them roads, never given them healthcare. So why would they work in the public sector when as far as they can see, it doesn't exist? It is also partly the reason that many Nigerians are politically conservative. Social conservatism helps, but the government has never done anything for them, so they have no reason to believe in government.