I’ve been wanting to do this series for ages, for two reasons. The second reason is that I’m genuinely curious about what people do at work. As a child, I used to wonder what happened when people simply said they were ‘going to work’. And even now as an adult, when I’m on my desk at my own ‘work’, I wonder what everyone else is doing!
The more important reason, however, stems from the serious part of me. In recent times, there’s been such a dig at those who work 9-5 or who have proper jobs. A lot of people insinuate that it’s bondage, slavery, rat-race, a mess etc – and being self-employed or an entrepreneur is the way. But we all know how impossible that is! Even entrepreneurs hire employees. Plus some people genuinely quite like the 9-5s or day jobs that they have.
So, I’m super glad I’m finally kicking this off with someone I really like! In the first week, I started blogging, someone said to me ‘Check out Osemhen’s blog – looks like something you’d love‘. She wasn’t wrong. I absolutely did and literally, read every single blog post. She’s so smart and so lovely.
In her words “I’m a wife, a mom, an engineer, a writer and generally just nerdy“. Today, she takes us into a day in her life as an engineer at a global company, from when she wakes up, to after work hours, plus what she’d do if she never had to work again! Fun fact: She works in the same company as her husband!
at 5:15. I snooze till 5:20 but I’m really trying to break that habit! I get ready, then wake the kiddo up to get him ready for creche. Usually, I’ve packed his diaper bag the night before and all that’s left is to move his food from the fridge into a cooler bag. I place all the bags (my handbag, lunch bag, laptop bag, his cooler bag and diaper bag) by the front door. This is a crucial step. I’ve actually forgotten my laptop bag and his cooler bag on occasion! If I’m packing a microwaveable lunch for myself, I’ll get that ready as well. If I’m making a sandwich for myself, I’ll assemble it. I might eat a quick cereal breakfast as well but this happens less often since I developed lactose intolerance. Some days, the kiddo wakes up hungry so I make him a quick tuna sandwich or a peanut butter sandwich and a cup of milk. No day’s the same really.
My husband K and I work for the same company so we actually ride to work together. It’s an interesting experience (I will blog about this one day). The kiddo’s creche is in the building next to us so that’s another layer of convenience. We drive in the same car; it’s about 20-30 minutes to get to work depending on the traffic. We use that time to catch up on our morning prayers and I listen to podcasts. If I’ve left the house in a hurry, I’ll do my make-up in the car as we listen to the news.
Monday morning traffic selfie…
execution of maintenance on Process Automation, Control and Optimization equipment for a plant. Let me think of a simple way to describe this. There’s a plant. A lot of the processes on the plant are automated. I help maintain and fix the equipment. I don’t work in the front line (used to) but there’s a lot of planning and backend work that needs to happen before equipment can be fixed. Contracts. Vendor mobilization. Procurement of spares. Determining the type and frequency of maintenance…that sort of thing.
by interning with the company when I was in school. They came to the university of Lagos (UNILAG) to advertise their assessed internship program. I completed a project in six months that I presented to HR and business representatives. I must’ve done a good job; I was literally recruited straight out of university. No exams. No interviews. I was pretty lucky.
is meetings, meetings, meeting. Work starts at 7. We have a team huddle at 7:30 where we give updates on what we’ve all been working on. At 8, I usually get on the phone with various stakeholders and colleagues in other teams. I represent my team at a Production Review meeting at 9 am. We compare expected production rates of the plant with actual production rates, determine the gaps, and agree on how to close them. At 9:30, we connect with the plant leadership. If I’m lucky, these are the only meetings I’ll attend. I’m slightly obsessive about time management so all my various tasks are scheduled into my Outlook Calendar in 30-minute or 1-hour slots. If I have to do something, I find a slot for it on my calendar. If it’s not there, it won’t get done.
Lunch is at 12 but we can go earlier or later if we want. If I haven’t had breakfast, it’ll be an early lunch (say 11:15). If I’ve had a hearty breakfast, I’ll skip lunch altogether. There’s a lovely cathedral a 5 minute walk away and midday mass starts at 12:30 so sometimes, I’ll attend. Sometimes, with K. Once or twice, we’ve gone with the kiddo. Once in a long while, we might eat lunch together. But not often.
Lunch with K at Freedom Park, Lagos
Strolled to the day care to eat lunch with the kiddo. Sock-fie?
If there’s a birthday party at work, we get food and cake during lunch time!
Work closes at 4. K and I usually work till about 4:30. We have to align our closing times and work schedules because we share the car. If we have conflicting demands, one of us will leave the other behind. Happens sometimes.
Hmmm. My most memorable moments are the times when I’ve been most anxious. So speaking up in meetings with senior leadership, progress checks on my work etc.
It can be monotonous sometimes. Might explain why I don’t have really memorable moments. It’s day in, day out work. It’s not very interesting and so I think it explains why I do so many more things outside work. Volunteering. Blogging. Writing. Etc.
Bare desk. I don’t keep personal items except a small crucifix. It reminds me that Jesus died on the cross and I should tolerate the daily annoyances in my life. Lost the first one, bought another, found the first one. So I have two now.
It’s a global company and so there’s that global perspective it gives you working with smart people from other parts of the world. The work processes are best-in-class and standardized. There are many processes that I even apply in planning and executing my daily life. I’m learning a lot about how organizations work and should work, and it’s giving me ideas of how perhaps we could make Nigeria as a country work. Working with a company that has over 100 years of history behind it, and has survived world wars, you learn about sustainability and if I ever go into public service, it’s experience that will serve me in good stead. It’s like an on-the-job MBA.
We also get decent leave (compassionate leave (when requested), 16 weeks of maternity leave, 32 working days of annual leave). We can work from home if we want. And part time working is allowed too (as long as you’ve negotiated with your boss). There are also a lot of travel opportunities (depends on your department, though). A number of our trainings are abroad so you could rack up airline miles pretty quick. Additionally, at some point in our careers, most of us get opportunities to work abroad, in other parts of the company. These assignments range anywhere from 1 to 8 years. It can be fun, if you’d like living abroad.
Few goodies I copped from the Netherlands, after the most intense training course ever!
get exposed to as many varied experiences as possible. I interviewed for the internship and through out, I discussed things like volunteer work I’d done, newspaper articles I’d read etc. Learn Powerpoint and Excel. Learn about different cultures (I broke the ice with an Indian colleague by baking naan. We’re very good friends now.) A lot of what I learned in school is history, the work isn’t that technical. The real strengths come from emotional intelligence and building relationships, things that sometimes conflict with the natural aggressiveness of the typical Nigerian. I’m not 100% in both but I’m learning.
is that engineers are boring people. Our work might be boring but the people aren’t. We have lots of laughs and many of us have creative lives outside work.
Favourite nap spot!
I try to spend as much time as possible bonding with my son. This kinda explains why I blog less. But he’s still in the toddler phase and I know it’s important for his personality at this stage to be secure in his parents’ attention and affection. We read and play and then he eats dinner, takes a bath and goes to bed. We aim for an 8pm bedtime but it’s sometimes later. If I have the energy afterwards, I’ll blog or read or catch up on my office work *covers face*
I like the structure and the predictability. I like the people I meet, the ways I’m having to grow by interacting with so many different people. I like knowing what my income is, and will be. I’m a very plan-driven person. Miss me with the “adventure of not knowing“. Writing fiction is already enough for my imagination, thank you very much!
Independence day celebrations at work
I’d go on to open a small cafe somewhere that served coffee and tea and freshly baked goods and doubled as a library/bookstore. It would be the sort of place where I knew all my patrons and where writers and artistes could come work quietly in the corner. I don’t know if it would make much money. So I’d also need a trust fund. Lol.
Economics? Political Science? I’d do something that just required me to read and write (not Law, too technical) and formulate ideas about how the world works.
I loved loved this interview, so much that when it was all ready I couldn’t wait to share, even though it had been initially scheduled for much later. Her point on number 9 is so important and one I try to emphasise to everyone these days. It’s much more than the technical skills or the degrees – it’s emotional IQ and relationships that make you stand out! I also love how honest she was at the fact that it could sometimes get monotonous, and i’m looking forward to that blog post on the ride to work with her husband – I’ve often wondered how that would play out for me!
Check out Osemhen’s blog at www.eurekanaija.com, where she blogs about about food, books, hair. She also runs blazersandbaby.com – a website for working mothers.
I’ll hope this was a useful and interesting read, and I’ll love to hear your thoughts! If you or anyone else would like to share a day in your work life, get in touch!
pS: It’s interesting she thinks Law is too technical. Now I feel like I need to get a lawyer on here to clear the air.
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Temitayo CharlesJuly 20, 2017 at 08:29
Interesting read!..sharing a ride to work sounds like fun to me. I think I’ll want to share lunch too, at least 2 or 3 times a week.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 21, 2017 at 14:00
I think I’d def want to share lunch as well – but then maybe seeing the person too often might take the fun out of it?
AbbyJuly 20, 2017 at 10:14
Interesting! The segments you keep adding to your blog and the questions are so diverse and interesting. Love it. Well done Mama 😘
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 21, 2017 at 14:00
AfomaJuly 20, 2017 at 10:18
This is such a fun series! I love Osemhen too! So interesting to hear all the behind the scenes stuff! Joy Ehonwa runs a similar series about the lives of people in different careers and I enjoy it so much! You might like ithttp://www.connectnigeria.c…Well done! Can’t wait to read more 🙂
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 21, 2017 at 13:59
I’m so curious about behind the scenes stuff, it’s crazy. Lol! I’ve come across Joy’s series! I should probably catch up on it. Thanks for that.
Amara Nicole OkoloJuly 20, 2017 at 10:58
Loved this, very insightful and such a beautiful young lady with a lovely home. Lol Law CAN be technical…I should know as a lawyer, so I get her point. Can get really monotonous too. But the best part is research (which I am more passionate about) and it helps my writing in turn because, a writer has to research anyways. Kills two birds with a stone! 😊
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 21, 2017 at 13:58
Weirdly enough, as a Lawyer, I’m not a huge fan of the research bit of Law. I sort of prefer the ‘technical’ aspects. I’m glad you enjoyed this! Xx
FaeJuly 20, 2017 at 11:31
Oh yeah! **happy dance** Osemhen is one lovely inspiring lady! I met her once, at a field location, when I had the opportunity to intern with the same company she works for (I just admired from afar, though).This interview was very helpful to me because I consider her a sort of career “mentor”. I’ve been wondering what it is like to work for a global company and I’m glad I now know upfront about how monotonous it can get. Like her, I love the structure and predictability of paid work; even if I own a business, I would still love to have the security of paid employment.Thank you Kachee for keeping your promise. Looking forward to more of these interviews. xx
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 21, 2017 at 13:56
Happy dance here too that you dropped a comment! Oh, interning with that company should have been nice. I think there are very few jobs that aren’t or wouldn’t be monotonous in a way. The secret is finding happiness that monotony or outside our jobs.I’ll sure be bringing more of these your way! Please do share with others as well.
Awe BoluwatifeJuly 20, 2017 at 12:10
Awwww!!! This was such a fun read. I know Osehmen from a distance, a sister’s friend sister. The knowing is long sha! She is really an inspiration. Love the fact she works in the same company with her husband. I actually thought all companies frowned at that. So its good to know some don’t.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 21, 2017 at 13:53
Lol @ the story is long. In a way, it’s often such a small world isn’t it?Some companies frowm at it – usually smaller companies. It’s usually not an issue in global or larger companies.
Vivian AFJuly 20, 2017 at 12:46
Love, love this!Osemhen’s writing is very inspirational and this was a really interesting interview.www.thealaroro.com
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 20, 2017 at 18:41
Thanks Viv! She has an amazing writing talent!
memoirsoJuly 20, 2017 at 13:22
she’s so pretty!i can totally relate with the bags by the door; if you ain’t smart as a mother…motherhood will outsmart you.Nice read…worth the mb
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 21, 2017 at 13:52
Hahaha @ outsmart you. She’s very pretty indeed!
Ife.OJuly 20, 2017 at 16:48
Came here from Osemhen’s blog. I love this! 9-5 jobs get vilified so much this days, it’s really annoying. Hahaha Osemhen sounds so similar to me, especially when she mentioned predictability. I’m also the somewhat anal person who plans every hour of her day. It’s interesting she mentioned political science and the opportunity it gives to formulate ideas about the world. I’m in the political science/international relations field and one of the major reasons I’m doing this is because it’s not abstract and we deal with real life issues. Interestingly though, elites/scholars of the field are constantly trying to make it more technical and/or “sciency” (a real science, they would say), which…not that the idea sucks, it just takes a little away from why I loved the field anywaywww.themoderncedar.com
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 20, 2017 at 18:40
Hi Ife!It’s honestly so so annoying, I get tired of responding to people. Was planning to create a separate platform for this and other career stuff, but I thought I’d better just get going on my blog. Interestingly I use to be a science student in secondary school and switched to all so I could deal with real life issues – chemistry & physics were slightly too abstract! So I sort of get her point.It’s really nice to have you here and I hope you stick around. Xx
NedouxJuly 21, 2017 at 04:42
Hi Kachi,I. Really. Enjoyed. Reading. This. A. Lot :-)I half-and-half with my 9-to-5 and entrepreneurial venture. So, I can relate 100% with the (stable) structure & (financial) predictability that a 9-5 provides.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 21, 2017 at 13:52
I’m glad you did! And I’m a huge fan of that financial predictability as well!
Peter EchemiJuly 24, 2017 at 11:52
Found this on twitter and thoroughly enjoyed it for its simplicity. Recently started a blog devoted to fictional men’s issues and it’s been a worthwhile experience.Points raised in 7,12 & 13 resonate with me. On 14. I’d suggest you did political science, not sure you’d love econometrics!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 24, 2017 at 22:54
Glad you loved it! I’ll aim to have a monthly feature on this, so maybe subscribe to the blog so you get updates? Wish you left your blog link. I’d have loved to check it out.
Peter EchemiJuly 25, 2017 at 04:46
I’ve subscribed via Bloglovin so I’ll get notifications once a post is up.https://medium.com/men-only…
TeeJuly 25, 2017 at 16:57
Loved everything about this. Always admired Osemhen from afar on twitter.My husband and I started car pooling to work in February and its most rewarding.(cost saving, more bonding time, and getting immediate feelers on how each others day went). Although on some days, this means I have to get to work earlier than I normally would (the 8am resumption time at my office is quite relaxed) and then wait an extra 30mins every day. I have decided to put in this extra time to personal development though.Oh! and you do a great job with this space Kachee, every post is always RICHLove
Grace SmartJuly 27, 2017 at 11:02
Kachee. This is an innovative step. This is awesome and I enjoyed every part of it. Please, don’t start a youtube series because not everyone’s got that much data. Anyway, you can start it. Just joking but also, write it out here. This was so enjoyable to read!www.liveinibadan.blogspot.com
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 27, 2017 at 11:07
Thank you Grace! Hahahha @ YT series. No plans for that now. I’ll be sticking to the blog. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
FolaJuly 29, 2017 at 00:08
I will always remember Ose from her bellanaija wedding feature on her diy wedding. I bookedmarked that post for future inspiration (husband show oh!) overall this was a good read☺️Thegraceadventures.com
MoFebruary 9, 2018 at 15:05
Okay, So, this may have been might best, right after the Lecturer and the Oil and Gas Lawyer.I love how your brain works. Thanks to alaroro.com for the hint