MS.Voke Ejenavi was very enthusiastic after she qualified as a lawyer. Her passion for knowledge motivated her into applying for her master’s degree almost immediately. Just like many Nigerians, getting a job after graduation was not all smooth sailing. She applied to different companies all to no avail.
Making the decision: Determined to make something out of her situation, she took one of the most difficult decisions for any young woman at that time, which is becoming a taxi driver, a rare profession for women in this part of the world. Operating as a taxi driver under an online transport company called Taxify in Lagos not only made her popular but took her to all the nooks and crannies of Lagos.
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Getting famous: Few months into the business, Voke became popular and the choice for most customers of the company. Today, Voke who could not secure a job after her master’s degree programme now works with a multinational company, courtesy of her decision to become a taxi driver some years back. Sharing her experience with Vanguard Woman’s Own, Voke who was the only child of her parents said: “It was a difficult decision for my parents to allow me to live in Lagos and when they learnt of my decision to drive a taxi they were not in support at the beginning.”
For Voke, young ladies should not just sit and watch but make the best of any situation they find themselves. “I just want to encourage young ladies who have just graduated and are yet to get their choice job not to relent or stay indoors. Having studied law for seven years and also have my masters, I could have decided to stay indoors and waiting for the opportunity, but I believe it is important to make the most of whatever situation one finds him or herself.”
Searching for job: Voke explained that when she first arrived Lagos, she spent most of her time applying for jobs online with no good news.”My parents reside in Delta State, but I decided to try my luck in Lagos. I have fantastic friends here in Lagos that allows me to stay with them but while they go to work, I will be busy online searching and applying for jobs with no favourable response.
“I was not comfortable that my friends would leave me at home and still come back to meet me on the same spot. One day, while I was browsing through the internet I came across Taxify Transportation Network Company that offers opportunity for driving. I asked my parents to send me a car since I need something I could do that will take me out of the house in the morning and also offers opportunities to meet people since the online application was not working.
“My parents were against it in the beginning because I had not been in Lagos for too long at the time, but was able to convince them with some of the supportive service put in place by Taxify and how they treat their drivers as partners. They sent the vehicle and I registered with the Taxify online platform.”
First day as a driver
Voke said her first day steering on the wheel was a day she could never forget and the opportunity it gave her to meet people who later recommended her for the new job. “On my first day, I was like, how will I address this person, did I lock the door properly. Also, I didn’t allow the fact that I didn’t know Lagos very well discourage me because there is an application that enables you to use Google map to find your way.
Customer experience: While driving, I paid special attention to my customers and tried to make their journey lively. For those that are interactive we chat while for some we just face business. For people that drive around Lagos, they have the experience that it was not easy. At the beginning people were surprised that a lady is driving a taxi, but at the end of the journey they usually commend me.”
She disclosed that the good thing about Taxify driving platform was that it gave her liberty to do what she liked and when she finally got a job and the salary was too small she still combined both.
“I eventually got a job at a law firm that offered to give me required experience but the salary was too small to cover my expenses because I reside in Gbagada area of Lagos and the company is in Ikoyi. Once its 10 minutes to my closing time, I would subscribe to Taxify platform online and do the driving for like another three to four hours before going home. One of the reasons why Taxify stands out is because of the way they treat their drivers. They collect less commission and are very responsible while they also see their drivers as partners.”
Voke said the new job she got did not give her opportunity to combine two things but yet she still invested in Taxify. “Where I am working now is a multinational company and one of the things that stood out for the person who recommended me was the courage I summoned to drive taxi around Lagos. My present job takes a lot of my time because I close by 9:00 p.m and driving was out of it but my car is still registered with Taxify and presently I have two cars with them.”