Dolapo Oni Profile picture
28 Apr, 45 tweets, 9 min read
Starting over in Canada for 35+ senior professionals

100 likes and I'll do a thread
Ok so let's start with a bit of background...
so let's get into it.

When you're relocating to a new country to start over, its a brave step and I salute your courage. It takes a lot to leave that comfort of the career you've had to make a new one. So if you're just setting out, let me be the first to wish you all the best
Due to the fact that the Canadian education system and economy has few linkages with your African/Nigerian background, there is very little understanding of how your education and career experience actually compares to a Canadian one and can fit into the Canadian workplace
This sounds like a lot of english but in simple laymans terms this just means, they don't know you and they don't know enough about nigerian schooling or work or culture to be able to assess you well enough and just plug you into their system. It could easily be a bad decision...
that costs them a lot of money or a good decision that benefits them but the onus to prove this is on you actually. But let's not get sidetracked. Let's start from the first and what I think was the most important thing I discovered that will help you as a senior professional
What is the career you want to get into when you relocate to Canada? If you can decide on this before you leave Nigeria or as soon as you land, it makes a whole lot of difference. Don't think you'll get here and just take any job until you land the big one.
Take the time to first research what career you want to do. Is it the same one you're in already or a new one? It's easier if its one you're in already but if you want to switch to a new one, do the research & find out how that industry works in Canada. I assure you its likely...
different from the way its done in Nigeria. There are probably registrations you need to sign up for, associations to join, licenses to pay for and potentially exams to write. Spend some time on Linkedin and read job descriptions and see how the roles are described...
Spend some time on youtube and watch professionals in the industry in Canada talk about their jobs or industry and what the trending topics and issues are. If you can join the associations from Nigeria/Africa, join and pay the fees. If you can register for the exams, start them.
All these will help to provide a reference point for your career expertise/experience. I mean while interviewing for jobs, I got questions like 'do you know how bonds work? or stocks? Do you know how to buy them' Its not rude. They needed a reference point to understand me...
This is an important step because you may altogether decide you're too old for all these and would want to focus on doing business instead, then its a different discussion. Opening a small business here is a lot easier and there are all sorts of grants, financing opportunities...
and franchises you can buy into. This one might require some consulting if its what you want to explore. I have friends here who own cleaning services, trucks for long distance haulage, rental apartments and even an eatery. The third option is you could decide to come do...
an executive MBA or advanced degree here so you can transit to a much more senior role rather than start at the bottom or in a much junior role. These degrees and programs are for longer duration and cost an arm and a leg but you've jumped a few years of working at a lower level
No 2. Once you've made your choice from the three options above summarized below
- starting all over and getting all the exams/licenses
- starting a business instead
- taking an executive education route
then you need to build networks. As much as possible, plug in...
Don't stay isolated. Plug into the Nigerian/African network. Meet people. Ask for introductions. Find out where your fellow people are. Join groups where you can meet other already established Nigerians who can show you the ropes in your industry or city etc.
The only caveat is to of course stay cautious and don't start committing to any task or role in any group because you're trying to please people.

My first job here was because of this. I landed and was looking for a church. My wife googled one, called if they could pick us...
for service on Sunday since we didn't have a car. The guy who came to pick us had lived in the UK and Nigeria so we had lots to talk about. We became friends. I told him I was job-hunting, this is my background bla bla day he calls and ask if I can do accounting?'ve seen the video, did i mention accounting? Nope but wifey is so I said sure, its just to post the entries and make sure the credit and debit balances right? He drops. Next thing the manager of a company's accounting team calls me, interviews me for a role on her team
She likes my humour and says I should show up the next day to meet her deputy. I meet them, they give me a few accounting tasks to do - wifey has coached me already. I do it well and get the job. Offer letter in 2 days.

I know other people that have gotten jobs in similar ways
Quick note - this goes against my first point and you see why I said it. It was a great job and I really enjoyed it because it was easy and an awesome place to work but it was out of my career line and sort of distracted me from quickly landing in the career I wanted to be in.
But it gave me room to write exams so I started writing exams for my eventual career path in wealth management.

Don't shun networks. They can be really useful for finding jobs because you're not a natural culture-fit when you're older & new to the system. A referral helps a lot
No 3 be patient. It's not going to be immediate. Look the experiences differ per person. I have a friend who landed a job almost before leaving Nigeria and is rising so fast here - already a manager and is doing pretty well.

Global-type qualifications help a lot
If you had a globally recognized license, qualification or education before working in Nigeria or as you worked (ACCA, CFA, PMP, BA, SCRUM etc) these qualifications make that assessment of your expertise a whole lot easier. If you didn't have them (like me😀), its tougher...
but not impossible. The onus is now on you to prove that you have the expertise. From how you communicate to your resume and how you sell yourself, you must be committed to giving 100% at every instance. You'll get turned down for a role and be called back for a different one...
so no opportunity is a reason to slack off.

Let me assure you - accent or language is not an issue. Just communicate as best as you can and keep it simple. The major thing employers are assessing when speaking to you is if you're a culture-fit. They will train you for the role
Networks also mean your support system. Choose places where you have contacts. COVID means fewer interactions but prior to covid, I have played host to lots of families and I was also hosted by another family when I landed. If you have kids, u'll need help. Childcare is expensive
No 4 is something @Batarhe just touched on. You will have to be very very open-minded and stop letting your age be an issue. You have to work with much younger people so don't keep coming across as a stuck-up old person. Be jovial. Be sociable. Be open-minded. Be approachable.
These things are learnable. Practice your interviews long enough. Ask for help on the job. We Canadians love helping. Its our culture. You've probably seen my talk about my neighbor a lot. Its the same in the workplace. It's our way of life so tap into it. Ask for help. Learn.
Watch how they do it, ask them to watch you do it and criticize. Be teachable. Don't shy away from mixers and hangouts. I don't drink but I'm at every event at work. I'll order my coke with lemon or alcohol-free white wine and still have a great time.
There's a lot more but these ones will really help. They helped me a lot and I think they will help you too.

I have a main thread on settling in Canada here also
Part 2 of this thread continuing soon
A very key implication of relocating as a senior professional is the money/cost of relocation and settling down. You need to land with a lot more funds to sustain your family and cover your exams, licenses, courses etc. Even if you go the business route, you still need...
a lot more funds to sort out the key business expenses before you can qualify for a loan because you don't have a credit history until after a few months to a year. While the typical proof of fund requirement is that you have enough to sustain yourself for 6 months, you'll...
need to have enough to cover all these other licenses, exams, courses and workshops you'll be attending. So its better to explore all the options possible to land with more money because planning to borrow from friends or family here is not a plan.
There are no bad jobs. Once you've identified what career line you wish to pursue and are actively working towards the necessary qualifications, its ok to supplement yourself with a contract/part-time or other full-time job. I hate when people call this survival jobs. There's...
dignity of labor here. People resign from banks and oil companies to take lower-paying jobs for mental health reasons. I had a colleague quit once to become an airport assistant (help old people or disabled or children board airplanes) so she could have more time to her family...
so while writing your exams and taking your course, its ok to take a job that helps covers your bills so you don't depend entirely on your naira savings/proof of funds and deplete it. If possible try to take a job in your industry or a related role. Work with recruiters...
Register with a Temp Agency that provides temporary workers to firms in the industry you want to work in. There are so many. They are motivated to find you a job because they get paid if you get the job. Some will help fix your resume also. I have a list in my other thread
The final thing is to stay frugal. I am very very serious about this one. You're rebuilding your life in a new country and now need to build your retirement funds again. By the time you retire, what do you think the Naira/Cad rate will be? how much will your pensions be worth...
This means you need to save a lot more than the average person. When you land a job in your industry, stay lean, keep your expenses small. You don't need a big new house as your first house. You dont necessary need 2 cars immediately. Your kids can go to a good catholic school...
for free. You can use a licensed day-home instead of an expensive daycare. As you earn more, you can gradually ease into a better option. Priority is to build your retirement funds. Let me give you a rule of thumb for how much retirement funds you need.
How much do you think you'll need per month when you retire? Let's say $3k a month. For you and your wife, that's $6k a month, $72k a year. Divide that amount by 0.04. That's the amount you need to have in funds, assets and investments before retirement at 65. That's $1.8m.
This could mean you own property of $700k, retirement savings of about $800k, Nigerian pensions of $25k, business worth $300k or in any other combination. This is the ultimate goal. So stay frugal and build savings. Push more of your salary increases to your retirement funds.
I hope these help.

As you were...

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Y = C + I + G + (X-M)

C = Private Consumption
I = Investments
G = Government consumption
X-M = Net Exports (exports - imports)
The best way to understand this is to use numbers so let's imagine Y = 100 and broken down as follows:

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Source: NBS
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Let's go.
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