The Corporate Rat Race

Akin Ifeanyi Agunbiade
3 min readOct 10, 2018


Some top law firms only employ graduates who know at least 1 foreign language apart from English. So you spend the money you should have used to get a new pair of brogues to register for a French or German language class. Employers prefer to employ those who are chartered. So you juggle academics with ICAN, ACCA, CiARB, NIM, or CIPM, just so you can be employed with a fatter pay packet. To fill up the blank spaces in our CV, we create clubs, join chambers, form associations, and write articles, just so that an employer can look at your CV and say, “Hmm, this graduate has a lot of experience”. For the added touch, you might run for office and win, and if you perform well, on a CV that says, “This guy/lady has leadership capacity.”

We lobby friends and colleagues to recommend and endorse our skills on LinkedIn, just so we can impress an invisible recruiter who views our profile occasionally but never says a word. Then LinkedIn will tell you to upgrade to Premium so you can see who viewed your profile. We no longer brag about how many followers we have on Instagram or Twitter, but rather, the number of connections we have on LinkedIn. As career-minded people, we brag about the number of partners and associates we are connected with. If you have a complimentary card also, the better. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been emailing the person for the past 6 months with no reply. Even our hobbies and interests become an extension of our career goals. Rather than admit that your definition of relaxation involves a night out watching movies, hanging out with friends, eating, or even sleeping, you carefully omit these ones because they look less serious.

Instead, your hobbies are playing chess, reading books, and coding.

Baba, life is not that hard.

In short, to quote a friend of mine, “we are living a CV life”, where every single decision is weighed, based on how good it looks on a CV.

When complemented with at least a 2:1 from the university and law school, you can land a hot job in a top law firm, with a starting salary within the range of #150,000 - #230,000, plus added benefits, ranging from wardrobe allowance, housing allowance, and sometimes, a new ride. All these differ from firm to firm, but are nonetheless mouthwatering. From that point upwards, I am not competent to speak.

But come my friends, let us reason together. I do not absolve myself of any of the above traits. Rather, I must be its biggest offender. But I believe there must be bigger things in life; bigger goals. At no time should our aggressive pursuits be at the detriment of our natural inclinations. There is nothing antithetical

about the law and the guitars. A steady 6-figure salary can be turning point for many of us seeking to hand down a better legacy than that given to us, but at no point should it be the resting point. It should just be the second lap in this corporate rat race we are all running. After adding all this value to yourself, constantly striving to have the edge over others, carving a niche, enduring caffeine-laden nights just to get the stellar grades, denying yourself many small pleasures, it would be an insult to your Creator and your capacity if your vision stops at entry level.

The vision should stretch as far as making partner in 7 years, becoming the Minister of Justice who reforms the antiquated rules governing the legal profession, CEO of a Fortune 500, an international public speaker, legal luminary, the next Justice Oputa, or anything that catches your fancy.

The problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat. Aim to be more than the rat. Be the cat.



Akin Ifeanyi Agunbiade

Associate, AELEX | AI Ethics & Governance Researcher | AI Systems Auditor (UK/EU GDPR)