Saturday March 3 2018

Juggling between school and work

Finding the balance. Joanita Nabaggala had to

Finding the balance. Joanita Nabaggala had to pay her way through school and juggled to balance school and work. photo by Shabibah Nakirigya 

By Phionah Nassanga

The reality of life is far from what we think when we are growing up and for Joanita Nabaggala, 26, it struck so early.
Raised by a single mother, Nabaggala knew early enough that joining university would be difficult, considering her family’s background.
“I had only one option. To qualify through government sponsorship or just end my education in Senior Six. My mother had told me she could not afford to take me through university,” she says.
And it was then that she figured out that she had to seek an early way out through which “I would at least raise money to pay my tuition”.
Determined and feeling energised, in 2011 Nabaggala hit the streets in search of a job with her first experience coming in at Darling Company, a synthetic hair dealership in Namanve, Wakiso District.
However, this was the start of a disappointing search as her application was rejected for lack of qualifications.
“I felt disappointed but never gave up until a friend tipped me of an opportunity at Innovage Company in Kireka, Wakiso District,” she says.
At Innovage, Nabaggala applied to become a secretary but to her surprise she was given household items to hawk on the streets.
“I was confused because I had not applied for a sales job but because I was desperate I feared to ask. I just took the job as I waited for something better,” she says.
For three weeks, Nabaggala hawked from one place to another before she quit as the company had only used them as hawkers.
It was back to square one and in one month Nabaggala had tried out three opportunities which never worked out.
“All this time I had hoped to raise money for tuition but things were not working out. Universities had already invited applicants. Here I was hoping to pay my tuition but without a job,” she says.
Within this period Nabaggala had tried her hands on a number of things among them a teaching job where she was paid about Shs80,000 per month.
“I thought of many things. Shs80,000 could not do anything even if I saved it all. My dream was to join university and it was getting crushed,” she says.
However, in May 2011 Nabaggala got a job with King Sports Betting where she would get Shs120,000 per month as a sales person.
The job saved Nabaggala from the desperate times but it was only for a short time because she soon realised that the pay would not do much to achieve her targets.
Through her contacts and social networks, Nabaggala searched for another job and as fate would have it, she was offered one at Sports Betting Africa where her pay was almost tripled.
“Actually, it was a perfect job for my plans. Surprisingly, my schedule would run between 8am and 3pm which gave me an opportunity to leave work early to go to university. I worked hard and never disappointed the people who had given me the job,” she says.
Indeed, in 2013 Nabaggala was rewarded with a promotion and her salary was enhanced to Shs400,000.
This afforded her an opportunity, of course with the support of her mother, to pay her tuitions and for three years she juggled between the job and campus and in 2015 she graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration and Finance from Makerere University Business School Nakawa.
Her graduation was the end of a long journey but the beginning to a new.
“After graduation I started searching for new opportunities. I got some but my desire was for something better. I kept applying until I got one with Airtel Uganda,” she says.
Before this, Nabaggala had been offered an opportunity at Top Image Africa as a regional team leader for eastern Uganda but she turned it down because it involved working up-country yet the pay was low compared to the tasks.
Since December 2015 Nabaggala has been working with Airtel Uganda where she is a district distribution manager in Gayaza.


1 Working hard
Nabaggala has worked for whatever she has achieved. And to her, there is nothing as sweet as earning your own money. “Spending what you earn is sweet and it gives you an opportunity to plan for better things.
2 Welcome opportunities
Everything comes because you have searched for an opportunity. And every time you see an opportunity seize it.
3 Avoid free things
Nothing comes for free and free things turn out expensive in the long run.