Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM): Where are the jobs, Mr. President?!
This was how you got your first job: you walked into his office that Tuesday morning, in your black faded suit, frustrated, upset and infuriated. ‘I will like to work here sir, for free’ you told him. He looked at you with something that was between suspicion and surprise; he sighed, then told you he liked your courage and good spirit but it was not a requisite for the job, however he was willing to give you a chance. You chuckled and your heart was finally at peace because at last you could look forward to the end of the month as you did in your NYSC days. Numbers ran through your mind as you thought of what the salary would be: 80k? 100K? Maybe 120k? Then you increased it. 150K?! And you felt a tinge of excitement.
‘So, Bade Taiwo, you can start work next month, we won’t be able to afford your salary yet but we can fund your cost of transportation. That will be Ten thousand Naira.’
You felt like dying a thousand death and thought yourself stupid to have brought up the idea of working for free. But on a second thought you remembered the numerous offices you had gone to submitting CVs after CVs praying daily as you went and laying your hands on the white envelop in which you sent most of them: ‘I declare favour over you, whoever reads you favours you, I will get this job in Jesus name.’
You had started with the big companies, you submitted your CVs to Chevron in Lekki, BAT in Victoria Island, Glo, MTN, Channels Television and many more. Then when your account was waning from so much spending and no crediting, you considered the smaller companies. None of them sent you a response. You hated yourself and sometimes your parents for not helping themselves when their mates did, for not being rich or influential enough to write you letters, send you to an uncle or send you to a friend.
You accepted the job at Surulere. At least it gave you that relief of leaving home for work, you stayed with your cousin in Yaba, you trekked every morning to Ojuelegba before you joined one of those long buses that called ‘Itire! Itire!! Itire!!!’. You worked yourself off, trying so hard to please your boss, you read more than the others and stayed at the office longer.
Six months later, your boss increased your salary. You began to earn 60 thousand Naira, you thought of renting your own apartment somewhere close by and leave your cousin’s house but it made no sense, so you stayed on, you endured longer.
One year after you took the job at Surulere, on a Tuesday morning while you attended to the database of the company, he walked into your office. Mr. Stevens, one client that hired your company to hire for them, he told you that his company wanted an HR executive and asked if you did not mind working with him. It was a cool idea, so you left your job in Surulere and took Mr. Stevens’ job on the Island. Ten months after, you bought your first car, it was a red Toyota Corolla 200 model. Second hand, but that was the best you could do. Life was taking a good turn, you thought. You had thought of proposing to Yewande. A right move. You could not have asked for someone better, she was there for you in the very low. Many times it was Yewande who lent you money from the meagre 40,000 Naira she earned as an insurance sales-rep, you rarely paid back, she loved you, you knew.
You also moved out of your cousin’s and got an apartment in Ketu Alapere, you bought your Plasma TV from the December bonus of that year. It was on this Plasma TV you watched your president’s chat on a Sunday evening. You knew the drill, the four journalists with whom your president had the chat would have been paid, their questions screened by various presidential media aides, you knew because your friend, Larry works with a media aide to the president. But you watched on, boring it was, your president spoke tiredly, something close to a drawl, you had laughed several times on his bad use of metaphors, his sense of comparison was poor, he was terribly poor for a PhD holder!
‘My government has provided at least 1.5 Million jobs’, the words strolled out of the TV .
‘What?! Bloody liar!’
Then you thought of Ade, Bisi, Yemisi, Ranti, Mezu and your many other classmates with whom you completed your degree, they still roamed the streets looking for jobs that seem not to exist. You knew Kene, Uche, Bayo had taken to playing lotto hoping that one day fortune would smile on them and they would make millions from predictions.
About 100 graduated from your class that year, you read History and International Relations, just eleven of you have something you can call a job, six worked in a bank, one lectured, the other three in the telecommunications companies while you were beginning to thrive in your HR company. Of course many others too had their jobs, Ranti, Denrele, Shadia, Fatimo, Fahd, Abdul, Charles taught in schools where they earned 30,000 Naira. Others freelanced as marketers selling anything good for the season.
‘Where are the jobs, Mr. President?! All through that night, you kept asking yourself and you wished the president could hear your thought.