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"On Employed" - Literature - Nairaland

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"On Employed" by iamgafar(m): 10:05am On Jul 27, 2020
My name is Gafar and I’m a storyteller.

Like the average Nigeria youth, I used to wake up in the morning and my biggest challenge in life was how to write a test or pass an exam, even at that stage, I was so sure that life was hard. Looking back now, it’s laughable how naïve and innocent I was then. To be fair, it’s not like I was ignorant of the challenges of young graduates out there but the truth is that the reality hits different, nothing ever really fully prepares you for it and by “it”, I mean the confusion that is now your life, probably the mandatory year of service but even that still doesn’t come quite close.

This was the background I was coming from, after 5 years in University (that easily could have been 6 or 7) and a year in Law School and then my suffering continued with NYSC, I spent the entire service being quasi independent, some months I was calling home with pride and sending everybody recharge card, other times I was calling and begging for money to renew my data subscription, depending on when “my period” came.

Service year ended and I travelled home from Northern Nigeria bearing lots of gifts, cheap gifts but apparently nobody noticed or probably they didn’t care, the point though is that I came back home in style, like somebody that had made it in life, I didn’t know this then but this would turn out to be my biggest undoing in no distant time, I should have noticed when my mom remarked that I didn’t look like somebody that went for National service, unfortunately at the time the statement seemed like a compliment – it was not.

The first week at home was my honeymoon, needless to say it passed quickly, soon it was the strange stares, the snide remarks and then finally JAMB questions like: “So what’s your plan now?”.

In my head I was always quick to reply: “Well, at the moment I’m just focused on living life and trying not to die”, somehow though my mouth always found a way of muttering: “I’m going out to look for a job” and that’s how life, as I know, it now started.

The thing with Job hunting in Nigeria is that you hear the stories of how one can submit CVs in thousands of places without getting a single call or how one can apply and apply until the sole of his shoe begins to fall off and it would all seem like ludicrously exaggerated stories, shamelessly I stand here to tell you that I had neither the transport fare nor data to submit my CV in a hundred places, so the sole of my poor shoe was spared.

I dare to say I have always been a "good Christian" but at this bend, my presence in the house of God increased, I joined three different units, at least if man was not going to employ me God would not reject me also, maybe he would see my labour in his vineyard and reward me with a job. I began to pray more, fasted even more (not like my parents would allow me eat their food in peace).

I moved my tent from apps like Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat to LinkedIn, Edx, etc.

It was now whooping 3 months after passing out and heaven was still ominously silent, my little savings from service year was at its tail end, I was uncomfortable at home, I was frustrated outside, I was not even safe on my own phone because every app I opened forced me to encounter one classmate or the other that had just closed from work or was going clubbing. Everybody seemed so happy, life was going so well for all of them save for me.

The last time I had felt like a failure this much was when I saw my first carryover in 100level, a lifetime ago now but the pain was still as gnawing as the last time.
I was frustrated, I was tired, it did not feel right, I had spent 7 years of my life in school, studying a professional and prestigious course, only to come out and still labour this tirelessly just to land a job that was still going to pay me peanuts in the guise of gathering needed experience. I was done. There is only so much a person can take physically and psychologically before he reaches his breaking point; I had reached mine, there had to be a more humane and less degrading way. I decided I was going to take up internet fraud, after all I had a few friends who had taken this route and were doing quite well for themselves, they were no more intelligent than myself, if they could definitely I would too, God had obviously abandoned me so I was sure he was not going to mind, “if we no buy the Benz wetin we gain”, I muttered to myself as hope suddenly flickered and my tired face lit up.

This was my state of mind when unexpectedly, I received a call from one of my friends, there was this law firm she heard the Principal was looking for a young lawyer to hire and she immediately she thought of me. Instantly, several different emotions flooded my body. I was sad, I was happy, I was relieved, I was apprehensive, I was confused, all in one breath – I was sad because I had become a thing of pity, I was happy and relieved because, at least, I could probably get a job but at the same time, I was apprehensive, apprehensive because I knew in my heart I couldn’t take one more disappointment but then the semblance of choice that was before me was nothing but a mirage, a convincing one but a mirage all the same, for quite a lot of reasons necessity was laid on me to go, so I took down the details and thanked her profoundly.

Despite the fact that she had said 8am, as early 7am I was already at the address she gave, I was not leaving anything to chance, this was clearly a war I had no intention of taking any prisoners. Unfortunately though the office did not open till about 10am when this well dressed, plump looking young man drove in, in what looked like a 2018 Range Rover Sport, my morale that was low from waiting for about 3hours outside like a homeless person suddenly came alive, with all the smile and courtesy I could manage, I quickly greeted (more like worshipped) him as a he alighted, in between struggling to carry his bag and cleaning an imaginary stain from his shirt, I managed to introduce myself, imagine my surprise when he apologized profusely for my waiting outside for so long, the secretary had called in sick and he was unaware of my presence else he’d have made adequate arrangements, I was elated beyond words, this was by far the best progress I had made in 3 months, God had finally showed up.

After he had perused my application letter and CV, he proceeded to oral questions – Are you born again? I was taken aback, when you attend enough interviews you begin to almost accurately forecast or predict the possible questions your interviewers would ask, this was not one of them but then I was happy regardless and answered accordingly.

When he was done with the questions, with a straight face he looked at me and said the pay was N20, 000, I was shocked I shook in my chair instinctively; I tried without success to hide my disappointment but it was an effort in futility, when he noticed, he schooled me on the fact as a young lawyer I was not supposed to receive any remuneration just money for my transportation to work seeing as I was still learning the ropes and all. A bird in hand, they say, is worth many more in the bush.
Tiredly, I took this bird. I was at a stage were all I wanted was to be able to wake up in the morning and say I had a job, I just wanted to be able to post even just one picture on Whatsapp at my desk like everybody else, it was petty and vain but sadly that was where I was.

My first morning “On employed”, I woke up eagerly, brushed my teeth and took my bath. After a few running about trying to get ready on time, I walked back into my bed shamelessly, slowly drew my sheets over and in no time I was fast asleep again.

On being employed – I was unemployed.

“‘ON EMPLOYED’” by gafar https://link.medium.com/HLSR0MjVq8

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