One evening as I did my routine mail check, I saw an invite for a job interview. I was very excited. If you have stayed at home as a unemployed graduate for months, you should be able to relate to my feelings of excitement.
I was surprised at first because I couldn’t remember applying to that company but then I had applied randomly to different places and so I felt this had come from one of the places I applied to.
I was so anxious that I couldn’t sleep properly that night. I wondered what kind of questions I’d be asked and what the job of an HR required. I researched and got myself ready for what was to come.
Before 6 a.m, I was dressed in a crisp shirt and penciled black skirt, feeling like one big madam. The fact that I could also get out early like other working class Lagosians thrilled me. I was out of the house and on my way to Ikeja before sunrise.
When I got to ikeja and found my way to the address stated in the mail, the first thing I noted was that all the buildings were in a sorry state except one. This brightly painted building that held my gaze as I walked down the street had a name in front of it. Something about aerospace.
In my mind, that fine building had to be the company I would work for once I passed the interview. I was already standing in front of the building when It occurred to me that the mail didn’t disclose the company’s name. I brought out my phone again and searched for the mail. It was then I discovered that the street number on the invite didn’t tally with the number on the building in front of me. It was the next building.
For several seconds I stared at the three storey building in dire need of renovation and my spirit was dampened. I walked into the building anyway and began my search for my ‘new’ place of work. Since I didn’t know the name of the company, I had to approach several doors before I located the place.
There were no chairs in the reception of the small office and so I had to wait outside till the time scheduled for the interview. It was while I was standing outside that my eyes caught the name of the company. Why didn’t they include that in the mail? I wondered as I typed the name of the company into the Google search bar. Nairaland quickly came to my rescue.
Guess the first comment I saw as I opened the nairaland page.
Don’t go for the interview!!! They are scammers!
My heart cut. I kept reading more comments by victims, some of whom had come from states far away from Lagos for similar interview. After writing one useless test that they never used, they’d been asked to bring a particular sum of money to cover the cost of an equipment and training that’ll make them rich.
I was so angry and disappointed. Two ladies joined me. They had also received the mail. I showed the other ladies what I had discovered. They were equally pissed. After waiting for sometime without anyone attending to us, we left, our hopes dashed.
I returned to my room, annoyed that I was back to square zero. Searching for a job had been one grueling task. I was a regular visitor to so many job sites. For hours, I would be glued to the job page on nairaland. I have lost counts on the number of CVs I sent out daily.
I had to come to a point where I decided to do something about my state rather than spend my day on the bed frustrated and depressed. Below are five things I did that kept me busy.
1. I signed up for a language class.
At the time I was unemployed, I connected with some French speaking people who resided in the same compound with me.
I developed interest and began to attend French classes on weekends while I practiced with them during the week. I knew if I moved away from that area, I might forget most of the things I had learnt since language required constant practice, but I decided to enjoy it while it lasted.
It never occurred to me that my move was going to birth an adventure I’d never forget.
Few months after I had begun to communicate in French, I got an opportunity to attend an exchange program in Cote I’voire organized by AIESEC.
I was posted to Orphanage de Bingerville where I was assigned to a particular set of kids. I also interned with the American Corner, a sub division of the American Embassy, helping out with the English language reading classes. The family I stayed with in Cote Ivoire had very little knowledge about the English Language and I was grateful that I had learnt French prior to the exchange program.
I went to the market without an interpreter, took public buses alone and visited different places. My weekly routine involved personal research work at the American Embassy library, helping out at the orphanage during the week, attending youth forums organized by AIESEC, exploring the locality and teaching English at American Corner. It was a great exposure for me. This, for me, was more profitable than sitting before a TV or staring at the ceiling.
2. I developed my writing skills.
When my book, The Reunion was published, almost 98% of the feedbacks I got pointed out one story as standing out among the others. I couldn’t hear enough of how intriguing and spell binding that story was for many who had read it. Who would have known that the story would not only bless lives but that I’d also make money from publishing it.
In the morning after checking my mails and feeling sorry for my inability to get a job, I would sit and write on my bed. I remembered around 2015, I asked my friends on Facebook to send their email addresses to me so I could send stories free of charge. I did that monthly for about seven to eight months.
There was a time I was radical about writing stories. I practiced almost every day. I had days I wanted to just give up but I kept pushing it. I heard about the blogging and signed up for a free wordpress site where I began to share short stories and story series.
Straight from honeymoon was my first series. I am amazed at how much words I have scribbled so far.
3. I read books.
Even though I didn’t have access to plenty of cash to purchase hardbacks, I had access to some e-books my friend sent to me. Because I knew I was going to spend my life writing stories, I got glued to reading lots of fictional pieces from authors in different genres.
4. I volunteered with the Volunteer Corps Nigeria.
Volunteer Corps Nigeria is a non profit that organizes coaching classes and mentoring programs for public school students. Every Saturday, I participated in tutoring students in English Language. We had ice breaking session and various interactive sessions with the students.
If you are interested, you can click the link below to see what they do.
5. I registered for a postgraduate program.
This is the path many unemployed graduates take. Agreed, it is one way of keeping yourself sane. At least you get to attend classes, meet with other people and you can at least leave the house every week. Besides, if someone asks you, ‘what are you doing now?’ It is an easy escape from self pity.
I enjoyed the classes, I enjoyed writing exams and made distinctions in many courses, but I dropped out at the end of my coursework and never quite got around to finishing my research. That’s a story for another day.
I understand how difficult it is to wake up everyday wondering if something will click for you. I have been there too. I know how it feels. I have had feelings of depression at a point and got moody almost all the time.
Asking my parents for cash at that time was just so annoying but there was nothing I could do. I’m grateful I do not have to do that again.
You’ll find a job soon but while you wait, do something that’ll push away stagnancy and move you forward mentally. If you are yet to discover God’s plan for your life, you have an opportunity to spend more time with God now.
You can acquire skills in any area of interest, take intern jobs available, read books, volunteer, find tutoring opportunities online. Just keep your mental faculty busy. You never can tell when any of those skills would be the reason you’d become a comfortable business owner or gain employment in your dream job.
What was your experience like before you got into a paid job or started off your business? If you are still looking for a job, how has your waiting period been? Would you mind sharing with me in the Comment Section.
Related: 7 thing I learnt from 2017