Christmas is here again. I can literally smell the buzz and the fun in the air. Christmas in Nigeria is usually characterized by a mass exodus of people from different locations to their home towns. I always look forward to the big family reunion. As a matter of fact, I always believed as a young person that the longest night every year is the eve to the day my whole family is supposed to travel to the village for the xmas celebration. I could hardly get some sleep that night.
I remember this particular day. It is dawn at last. My siblings and I are fully kitted up for the journey even before 5am. But no. Dad and Mum are not ready yet. Why on earth will my mum choose today of all day to do the last batch of the Christmas shopping? Up till today I have not gotten an answer to that question. I already woke up with no appetite for food. The only thing that mattered to me is hitting the road to my village. Can we just get it rolling? But no. my mum is not yet back from her last minute shopping. The time is now 2pm and you can practically be deafened by the sound of the heartbeat of me and my siblings just observing my Dad’s body language and hoping anxiously for my mum to get back home before it’s too late and for my Dad, 3pm is already too late for any kind of journey.
Finally mum is back. Our excitement knows no bound, but it was short-lived. It was really brief because the moment mum came back home, she goes into a close door session with the husband and after a heart to heart talk, they emerges from the bedroom with the bomb shell; “Children! We can no longer travel today. It’s now tomorrow”. Gosh! You know the rest of the story. If you had walked into our house that moment, one would think we were bereaved.
However, this piece is not about me and my family, but about the travails of the Nigerian job seeker during this season. One thing is certain, as the yuletide comes with excitement to many, it also sets some people up in a depression mode. Honestly, this is not a very good time to be broke.
For a particular job seeker, the yuletide arrived so fast. The memories of the 2014 yuletide is still very fresh in your mind like it was yesterday. You can still remember how you piped low and operated on a low key throughout the festivity. You still remember the words of encouragements and empty promises from extended relatives that gave you hope for 2015 and here you are, 2015 yuletide, still without a job. You are wondering, what’s the excitement all about?
I can also imagine the fresh graduate. You just passed out of NYSC, you still have some little ‘change’ to play around with. You are super excited about the prospect of rocking the villa for the first time as a ‘Graduate’. You are also motivated by the fact that you will be meeting with that uncle of yours that never sent you money while you were an undergraduate but promised you heaven on earth as soon as you graduate. You are familiar with the line “you don’t have to worry about anything at all. Just study hard. The moment you graduate I will get you a job. I know the MD of XYZ company, the HR of XYZ oil and gas, the Perm sec of XYZ parastatal. Talking to them is not a big deal, just get done with your studies”. Na today?
For another job seeker, it is that time of the year you have waited for impatiently. Finally you can now travel to the village and attend the town hall meeting with that Senator representing your senatorial district or that Rep member representing your constituency. It’s an opportunity for the unemployed youths of the community to meet and interact with them and ultimately drop their CVs with the hope of getting a job as promised during the campaign. One chance!
What is the way forward from here? I have always taught and will continue to teach that strong network is an indispensable tool every job seeker must strive to build. So many jobs are gotten based on referrals or what we call ‘connection’ in Naija and the yuletide affords you that opportunity of networking and you can take advantage of that to enhance your chances of ending your job search next year or making a career switch. However, you need to understand how to attract and manage superior relationships this season to enable you build sustainable ‘connections’ that you will ride on in 2016.
This is a little idea I want to share with us. As you celebrate the xmas, don’t depend on your uncle or a simple town hall meeting with a politician to do the magic for you. You must stand up and assume responsibility. You must do this for yourself because as much as people care, nobody needs that job like you do. As you travel for Xmas to continue job hunting, I want you to put the following into consideration.
Get a gift for any Politician, Corporate Executive or Business mogul you desire to meet with in your town. That is the way to their heart. You see, this guys are used to people coming around to collect and collect from them in this season. So, you will be making a bold statement by coming with a gift for them. It is written in the bible “A man’s GIFT maketh a way for him.” Yes. Initially, I will be like, what can I possibly get for them that they don’t have? The idea is not to buy them what they don’t have or can’t afford. No. The idea is to make an impression, that will enable them give you serious attention. I can suggest a good wine, an art work, or a portrait. a bottle of cashew nuts can even do the magic. Trust me. You can’t imagine what this singular act will get you in return. Please don’t visit them with your CV. It was supposed to be a solidarity visit. The question of what you do for a living will surely arise, then you can subtly make your case.
One question you should be ever ready to answer is “what can you do?” Most job seekers don’t have an answer to this question and that is why they are finding it a bit difficult to get a job. What can you do is a different question from what did you study. Before you even embark on this my little mission, ensure that you have any requisite skill that can help a business produce. Make sure you are thinking along the line of contribution and not just an avenue to keep body and soul together. Usurp that moment to sell yourself to your host and secure an appointment. However, bear it in mind that the essence of this mission is to establish a relationship and not necessarily to get a job offer.
Finally to manage this relationship and ride on it to achieve expected results, you must understand Gratitude, Patience and Loyalty. You must learn to be time conscious and finally, guard yourself with etiquettes that guides superior relationships. For instance, if your host gave you his number and demand that you call him at a stipulated time and you did but he didn’t pick up, that won’t justify you giving him ‘3 missed calls’. Don’t inundate people with calls or else you will be jeopardizing the relationship.
Enough said. I promise to share more extensively on how to manage superior relationships on this platform at a later date. Meanwhile, get a gift for someone today and make the most of the season. Remember, a man’s gift makes a way for him.