In three days it will be two years since I earned my degree. My graduation ceremony is in a couple of days, but I don’t think I’ll be there to celebrate with my classmates.
“Will you be at the convocation party?”
“No, I’ll be out of town for a project,” I lied to Uduak, or perhaps I prophesied. I will be at Sisi Modele’s place bent over my scrapbook or ironing a customer’s dress.
Before I left school, I never thought about unemployment. It was something that happened to other people at some other place. I never thought that it could happen to me. Nothing could prepare me for the great disappointments that lay ahead.
I wake up every morning expecting to receive an invitation for interview from at least one of the numerous organizations I have applied to.
“It will come in tomorrow,” I reassure myself as I go to bed every night. But tomorrow has not come yet.
“What do you do now?” I had been avoiding Mama’s friends but Mrs Anderson caught me this time. We met at the supermarket last Tuesday. She is a particularly inquisitive woman and one very interested in my affairs. The questions, I never know what to say. When I’m not at Sisi Modele’s place, what I do is to search and apply for jobs. But how do you tell a person that after two years of earning a second degree?
Initially, I was picky. I restricted my applications to international organizations that called for applicants in my field of study. I refused to spend a chunk of my days doing things I do not love. Udeme thought that I was too rigid and concluded that must be the reason I had not yet gotten a job months after trying. “Why? There’s more than one way to skin a cat!” He couldn’t believe in my ideology.
“There are no jobs in Nigeria o. Things are very hard. You better work with your hands instead of looking for a job.” That was Baba Semilogo. He visited Papa yesterday after he heard about his mild illness. “You just want to go to the office, sit down and collect salary at the end of the month?” He stared at me like I had said something sinful when I told him I was still job hunting. He is just like the rest of them who think only lazy people wants a white collar job. I could not blame him.
Papa is becoming frustrated. We are fast becoming sworn enemies. He forwards several job adverts to me on WhatsApp and insists, sometimes vehemently, that I apply to every single one. But how can I apply to an organization as a laboratory scientist when I studied guidance and counseling? I have grown weary of him.
Mama is not any different. She picked an apprenticeship form for me from Sisi Modele. She said I would make a good tailor, and a rich one too. A lot of times I wonder how it has turned out that Mama knows almost nothing about me. Why would she think I earned two degrees so I could end up making clothes? That had never been my ambition.
These days, almost everyone who knows I am yet to get a job has an advice for me. They all seem to know what I should be doing with my life. Not a single organization has called me for and interview. It seems as though I’ve been cut off from help. These past two years have been the most desolate period of my life.
Lebo is almost as driven to despair as I am. She’s jobless too, but she has a plan. If push comes to shove, she will marry and sit in her husband’s house. That would be an achievement. As for me, there is no such plan. I am not in a relationship and, in fact, have never been in any. This too is bothersome.
“Could something be wrong with your CV or applications?”
“Your guess is as good as mine,” I said flatly while discussing with Udeme over the phone this morning. He still couldn’t believe I have not yet gotten a job. He finds the fact that I have never been called for a single interview bewildering.
If I had not believed in seeing God’s goodness in the land of the living, I would completely quit trying and give up hope of ever getting a good, fulfilling and rewarding job. I would give up on my dreams. A lot of times I feel so much time is gone and life has simply passed me by. But as I sit quietly on my bed this evening, I feel a little bit encouraged remembering Grandfather’s words to me as I visited him on the day I wrote my final papers. He had said back then that, a person being chased by a masquerade should persevere and never give up because masquerades, just like humans, get weary. He had added a simple prayer: “May you not get weary before the enemy does.”
He saw the future.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime