I had finished tops in my class of Mechanical Engineering at Federal University of Technology, Owerri and had completed my National Youth Service Program. As a Nigerian graduate operating on the normal default “Go to school, get good grades and get a good job” mantra, it was natural that I looked for a job. I needed to make money at least to pay my dues as a home grown child. Growing up in the parts where I come from, it was an unwritten law that you had to send a sizable chunk of your salaries for the first years of work life in appreciation of how your folks pulled shirts off their backs and generously doled out to see to it that you plucked the precious pearl.
During NYSC, I had gotten high on the “From camp to favour market” which ubiquitously peppered the many sermons we heard during camp fellowships. With the many fearful statistics of unemployment, the testimonies of ‘miracle jobs’ from ex-corp members provided a huge respite. We were gingered that our case was different as children of God. He was always going to be by his own people no matter what. Coupled with confidence in the cerebral academic records I had garnered, I had faith that I wouldn’t last long in the hall of search. How wrong I was. By the time my shoe soles had registered their presence at companies, plodding pavements submitting resumes, I learnt a lesson or two. Some were bitter lessons, some were bitter while others were easier to swallow and appreciate. My search lasted for months. My mum became apprehensive when many of the job tests I had written ended in failures. I even began to doubt my academic brilliance!
As at 2005, many of the the new banks were on a massive recruitment drive mopping up thousands of unemployed graduates ( irrespective of their courses of study ) like parched camels lapping water at an oasis. Agricultural scientists, engineers and linguists turned bankers.
On one occasion, I had the opportunity to write a bank test. The venue was a run down primary school in a Port Harcourt suburb. I arrived the venue to be greeted by a horde of applicants like me swarming around like bees. It looked more like a gathering for crusade.
To be continued….