Final extract from my new book titled…Corruption Stop It!..Let my people go
Theodora dashed across the busy road into the front desk office of GoJobs Consultants at Ikeja, Lagos mainland breathing heavily. This is an outsourcing company that recruits and deploys staff for other companies. She was flustered and confused because she arrived late. She had moved at breathtaking speed on commercial motorbike branded okada in Nigeria, to the venue of aptitude test for a job. This was the first invitation for interview she got after almost three years of fruitless search for a job.
“I am here for the aptitude test,” she blurted out, somewhat apologetic, still breathing heavily and sweating as the front desk officer looked up.
The fear in Theodora’s voice and smell of sweat made the young officer cringe her nose and jerk back. She pitied the young applicant and wondered if she stood a chance of getting a job there.
“Why are you so late? The test started almost an hour ago,” asked the officer.
“I got the invitation late, something wrong with the telephone network and the traffic jam delayed me. Can I still join them? Please, help me,” pleaded the worried girl. Having been jobless for three years after graduation, she badly needed employment.
“Let me check with the manager in charge.” She made a call on the intercom and looked up at Theo.
“He is coming. You wait.” Theo was getting exasperated. But the short wait helped her regain her breath and composure. She prayed silently to be allowed to take the test. ‘God, please grant your daughter favor,’ she concluded, moving her lips slowly.
Three minutes later, a young man of about 40 years, short, bald, walked briskly from the hall.
“Hey, young lady you are one hour behind time. If you want to join the crowd there are 45 minutes left.”
“I want,” said Theo.
“Then go in.”
End of test, the manager announced that results will be out in two days. Candidates who scored above 70 per cent will come back for oral interview. Those selected will undergo training immediately for which they will pay. The salary is above industry average, they were told, so it was worth their investments in time, energy, and money. Those employed would not be employees of Go-Jobs or the companies where they would be posted to work.
Theo thanked the front desk officer and left, confident she will make it to the next stage. The questions were largely on human relations and group psychology, two subjects she scored good grades in her degree program. She thought about job potentials in outsourcing. The business is booming as big companies now hand over their IT, HR and other functions to consultants and staff specialists to handle, while they concentrate on their core functions. Getting home, her mom was expecting some good news. She trusted her daughter’s ability to excel.
“Not yet mom, there are more rivers to cross,” she told her. The young girl explained what happened at the test and the coming activities. She did not expect what was coming at the oral interview.
“But I am not comfortable with you not being the staff of the consulting company or where you will be posted,” her mom observed.
“That’s how it works mom. You are recruited for a specific job and posted somewhere. You remain there as long as the client company wants the outsourced job to last or their contract ends. The day that happens, all of you are asked to go.”
“It means the job is not even permanent.”
“That’s it mom. What bothers me is like you are a floating employee. The consulting company has its own staff. I doubt if those of us being assessed now will ever become the staff of either company.”
“Well, half bread they say is better than none. You have been jobless for three years now. You just have to get busy so that you don’t fall into temptation. A Second Class Upper graduate in Sociology like you is still struggling to get a job three years after graduation.”
“Mom, this one is quarter bread not half.”
“Another thing I don’t like about this job is asking applicants to pay for training. It doesn’t’ seem quite right to me. The client company should pay for this; after all, you are going there to work for them. It’s a rough road to travel for youths hunting for jobs in these difficult times. You pay to get into school; you pay to pass through school; you pay to get a job; soon you will begin to pay to remain on the job. Then one day, the employer will say, ‘Let your people go.’ That’s it. They lay you off. Can you see the dangerous progression my dear?
“Mom if this is what it takes to get this job, I will go for it. I am tired of staying at home. Suitors no longer marry jobless girls. They see such brides as liabilities. You need to see how I rushed into the company’s office today, disorganized and confused. I quickly regained my balance. Thank God, the manager allowed me to do the test.”
“I like your determination to get a job despite challenges,” her mum observed. “If you can’t get one, then get a husband. At 26, you should be thinking of settling down and raising a family, job or no job. I married your father at 22. Time waits for no one.
“Mum, I just told you suitors no longer want jobless brides. Let the job come first, marriage will follow.
“Don’t worry dear,” assured her mom. “Trust God and pray harder. The Lord will always make a way. Come and take your food and rest.”
(2 October 2013)
Eric Okeke is a CSR specialist and strategist in brand marketing and mobilizing support for corporate and social issues. He is the brand storyteller, writer, speaker, author and media consultant, with training in chemistry, marketing and business journalism. As a business writer and speaker, he has recorded a good career in media consulting and journalism which he started at The Guardian, Lagos.
Eric’s communications niche is storytelling which he is now using to empower professionals and improve business returns in Nigeria. Email him at, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel +234 803 301 4609; +234 817 301 4609.