Joel, my childhood friend would remind me of the disparity between the dream world and the world of reality – the world where dreams could mean a fantasy, a nightmare or could transform or translate into a dream come true.
As students, we lived in the dream world of fantasy waiting to wake up into the real world. That became my case not long after I became a graduate at age 21.
My name is Johnson and I graduated from the great University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) as a Civil Engineer with a second class upper or 2.1 as people would call it. My CGPA was slightly below 4.5.
Consciously aware of what the future holds for those in the upper class, I buried my head all through the nights hoping and believing that upon graduation, Major Oil Companies would come knocking at my door. Then, I had thought of choosing from the highest paid to the ones that pays in hard currencies.
I had crossed school with my blood filled with fire; my bones as strong as the horn of a cow and sharp like the teeth of a lion. I was ready to plunge into the real world to see what it really was like. Never did I imagine myself to be in the position I later found myself.
I had no doubt, I was going to be successful, but I needed opportunities to climb the success ladder which meant becoming dogged and rugged to be able to endure to the end. After my service year in Kano state, I knew school life was indeed totally different from what the world is.
My humble parents had tried their possible best in my life as I had five younger siblings still under their care, and it was high time I started contributing to the income of the house as well.
And that was how the job hunt began. Every interview was a success back to back, yet there was no call from any of the organizations. Gradually a year was rolling out and I still hadn’t gotten a job.
Now my blood was filled with high hopes of the companies which were said to be recruiting next month; and then the next and the next, till a year folded up. Life was becoming frustrating and unbearable and any slightest joke could turn into a moment of provocation.
Obviously I was supposed to be adding to the home, but instead, I was making things more difficult, and I was getting frustrated. I moved out the following year to ‘squat’ with a friend of mine from school that managed to have a self-contain apartment to himself, as he was one of the fortunate few, lucky enough to get work immediately after service year.
At least if I couldn’t add to the family’s coffers, I shouldn’t subtract from it. It was during this period I realized there was no place like home. I would go hungry for days, and I was too shy to ask for money from my friend.
We were both men, and he was hustling for himself. He rarely ate at home during the week since he usually left home very early and comes back very late. Until one of his many girlfriends come home during the weekends to prepare food; and even at that, it was best I hitched up in his neighbour’s house at night or I die of konji.
Months were fast rolling by and I was still in the job seekers category that lived in Mushin. I had that worn out shoe that they talked about when searching for job. I couldn’t believe this was reality unfolding right before my very eyes, I could do little to nothing to save my situation.
I was very intelligent, more intelligent than my peers and things were really working out good for them. But I was stagnant with no one to run to for help.
So one of the days I decided to take a walk and mourn myself in broad daylight. I wasn’t seeking for job, so I was dressed casual in my polo top, worn out jeans and Jide’s -my friend- palm.
I walked from Mushin to Surulere, it was there I saw this construction firm working on a fresh field work. How come I hadn’t noticed there was an on-going project here? I wondered. They must have recruited engineers and might even need more. With a bold step I walked up to one of the men working there.
After explaining myself, I was directed to a white man. I had a brief discussion with him. It was just my lucky day, because normally this couldn’t have happened. After our 5 minutes discussion I finally got a job!
I was the happiest person on earth that afternoon. I went back home, and I decided I was going to tell Jide. I knew he was going to be very happy, or so I thought, anyways our discussion as soon as he got home turned out this way;
“Jide, guess what?” I said.
“You are pregnant?” He replied coldly. He was always tired like that whenever he got back from work, but my excitement was so much in a hot blood rush that moment.
“Do I look like your girlfriend?” I asked.
“No you look like a house wife,” came again his ridiculous reply.
“I don’t blame you,” I said. “I know you are tired. Anyways, I got a job today!”
“Aaaah, finally! So which company called you?”
“No company called me,” I told him with a huge smile on my face. “I was walking by Surulere today and I saw an on-going building construction work, being built by Build Your Way Company. From the plan mapped out I think it’s a bank they are constructing.”
“It’s a lie! You got a job with the Build Your Way Company?”
“Yes ooo!” I said in ecstasy.
“Chai! My brother you don port o!” Now he seemed more excited.
“At least I’ve seen something taking me out every day.”
“Wait I don’t get it, you didn’t summit your CV?”
“No. CV for what? It was too late. They had all their engineers on deck; but I got the work of a labourer.”
“What!!!” Jide exclaimed in utter disbelief.
to be continued…