The future seemed bleak as I was torn between work and furthering my education.
I had spent months applying to different schools abroad, before the end of service. I got offers of admission but there was no money.
It was wishful thinking.
I tried applying to several companies and jobsguru, jobstoday etc sent me alerts that flooded my mail.
I was loyal and addicted to applying to various companies.
At some point, I thought my CV would have become a regular at many recruitment companies. Then, from one of the numerous, i got a call.
‘Good day, is this S.A.? I am calling to confirm if you received a message notifying you of an interview.’
‘Why, yes sir, I did. Just now. My name is S.A. ‘
‘Alright, please i would need you to confirm your availability.’
‘I shall be there. 9:00am right?’
‘Yes. Have a great day’
Before I could respond with good wishes, the line went dead. I had finally been invited for an interview the next day.
My hair was in order, thank God, but my mother went on about dressing etc. I googled the little i could and made sure i memorized my long term and short term goals.
The interview was scheduled to hold at Fadeyi.
The next morning, I stepped out and half-jumped, half-ran onto the first okada i could grab.
At Berger, I glided effortlessly in the teeming crowd and bossed my way into the Yaba bus. No one could stop me. Nothing.
Not the peppered puff puff I always bought nor the beggar who always called aunty as if he was reciting a song.
I was oblivious to humanity and to food.
On getting to the venue, I noticed the building was one of those replica of colonial houses that had designs that looked like fondant icing on old cake. It was old and despite the repainting, less appealing.
I was not ready to judge a book by its cover. So, I went in. It was 8:30 am. I was early. I was the only woman and i chocked in the male presence that saturated the room.
I remember when I was in primary school. My mum put me on a bus and thrust ten naira in my hands. I scanned the bus with my eyes and, with experience gotten from Lábé Òrun, i discovered I was the only female and knew some thing was wrong. I looked out the window, my mum was gone. The conductor was sitting beside the door and my only way of escape was to tell them I wanted to ease myself. He would not have that. He did not budge. The passengers were all seated and it was until I started shouting and screaming for the police, that they let me off the bus.
At B&B company, my legs were shaking on their own accord. The guys were also for the interview but I did not care, they were guys. While I thought of various ways of escape, a young came in, spoke with the secretary and smiled her greeting as she sat with us. I heaved a sigh of relief but in the process, something dropped in my underwear.
Urine. I held my breath and waited for few seconds until the urge passed. Finally, another lady came in at exactly 10:00am. I observed that they were quite punctual and organised, as opposed what I had heard from friends who had attended interviews in other organisations.
She called out some names and I was among the five, we were led into a room and where five tables and five chairs stared back, looking at us with so much indifference and waiting for us to sit.
I may have seen that in my mind.
The room was painted dark red. Perhaps that was why the furniture looked gloomy.
Pencils and papers were on each table. As if on cue, we all sat down and waited for more than an hour before a young man came in.
He had joined the beard gang newly because shrubs were scattered about his chin. He wasn’t making much effort at grooming it as some were longer than others.
He stared at us then smiled a smile that didn’t reach his eyes and said to us,
‘Welcome. Before you are sheets of paper for answering questions that would be dictated to you. You have ten minutes!’
A recorded voice began to dictate questions and it went on until ten minute elapsed.
Seeing that we were quite unbalanced, he gave us 5 minutes to finish the test.
After that, we were ushered outside, back into the waiting room. I noticed that the other applicants were not there. Perhaps, they were assembled in a different room. The young lady returned and gave us some forms to fill.
While filling the forms, she informed us that we would have to pay a sum of #5000 Naira each for reference.
‘Ha!’ I didn’t know when I exclaimed. Two of the guys went on like nothing queer had been said.
‘I don’t have such ma. Actually, I am searching for a job. Where will I see such?’ I continued.