When you have lived in a place for many years, it’s rare to experience something new. So I am always excited or amused when I find myself experiencing something new, especially if it is something everyone has been raving about.
My new experience came last week. I got invited to my first typical Nigerian job interview. Now, it’s not as if I have not worked before but those ones were references and I was the only candidate.
Besides, having my own business pays better than doing corporate work and it made me happier, so I quit and faced my business.
Anyway, as we all know, the economy has been bad in the last few years and I thought that if I should get a job again, I would be able to supplement my income from my business. You know the multiple streams of income thing!
A friend of a friend took my CV and so, I got invited for an interview in Victoria Island. Although the email said the interview would start by 10 am, I left my house in Maryland by 5:30 am so I would be able to beat the usual Lagos traffic.
Anything later than that, I should just kiss that job interview goodbye.
It has been a while I did Mainland-Island trip that early; I thought the time I left was good enough but see me, see traffic on the Third Mainland by 6 am.
I was so uncomfortable in the bus and tried shifting my position several times to get some comfort but every other person in the bus was either asleep, or scrolling through their social media feeds or listening to music as if it was normal to be in traffic at that time.
I tried to look at the bright side, a job was waiting for me, you know…
I finally got to my destination a little past 8:30 am. Good time. It was better to be too early than be too late. I found a place down the street to get some food, and just sat there watching other people eat until it was 9:30, thinking it was just me who was invited for the interview and I’ll be done in an hour or less so I could return home.
Then I went to knock on the office gate; I did not expect the rudeness of the security man. Immediately he found out I came for an interview, he just became so rude, and started asking why I was just coming when ‘my mates’ came by 6 am.
I didn’t even give him a reply and this infuriated him as he threatened to lock me outside the venue. Nigerians, small power they have over others, they will be behaving like they are God. Phew!
When he finally let me inside, he gave me a piece of paper with the number 51 written on it. I couldn’t believe my eyes; I was number 51?
Let me just cut the long story short. The interview didn’t start until 2 pm. The people who were supposed to interview us were in a meeting; so why fix an interview for that day and at that time?
I kept looking at the time but what was the point of leaving after waiting for hours? It finally got to my turn around 5:30 pm. My interview lasted less than 10 minutes and they promised they would get back to me soon.
As if to add salt to injury, the evil spirits that cause traffic in Lagos were on duty that day. I got home a few minutes to midnight and felt as if a train had run over me that day.
Ah! I thought it was just a one-off thing, getting a job in Lagos cannot be that hard now. So the next day, I gisted my friend about it, telling her how rude the security man was, how the receptionist spoke to us as if we were beggars who came to ask her for food.
How the candidates were so desperate sharing and trading tips they read somewhere or questions they asked them.
I know that I wasn’t so bothered because I had a running business, and some savings but is it always like this?
My friend laughed at me ehn. She said that one is even small, that she had gone for a bank interview once and more than one thousand people showed up for like five slots.
After we finished our gist, I just gave myself ‘brain’, carried my business plan book and started exploring how to reach more customers and re-focus on my business, because corporate work in this Lagos will not kill me.