Each time, I have conversation with most young people in higher institutions in Nigeria, they often think that life is straight, so straight such that they think so straight. I often hear, ‘when I graduate next year, with my bachelor’s degree I will get a job immediately, get my Maters in the other year, marry the following year, have kids the number that I want…” and many of such other straight thoughts.
What happens is that, no sooner they leave school than it dawns on them that life is not straight. At that point, the stark reality of how life is crooked begins to confront them in the face. In this piece, I have tried to document their disappointments:
1. Degree certificate is a mere piece of paper
The first reality is that the certificate they struggled over the years to acquire is a mere piece of paper, which is treated like it has no value when they walk into a place in search of employment. After several unsuccessful attempts to gain a job with a degree certificate fails, that excitement of having bagged a degree begins to disappear to give way to gloom. The fresh graduates begin to question what they were told that when they get a degree, jobs will look for you. One fresh graduate mentioned to me that “the prospective employer asked what I could offer in terms of skills, not my degree certification.” Is it a crime to go to school? No! It is only that today’s workplace skills emphasize skills more than certification.
2. No dignity in joblessness
Jobless youths hardly get invited to social events, not even from their friends or the larger society because it is believed they have no social status. Although they have resorted to attending place of worships regularly to get miracle-job, they hardly get sensitive positions in place of worship. If there is theft in their neighborhoods, they are the primary suspects. The truth is that there is dignity when a youth go out in the morning and return in the day, even if with peanuts. Jobless youths are not credit-worthy, as lenders avoid giving them loan, as they are not willing to forgo any penny. If you are a man, your situation is worse. Parents discourage their daughters from hanging out with jobless men. It takes a committed lady to stay in a relationship with a jobless man.
3. Expectation shifts to you
Whatever a fresh graduate gets as support from home shrinks. Even if they still get, it is not as much as when they were in school. Don’t expect that you will be exempted from family projects because you got no job. Rather, the expectation oftentimes switches, from them to you, even when they know you are jobless. Parents get a bit frustrated as they would want them to be dependent and support them in return. “Asking for your contribution in our project when you are jobless is a mockery of your situation”, Chris stated while narrating his ordeal to me.
4. Poverty becomes your husband or wife
Many fresh graduates probably would have not experience poverty, until they experience going several months without job. It is cruel, such that they miss interviews because they do not have transport fare. Even when they see vacancies, they do not have money to pay cut-throat job racketeers. Even when they are invited for interview, their shoes and clothes are to worn out to be used. Even when they had attended interview, they do not have airtime to make calls, even to follow up on the job interview.
5. The course you studied or grade you made is immaterial
When young people are in the school, they tend to believe that their courses or grades are license to landing a lucrative position. It does not work that way, a candidate with an upper grade is usually shoved aside for a candidate with lower grade. A financial institution even hires a linguistics graduate over a graduate with finance background. The truth is that your destiny is not tied to what you studied or the grades. Most successful people will advise fresh graduates to #MakeYourPassionYourProfession.
6. You become vulnerable to scammers.
If care is not taken, you develop high blood pressure after falling victim to job scams who take the last that you have saved or borrowed. It is not your fault that you were scammed; joblessness robs you off your mind and capacity for analytical thinking. It is double jeopardy.
7. You become friends to those you avoid
You become friends to newspaper vendors, you become friends to clergies, you become friends to different job websites, and the list is endless, wherever help might come. Joblessness humbles fresh graduates!
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