By Gbenga Akinwande
I was in a state of disbelief, head dropped and tears dropping off my cheek. “How do I go from here?” was the question that came off my mouth as I looked into both Mr Emma and Oga Bayo’s eyes.
I had just been told my services wouldn’t be needed again in a company I had waited three years to join. Here I am, 16 months after, had been asked to leave. I did not know which was worse; the fact that my wife and I were expecting our baby in a few weeks or the thought of how long it would take me to get another job. I sat on the bed in my hotel room, had lots of thought, rolled, paced up and down the room, and I remember I had to make calls to my dad and father-in-law to let them know what has happened. But I never told my wife and was determined not to tell her until she’s delivered the baby.
"I would laugh outside, played with people, even shared my little money with others but inside, I was dying.
April 13, made it 2 years since that incident in 2017. And I can say I spent more than 90% of that period without salary. How did I do it? I can’t really say. But all I can say is that I have wonderful people around me, led by my wife, who helped me through that trying period. I even lost substantially to the poultry business I ventured into. By March 2018, I had exhausted my savings and pay off funds. So I was left to look to people for survival. Mayowa was around now. The young lad had to eat, wear good cloths and be happy as though nothing negative is happening.
Today, I have a job which I waited for another 16 months to get. The wait was well worth it, at the least. Yes, it seems a fair deal compared to where I came from, but the transition itself was not a pleasant ordeal.
I, immediately, in June 2017, took a volunteering role at a poultry farm where I coordinated farm activities and developed sales operations and routing plan for them. I left here to begin my own Poultry which didn’t yield much good.
I contemplated suicide several times, but the thoughts of my family would not let me go ahead".
Then sometime in January 2018, my friend, Tope Adebiyi, called me to tell me of his plans to set up an online media blog, ATAAOJA, where he wanted me on board as the Chief Correspondent and Editor. I agreed to the proposition. But then, it is to be an unpaid job. Well, I haven’t been working, so I took it. I swung into action. I began scouting for stories, developed features and organised interviews, with young entrepreneurs as my focus.
I remember I wrote a feature on how Elephants are fast disappearing from Africa. It was an article that got the attention of an aide to the then Minister of Environment (Now UN Assistant Secretary General), Aisha Mohammed. I also wrote a story about a senatorial aspirant in Ondo State, whom I have dug into his antecedents, especially in the area of youth empowerment and brought them to fore. It got applause and recommendations from people. These, I did just because I had a flair for writing and researching. And I was not engaged with a schedule of duty. I was not rich, I was struggling financially, but I did these things with my heart. I did several programmes online, relating to social media. I also participated in a GLOBAL ENTERPRISE EXPERIENCE programme at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and I got a commendation letter where fellow team members recognised my leadership quality. These were to get me prepared for the future.
Having applied for a job in a federal government agency in October 2017, I kept faith and continued searching for other vacancies. I attended close to 4 interviews in 2018 and none came successful. I despised the attitudes of some HR folks who were playing god in those periods. I began to lose my confidence and self-esteem. I would bury myself in my room, found succour in my wife and Mayor (my son). LinkedIn and Twitter became my second home. I was depressed. I would laugh outside, played with people, even shared my little money with others but inside, I was dying. I contemplated suicide several times, but the thoughts of my family would not let me go ahead. Truly, FAMILY IS EVERYTHING!
After a 15-month wait, I finally got an invitation to proceed for medical examination and documentation for a role as Media officer. It was an experienced hire, and I had only done something related to media for just eight months. But it counted for me! It was on my CV.
In just about two months in my new work, I have shown so much prospects and willingness to learn what new things. I am not ashamed to learn from people, irrespective of the gender. I've been influenced to put in more energy into project planning and execution. I am even privileged to be drafted into a high-powered committee working on a project at work, where I serve as the secretary. It is a new experience for me, sitting with senior staff/officers of the agency but I am coping fine and up to task.
Also, AT LONG LAST, my bank account was going to be receiving monthly salaries again! I was relieved, and I told my wife, “The storm is over”!
IT WASN’T EASY, BUT I LEARNT SO MANY GREAT LESSONS THAT I CAN NEVER FORGET.
WHEN OUT OF JOB, WAIT PATIENTLY BUT KEEP ON DEVELOPING YOURSELF and NEVER LEAVE A GAP ON YOUR CV