School is over, the hustle is long gone! That’s what I told myself. I was lying! The hustle was about to start and I didn’t know yet. After school was the real hustle. If I knew then, I wouldn’t have accepted any of the congratulatory messages. I would have waited and ask people to send them when I finally get employed.
During graduation, I smiled a lot. Took pictures with all of the friends I knew I was going to miss. I looked good in the academic gown, someone told me. All day, I didn’t want to take it off. Oh, how sweet it was to finally graduate.
How awesome was the feeling, knowing you wouldn’t get up at dawn and rush for lectures. The thought of not having to meet my research supervisor again was almost an orgasmic whirl. I was a happy man, I could feel it.
I woke up the next morning feeling fresher than dew. Then another morning came. After too many mornings with nothing to do, I started getting bored. I had to find a job quickly. I needed to cater for myself and have a suitable lifestyle. That was when I got my first rude awakening.
We congratulate new graduates every year. Today, I choose to tell you this; the hustle just got started. Immediately you take off your gown, the journey starts. Brace yourself because you are going to be angry.
#1. You can’t get a job Just Yet
Yes! It’s as simple as that. It’s not that you did something wrong or it’s in your stars to struggle for a job after completing school. Companies are either not hiring or are hiring but are not looking for fresh graduates. You just came out of school. All you have is your dream and a desire to land a well-paid job. This is the desire of all the people who stood by you and wore the same gown and graduated with you.
As a fresh graduate, hiring companies don’t see you as experienced enough to be employed just yet. You might be brilliant. You know you can handle the position and meet all expectations but the hiring company says no! what would you do? Go get yourself some four years experience and come back. Then they might look at you.
The name of the currency is ‘Experience’. If you don’t have it, you can’t transact in the market of job search.
#2. Every job vacancy you read will be looking for what you are not
I read the Daily Graphic a lot during those days. My favorite part of the papers were the Vacancies and the Obituary sections. I wasn’t interested in the news. Front page stories didn’t tickle my attention. I always go straight to the vacancy section; they were usually written in small fonts in some obscure section of the papers but I was always able to find them and read. My heartbreak was; every vacancy was looking for someone I couldn’t be.
I didn’t understand why jobs in my field never appeared. I will head over to the internet to read more job postings and still none for me. I didn’t stop reading. Every day I got disappointed. Then I’ll go over to the obituary section of the Daily Graphic and see if someone died because he was unemployed. I didn’t see any. I kept hope alive
#3. That guy with the lowest grade in your class will be employed before you
It’s not fair right? That is when you learn grades alone won’t get you there. Fine grades are like a beautiful lady. They end up getting all the compliment but when it’s time for marriage, beauty counts for less. The ‘ugly’ ones marry and use the beautiful ladies as the bride’s maid. It happens in a job search too
I don’t know how they do it but they often find a way to get a job before the brilliant students. I wasn’t a brilliant student. My GPA was down there. Yet I didn’t get employed before all those first class students in my class. I hustled with them. That means this point number three doesn’t include me. I’m a special case. Let’s move on.
#4. Divide Your Expected Salary By Ten; That’s What You’ll Get
At my first interview, I was asked what I was expecting to be paid. I was a new graduate and I learned the economy was bad so I didn’t mention so much. A few days later, I was called with an offer; I was offered ten times lower than what I mentioned at the interview. Are these people trying to offer me a job or death warrant?
The truth is, we are living in employers’ world; you either take the offer or you leave it. There is always someone who will take half of what you rejected and still do the same job. So we all end up working for way less salary than we deserve. If you want to buy a car in your first employment, then think again.
You’ll work for free for a while; your salary minus transport fare and feeding will leave you with nothing. Then later, your experience will get you a better job where when you deduct all expenses from your salary, you’ll be left with some GHc1 to save.
#5. What you majored in in school won’t necessarily get you a job
I did Estate Management in school. Now I’m an HSE professional. She studied Agriculture, now she’s working in the banking sector. That my next door neighbor did Political Science, now he works at the mortuary. Life has a funny way of pushing people around.
We start from somewhere with beautiful dreams then out of nowhere something happens and you have to let go of your dream and pursue something new. If you insist on waiting to be employed in your studied area, then it might take forever. Add little value to what you majored in and take a little turn around, you might be lucky.
#6. After 2 years without a job, kids in your area will be asking the course you did so they avoid it in future
They don’t want to end up like you after they graduate. They have their dreams too. You become everything they dream not to be. In their inexperience mind, they believe your inability to land a job has everything to do with the course you pursued.
There was this boy I used to send to post some of my numerous application letters for me. At some point, I could see he was getting fed up. The walking to and fro to post letters that never yielded any result was getting to him. One morning he said to me; bra Joe, all this money you are spending to post these letters, can’t we use it to start some provision store or something? We can start selling nkatie burger then gradually we expand to add gari and other stuff.
He was the same guy who asked whether I studied ‘Dondology’ in school. He simply couldn’t think of a reason I didn’t have a job. It was too much for him. The day he found me in a mining uniform, he screamed with eyes wide opened and asked; Dondology students also have a job to do in the mines?
#7. You’ll become a motivational speaker
After two or three years without a job (I pray it doesn’t go that far), you’ll realize you need special motivation to go on. In that instance, every quote you read sounds like it was said for you. All your posts on social media become inspirational quotes from renowned people.
People send you chain messages and ask you to forward to ten people in your contact and receive a miracle in the next two days. But you’ll send to twenty people and expect a double miracle of a job opening.
At this point, you begin to question your value. Your self-doubt becomes larger than your dreams. This is where you become desperate and a little bit of motivation feels like a tonic in your blood.
If you are a Christian, the Bible becomes your friend. You read it each day hoping you’ll find a job vacancy posted in on of the verses in Mathew or John.
I’ve been there before. Trust me. It isn’t an experience I would wish on an enemy. During that moment, I would pick my graduation photos and stare at them and count all the friends I completed with who had a job then. Usually, I stare at the photos whiles Amakye Dede’s ‘Debi debi ɛbeyɛ yie’ plays in the background. This could be the lowest point in one’s life but this too shall pass. One day, you’ll finally be employed!
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