The day before I was to start work, I hung out with a girl whom i’d once lied to about my employment status during the job hunting days.
I forgot to withdraw sufficient cash, trusting in Lekki Palms ‘ POS machines.
I ordered Coldstone for us both. We mixed up the movie schedule, so we couldn’t get tickets (a blessing in hindsight).
Ecobank’s network was poor that day. The card declined, twice.
The girl, who didn’t bring her cards either, dug into her purse and squeezed out her “vex money”. The rest of the convo was awkward.
My first Lagos job lasted three months and two weeks. The letterhead was a scam, as I only met one lawyer and secretary, then the boss. The office itself was smaller than Ilupeju’s Bar Enclave.
If Ikoyi to Ikeja cost 700, I would get that, and not a naira extra.
I had to fill a time sheet, detailing the tasks I did each hour.
He also hassled me to find more clients for the firm. And after I had worked two months, i had my salary unpaid for two weeks. Break was one hour, and if I stayed longer, he would suspect that I had gone for an interview. I fantasized about strangling him with a laptop chord on many office days, but I didn’t have to…..
As he talked about “my effort not being up to standard” when probation was over and it was time to review wages. I dropped a letter in his absence and stormed out.
Next was a stint as a research assistant to a judge.
That, too, was grossly shortlived.
I learned quickly that writing law judgements was different from writing colourful prose stories on a WordPress blog.
Christmas came, and I had to impress.
In my pockets, i felt large holes.
In March 2016, after one aptitude test, three interviews, three weeks of training (which involved food and stipends), I had to write a make-or-mar assessment to join the ranks of UBA staff.
If I failed, i would take the next God is Good bus back to Asaba.
Again, I won the wager.
I celebrated by treating myself to a night at Afropolitan Vibes….where I ran into Eye Kay Nwaogu, and I had to endure Blackky run around on stage, singing “Rosie” with a pot belly. Legends don’t always age well. My time at UBA ushered in the darkest moments of my twenty-odd years of existence. I was to work in customer service. There would be no use of phones from 7.30am to 6pm.
I had to flash a plastic smile, even when I didn’t feel like, and much of that to rich individuals who lived on the island and had a default sense of entitlement.
On many Saturdays I was either watching the ATM, attending some impromptu training, or being compelled to scout for new accounts.
Not to mention the ornery, nagging, vindictive Branch Operations Manager (who would later be fired no thanks to a few damning tweets)
And oh, the horrible red jacket too. By September I had sunk below the benthic, wishing only to end my life. Mum said to grow up, and Dad made reference to the frequent retrenchments. I sought redemption on a psychologist’s couch…..
And in the last week of October, I signed into the bank’s Exit Portal.
I am still hoping, still dreaming, waiting on the day Ability meets Value.