MetroMan: “You Nigerians Are Different!”
5 to 7 minutes into the interview, the lady looked at me, shook her head and said the 3 words that means a decision is irrevocable….”I am Sorry”.
When an Oyinbo looks at you and does a crisp wry smile that barely lasts a second, and then utters the 3 words….your fate is sealed.
You may not even see any movement across the lips, cheeks or face. But it must always come before the 3 words.
Anyway, those 3 words mean they cannot help you further, and there is no amount of begging, emotional appeal, crying or sentimental display that will make them change their minds.
“I am sorry, it is hard to believe that you have studied competitively for 17 straight years and you do not have a practicable experience that you can apply or adapt for the role you have applied for”.
She glanced at my CV once again before looking at my boyish innocent face.
“Did you pay professional for this CV” she asked?
“No” I quipped. “A professional CV writer would have probably spotted my lack of experience…..”
“Yeah, you are right. I agree,” she interrupted me. “Honestly, it is hard to believe that your CV doesn’t even show any holiday work experience. Sorry where are you from again if you don’t mind?”
“Did you ever work during holiday?”
“And you are not a prince?”
“No” (Half smiling).
“Well, you are not the first from that area that I have interviewed in the last 12 years I have been doing this. All of you seemed to have that brain knowledge but without adequate work experience to match it”.
To cut the long story short, she confessed to me that based on CV alone, I was the most qualified of the final 5 candidates, and I was the last to be interviewed. She was expecting a sweep off from me, but all I did was a whimper.
She gave me a business card and told me to use her as reference.
“They will help you to build up your experience with one of their jobs. We can’t offer you this role. It will definitely go to one of the other fours with lower qualifications but right experience”.
She crossed out some lines and changed some of the words in my CV to action words connoting responsibilities. She liked it she said, but it was empty in real substance.
She deflated me, and yet built me up. But I learnt my lesson! Though I missed out on being a pioneer HR Officer for that Raddison Hotel somewhere around Leicester Square, I still walked out full of hope…..but yet with deep anger towards the educational system that nurtured me on 6334 without adequately preparing me for challenges beyond book knowledge.
Please, I understand that LAUTECH and some other institutions are on strike, let the students go and do apprenticeship.
When one of my students during my lecturing days showed me his account, I nearly fainted. He was a builder, a plumber, and an electrician.
He only had lectures 3 days a week, the remaining four days were for his father’s business. His dad gets a contract, and he worked full time like other employees so that most of the contract money won’t go to strangers. They were from one of these Eastern European countries. I loved him more when he showed me the BMW he wanted to buy….CASH! I couldn’t dare it!
Truth is, one can learn many of these artisans’ trade whilst studying and gradually build experience and make money over time. What it means is that you will never be stranded anywhere.
In Israel, both males and females undergo intense military training by the time they are 18. Today, an average Israeli is a reserved combatant waiting for activation should their be a need for it regardless of the age.
To the fathers who have businesses, don’t train other people’s children alone, train yours too.
Don’t send them to holiday lesson all the time. Only send to holiday lessons those that are academically weak. Nonetheless, find their strengths and build on those.
Mothers with shops in the market, take your daughters with you and allow them to handle customers, negotiate, make orders, and audit your stocks! That’s part of what we call procurement here. Marketing, Customer Services, Communication, Auditing, Procurement skills and etc have just been added to their experience.
If you have an office, let your children go there during holiday to master administrative roles. Let them photocopy, take calls, fax, send emails, compose letters, receive letters and file documents in appropriate places. Administrative skills and Communication Skills, and Record Keeping skills have been added to the kitty.
Truth is, most of us were made to ‘eat books’ for years, but those made to use their brains will coordinate those that fed their brains only without other equipping processes being perfected.
Finally, one thing that bothers me most is the rationale behind the 9 subjects students are being forced to sit for in their final year exams! Why 9.
For instance, naturally, I loved Literature, Geography, History and Biology in my childhood. But at the most important and decisive stage of my life, I was forced by school system default to drop both Literature and History so that I could be more in line with the ‘expectation’ tailor-made for people like us.
If I have the power today, aside From English, and Maths which should be in 3 options – (Advance, Intermediate and Basic) – from which students can choose from, no student should be sitting for more than 5 subjects at maximum. In fact, the exams should be set in such a way that the students will have the opportunity to choose when they are ready to do it.
That means, an SSS 1 student who is mathematically gifted can do WAEC Maths Advance well ahead of time. And that means he can now sit down to study more on the remaining four subjects.
And if a JSS 3 student who wants to study French Literature in future is ready to have a crack at WAEC, such can do O’ Level Basic Maths when he is ready so that he could concentrate more on equipping himself for French Literature! Of course, what does 2x + 5y – 3z has to do with someone who wants to major on French? Such student will spend years sitting for WAEC Maths and failing till frustration sets in and the dream fizzles out!
I just pray we can do the right thing for once in our lifetime. Let us find skills that will function well for us and many of the students kicked out of school could have continued until they get the spark to greatness.
Albert Einstein will be labeled dull, dyslexic, even autistic or schizophrenic, by a considerable number of today’s experts and interested parties, thank God he lived during an age that ‘organised education’ was not in existence.