What I Told a Job Seeking Graduate Today

What I Told a Job Seeking Graduate Today

Today, I met a brilliant young man. He was academically talented. But I am not sure if anyone had actually guided him in his journey as a university graduate looking for work. He hated his city. He hated his country. Largely, he was annoyed with everything. The nation had failed him.

He was speaking and yelling to his friend. You could see the bitterness in his spirit. Perhaps, his model in life was to get the best grade in the university, and Nigeria would do its part. He got good grades, but Nigeria has not done the expected part. So, he fell off with his nation.

As he was talking, I called him and said “Young man, you are making a mistake. Life is more than getting good grades. The smartest people are teaching in some classrooms, and most would retire within classrooms. But those that run the world might not have passed with great grades. And those that create most jobs on earth might not have written serious exams.” I asked him some questions. He provided some answers and I explained why he was making big mistakes. He studied computer science, made good grades. But the man that invented computer science did not finish college.

Without humility, education is a waste because the greatest education is the liberation of the mind. I felt his mind was not liberated even though he passed exams in school.

I told him a story when I started my secondary school education. I came home and complained that I did not like one of my teachers. That was in Ovim (Abia State). The man did not do anything to me. The rumor was that he liked to fail students.  So, I joined the wagon, hating him. But that day, I got a strong instruction from my brother: “ We are not sending you to school to decide the teacher you would like or not. You must like all your teachers. There is no alternative. It is by liking him that you would learn from him”. Indeed, I went back to school and started liking the man. Good enough, I started doing well in his class. The animosity that caged my little mind was gone. I saw him as a friend  I did well in his exams.

I have extrapolated that “teacher” to include liking my country knowing that by liking Nigeria, I would have the energy to succeed in Nigeria. If I hate Nigeria, it would be challenging to make progress in Nigeria. It would be a struggle to find the strength to overcome a society you despise.

So, I told the young man: “Unless you like Nigeria, I am not sure you would get anything from Nigeria. When your mind builds bitterness in the society, you shut down the best from that society.” I explained his problem could be that everything was negative before him. And when you approach everything with that mindset, nothing seems to work.

Negative attitude happens in families and relationships; if you do not like something, you would struggle to get the best form that thing. How can you benefit from a relationship you despise? Not possible.

As a teenager, I prepared people for WASC/GCE Mathematics while in JSS3 (Junior Secondary 3).  They paid me and I enjoyed the experience. I was three years off to write mine but it was evident that WAEC was a simple exam. During lessons, I devised ways to help my students. I noticed one thing: students like money-equations, and when you introduce money in equations, everyone understands. So, 8x + 6x is hard but N8 + N6 is easy. Yes, they get the Naira one but the “x” is confusing. So, I devised a technique, changing all equations with x to Naira. Magically, it became solvable. The students’ minds were opened for Naira (we like money) but the minds were locked for “x’ (we hate maths). Yes, unless you open your mind, knowledge and blessings would struggle to flow in.

As the young man listened, I told him that he would be fine if his negativity about Nigeria could turn into positivity. Nigeria is made up of people. Unless he likes Nigeria, he cannot appreciate his fellow citizens. Those fellow citizens are the people that would give him jobs. The attitude must change.

As I rounded up, he was beaten up with thoughts. I wished him the best as I left. I am confident that he would be fine.


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8 thoughts on “What I Told a Job Seeking Graduate Today

  1. How can I share on all my social media handler, I must reference you but I still need permission.
    Any time someone touches this topic, something in me wakes up, am dying to help my brothers and sisters see the light and opportunities in a desert.

  2. Grateful for this piece, and i want to add that you are on point on interests and focus, as positive interest will improve focus and negative interest will block focus. However, its a gift to understand psychology of choices which is a determinant factor to personal success. This Nigeria system is void of value for us Nigerian youth, except people with silver spoon. My experience was same as i was fortunate to work somewhere in the heart of Lagos “IKOYI” where a lot of fortune 500 companies are, yes they have young Nigerian staff, alas they are all elite school graduate. and then i was angry, really angry. What could i do, a graduate of the Polytechnic Ibadan*, i may never be close to these positions or opportunities. Well allowing the positive energy withing me to learn more and now works for a leading Nigerian software company. Where i lost it was traceable, ”Secondary school”, after a failed pre-dregree attempt to a Nigerian University, i compare my notes and found out that they are exactly the same, I did not understand it in secondary school and yet again during pre-degreeI. I think the failure point was Family and environment, Government and leadership style. Get good grades and get a white collar jobs, imported job. How much Nigerian made jobs available out there?, before now you can get federal or state jobs, now the pay goes to ghost workers. How much job is available against number of graduate yearly, then i agree with you that a positive mind will help you beat the odds. Finally you have helped a generation to change if we care to read and understand your message above. But its not easy. Thank you

  3. Well that’s one way to look at it… In the first paragraphs where you retold the story of the young man, I could honestly see myself in him. But to be honest, I think he is in a better position than I am considering the current demand in the IT sector.

    The reality is that Nigeria has failed graduates, pensioners and almost everybody. If you decide to constantly look at the positive side, you are not being realistic and are simply masking the smell of a corpse with cheap perfume.

    It is a ticking time-bomb. Nigeria is producing more graduates than it could ever assimilate, in addition to that, they favor foreign qualifications!

    So what hope is there for people like the young man who worked hard in the University but sees a few others flourishing because of “connections”, or is stuck in a myriad of job seekers all aiming for the same position as you.

    The truth is Nigeria doesn’t value education. As long as power is continued to be circulated among a group of wicked individuals, we will continue in this abysmal spiral.

    All I’m saying is that his frustrations are valid. He should leave the country while he still can, or slug it out like the rest.

    1. I did note that our unemployment is our black swan https://www.tekedia.com/nigerias-gray-lizard-americas-black-swan/ .

      “In America, they talk of black swans: ” high-impact risks that are highly improbable and therefore almost impossible to predict”. Yes, “an unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme consequences.” That is it: “something extremely rare”. So, because it is rare, you do not (usually) plan for it. Arab Spring was a black swan as the leaders of North Africa could not have modeled that risk.

      In Nigeria, we do not just have black swan. We have gray lizard. It is a high impact risk, that is highly probable and evidently visible but totally, widely and irresponsibly ignored. The massive youth unemployment in Nigeria is a gray lizard. Governments see it daily but it is totally ignored.”

      …Note, it is always hard to make progress when everything before you is evil. He needs people to even help him go abroad. But that would only come when he believes those people can. No one is saying that Nigeria is working, but an attitude that everything is bad takes one nowhere. You need to believe in a system to make progress in that system. The system has fellow Nigerians who could be the employers.


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