It’s time we all accepted the bitter reality that our dear nation has become a rough and tough battlefield for many graduates to secure their desired jobs. The market is already saturated before they congratulate us with the yearly cliché, “Welcome to the labour market!” Gone were the days when our fathers and mothers would easily get employed, before or immediately after leaving form or standard schools. What has now gone wrong? The companies that once served as our pride have gone out of operation? Our political elite conspire(d) to make us dance to the music we didn’t initiate? Well, we can all answer these posers without failing to call a dog a dog!

If we keep lambasting our political leaders every hour, it’s worth it. However, our abuse solves nothing; after all, they’re not in our midst. Even if they are, do they have listening ears? Are they aware that they become motionless the moment that soul crawls out of them? Anyways, my pieces of advice are for graduates and undergraduates, should they weigh them.

My dear undergraduates, especially the ones who were not born with silver spoons in their mouth, please think outside the box when you are still within the four walls of your institution. Never assume the labour market is as rosy as people say or think! As an undergraduate at UI, I started teaching on a part-time agreement while in 300 level (though I came in as a DE student). It was not easy at all, but one needed and still needs to build one’s skills outside books alone. A friend was doing the same, though he had to travel outside Oyo State. We kept and still keep living our lives. Another guy from my department began a courier service within UI Community with a bicycle; now he uses a brand new motorcycle for his delivery. Elizabeth is another undergraduate lady from my department who sells “Okrika” despite her schooling- she knows that she has no one. Ahmad, a junior colleague from the polytechnic, started his interior decoration then; the service still keeps bringing money on his table after his youth service! The list is countless!

Furthermore, I have seen many graduates venture into something, no matter how little, after their service years. Isn’t this better than being idle, financially handicapped and chatterbox? A lady I know through someone is into packaged Dòdò Ikire; another one into clothing. In fact, one woman in Ede now sews and sells hijaabs for women within and outside Osun State. Their skills are bringing food on their tables! Assuming they keep lamenting, will they do anything?

Finally, my dear undergraduates and graduates, equip yourself with a Plan B in case your desired job doesn’t show up on/in time. Kill your ego and make yourself worthy! If you keep waiting for your expected job, you might wait till eternity! Lay your hands on something before that desired job knocks at your door! By the way, the easiest job to find in town now is TEACHING, though you might be underpaid, lately paid or even both! However, I tell you, if you know what to teach and you network your teaching beyond local championship, you might not even be bothered if your desired job continues to crawl in the dreamland.

Olansile Ajetunmobi Umar (OAU). Sunday, 2nd December, 2018. 11:55a.m.