I think the issue with most youths today isn’t even pride; I think its more of a ‘I need to show that I’m bigger and better than you’ mentality. Would we call it self esteem issues?
Its baffling and at the same time, its bothersome. I mean, you walk into an office for the first time – its your first day at work and you’re excited – and say hello and all five pairs of eyes in the office you’ll be staying stare up in a sort of silent unison and check you out. You can hear the thoughts running through their minds, ‘Who is she?’ ‘Why do we need new hands? Are they sacking anyone of us for her? Reducing our pays?’
You adjust your skirt and as if on cue, you hear the thoughts of that girl you thought was pretty. ‘Wait, why is she adjusting the skirt? What’s wrong with it? Oh, is she going to come and form Madam Fashionista here? I really won’t let that.’ And then she goes on to flip her weave.
You utter a ‘thank you’ as your boss shows you where you’ll be sitting and smile at the other lady who you’ll be sharing a workstation with.
‘Hello, I’m Faraja.’
‘Oh, that’s a pretty name. Where are you from?’
‘Edo. My name’s full traditional but I’m not sure I can say the same for you.’
‘I’m from Ogun but my parents were a bit exotic in naming me. My name’s quite traditional, not just in the Nigerian way. Its Kenyan for comfort or relief.’
She nods curtly and faces her work.
You spend the whole day not doing anything, just observing and learning. And well, observe you do.
The next day, you’re back prompt and smiling, hoping today’s better than the day before.
No such luck, anyways. Today’s, perhaps, even worse. The guy collecting lunch orders thought it’d be great to bypass you so you stay hungry today – thank God for cream crackers and coke.
‘Why’s your laptop always noisy? Can’t you fix it?’
He eyes you and then the laptop. You’re confused how someone who you gave sausage when he complained of hunger just the day before can be so rude. Doesn’t sharing food equal love?
Wow. Heart broken.
‘Err, I’m not sure. It just started recently so I’ll get it checked.’
‘Its dirty, you should clean it up. I can see the dust all over.’
Okay… Good advice, but rude delivery.
You’re ready to pack your bags and leave but then you remember that ‘some people are just praying for a place to be going to sit everyday’ so you smile, as you’ve been doing, and thank God silently while unclenching your fists.
On Thursday, you go to the Lounge for lunch and everybody just goes silent.
‘Hello’, you say with a smile on your face. Maybe you’ll finally make your friends.
Nope. Not today boo, the universe says. Everyone looks away and continues their individual discussion. After you manage to get through lunch, you head back to your office but realize you can’t enter cause you haven’t been given a keycard. So you stay outside, knocking and hoping someone opens for you.
A few minutes later, someone opens the door. You’re about to say thank you when you realize it wasn’t opened because you weren’t knocking. You still nod and head in.
‘Oh hey Faraja, how’s it going?’ its your MD and for the first time, you give a real smile.
‘Pretty slow but I’m sure things will pick up eventually.’
‘Good good, if you need anything please let me know.’
You say yes and thank you and go into your office with a smile – your first true one since you started.
By the end of the first week, you’ve done two articles of which one was used without you even been told or acknowledged and the other was posted without any creative cause well, no one’s giving you the time of the day.
By Friday evening as you enter your house, you’re ready to curl up on your bed and sob a little.
Its been a bit overwhelming. You’ve paid your dues, given the full package. Perhaps a glass of wine will help.
And to think you’re just an intern.
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