A Chronicle of My Journey to Joblessness

Posted on August 17, 2011 by


by Chioma Obiefuna

Just like I had suspected for some time, being jobless did not feel too bad. On the contrary, it was a liberating feeling to know that I didn’t have to wake up the next morning, completely terrified of the day ahead of me.

Having a nice job with great income and all the perks that came with being employed by a large corporation was a great self esteem booster, especially for someone who lacked self confidence—like me. With panache, I dished out my business cards to anyone who asked, assured in the knowledge that I would be given some respect for being amongst the lucky members of the few well paying industries in my country, Nigeria. But with such joys came a large number of painful memories. Oh yes! It was a well paying ride but the bumpy roads in between took my breath away almost everyday—and not in a good way.

Many of us have dreams—to be superstars, great scientists, artists, writers—but sadly, many of us never achieve those dreams, or should we truthfully say, many of us never pay more than lip service to our dreams. I am one of those “us” I’m talking about. I had big dreams but naturally, like many people I know, I never bothered with an attempt to live it out. Like everyone else, I threw my dreams of being a writer to the trash and got a job at the last place I wanted to work: a bank. It was a job that made me mostly miserable for eight years, hypertensive for the next year and chronically depressed and hysterical by the tenth year.

Don’t get me wrong; my job was not always bad. There were few aspects of it that soothed my troubled spirit sometimes—the financial and social incentives were amongst the best in the country; I made quite a number of friends along the way plus it exposed me to a whole new way of life and living. But in the midst of all these, I was slowly losing my mind. Aside the constant grind which left little room for a fulfilling personal life, we were constantly screamed at by bosses who knew no other way to communicate. Continually belittled, emotionally and spiritually abused, it became a nightmare to go to work everyday, fearful of what the day would hold. I have to admit that my ten year sojourn in the industry opened my eyes to a lily-livered me and I, shamefully, covered my face at my continued struggle in a job I despised–a job that seemed to sense my weakness, so despised me too. Being a coward, I could not summon the courage to put myself out of my misery; the world, as it knew me, would chastise me for giving up a good income in an economically uncertain world. However, after an almost nervous breakdown, I drummed up the guts to do what was right for me; not quitting my job but quitting a facet of my life that was slowly killing me.

Today, I have realised that there are benefits to being jobless. It has given me a bit of time to work on some of my personal goals and dreams. For the first time, I have made some progressions in my pursuit of personal happiness and I am slowly, but surely, inching towards finding peace. Really, being jobless does not feel too bad—for now, at least.

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