The building stood tallest amongst the others around. It was a four storeyed edifice with spacious car parks and well tended lawns. The flowers that barricaded the walkway were fit for sore eyes and as Justin walked past the security post into the premises, a smile broke on his face. Maybe the people at NYSC did him a favour he surmised.
He walked into the building and approached the receptionist with his letter. She smiled at him and took his letter. ‘Please take a seat,’ she said as she rose from her work station the letter in her hand. She made a copy of the letter, went back to her workstation to make a call.
Justin checked out the office in that time. The decor and accouterments were classy and sparse. The office was cold due to air conditioning, and Justin wondered if the receptionist was from a cold region and the cold didn’t bother her. He shivered slightly and caught himself. I can’t fall my own hand here, he told himself. After a while, he let his gaze fall on the LCD TV tuned to CNN. All these official types and CNN, he mused.
He was engrossed in the news on TV when the receptionist called him. ‘Mr Amadi?’
Justin got up and went to her.
‘Please go to the third floor. The HR Manager will see you there.’ She handed him both the original and photocopy of his letter.
Justin took the elevator to the third floor and met with an assistant of the HR Manager who took him to a waiting area. ‘Please have a seat,’ the man said and left.
Justin nodded at the fellow Corps members who had gotten there before him and mumbled under his breath, a few responded, others did not. He sat down and stared at the wall. He suddenly discovered he was becoming anxious.
He closed his eyes and calmed his nerves. He waited for the HR Manager to come and address them. The man took his time. He came an hour later. When it became obvious there was nobody from NYSC reporting to the company again.
‘Hi,’ he said, ‘my name is Teniola Jacobs. I’m the Head, recruiting and welfare. Okay,’ he turned to his assistant, ‘you all have met Timi here right?’
Nods from the corps members, Justin spoke clearly, ‘yes sir.’
‘Good, now we are going to perform a quick exam and interview for you guys. I see there’s ten of you. We will be taking four from the lot. So, I wish you all best of luck.’ He turned to his assistant, gave a few instructions and went on his way.
Timi ushered them into a large hall. Justin was surprised to see that the company had its test centre right there in the office building. Wow, see intimidation, he thought.
They met a couple of the IT staff in the hall, working on their tests and setting up their systems. Justin found himself admiring their dressing. Well polished shoes, damn good wristwatches and their shirts hung on them. Damn he thought, if only for presentation sake, I gotta enter here.
They sat for the test and thirty minutes later were done. Three people failed and were handed their letters back with their rejection letters. Justin swallowed. Seven more people, he had a statistical chance of getting in. He sat still as they were called in one after the other to be interviewed after the three had left.
After all had been interviewed the HR Manager came out again to share the results with them. ‘Okay guys, I have bad news for all of you.’ He paused and watched the corps members.
Justin swallowed had. The guy next to him groaned. The ladies opposite him suddenly became crestfallen. They were suddenly near tears. Only the lady that sat by herself maintained a dignified look as the two others bowed their heads.
Mr Jacobs smiled. ‘The bad news is we’re taking all of you.’ His smile broadened. ‘I must confess though, your reactions were priceless.’ His laughed easily.
They all sighed loudly, except for the stoic lady. Justin wondered what her deal was. They were given their acceptance letters, assigned to departments and asked to resume work in ten day. Justin was assigned to the research department as well as the stoic lady.
He was besides himself with joy when Timi told them the company offered seventy thousand Naira to its corpers. Dang! Justin thought, time to enter the town and announce myself.
When he left the place, on his way home, he placed a call to Segun. ‘Dude, I’m in!’ He gushed.
‘Congrats mhen,’ Segun replied. ‘I wasn’t so lucky. I was rejected o.’
‘Damn!’ Justin cursed. ‘What are you going to do now?’
‘I dunno. I’ve spoken to someone who said I shouldn’t be worried. I’m seeing her tomorrow.’
‘Best of luck mhen. I’ll say a prayer for you.’
‘Thanks.’ Segun replied.
Justin terninated the call and began catwalking. Time to learn how to pose.
What he didn’t know was that his life had changed the moment he signed his acceptance papers and agreed to work for the establishment. If he had known, he would have begged to be rejected. Another episode had just begun in his life, and it wasn’t what he thought it to be.