Funke stared at the sheets of paper with her name written across the top in bold letters, well not actually her name. Her coach had advised that she shorten her name to make it easier to pronounce. She’d had to choose between Ade, Funky and Funk. It didn’t make sense that anyone wouldn’t be able to pronounce her name, only two beautiful syllables, FUNKE, but she went along with it; she always went along with everything he said. The name Ade, felt strange to her, she had never been addressed by her prefix before, but she would have to get used to it now, There was no way she was calling herself Funky or Funk just because some people were too lazy to learn her name. She studied the text on her CV, it was supposed to be a document showing what she had done in her career; her skills and accomplishments. But the problem was that she had never worked a day in her life. She finished from Uni six months ago and had been unable to land a job. Every rejection email was like a dagger piercing her heart and self-confidence. Now she didn’t even bother reading the emails, she had a special folder where they got redirected to so she didn’t have to look at it, but still each day she opened her email with hope, her heart sinking every time she saw the rising number of new messages in the ‘Do not open’ folder.
Time was fast running out; if she didn’t get a job soon, she would have to leave the UK to go back to Lagos, Nigeria. Not that there was anything wrong with going back; she loved Lagos, the bustling city that never sleeps, filled with friendly and cheerful faces. She would pick Lagos over London any day. In Lagos, she didn’t have to worry about where her next meal would come from. Her family lived in a comfortable home in Surulere and she had lots of ‘friends’ that took her out to dinner, movies and parties, she was never bored and she was never lonely. Plus the weather! London weather could be so cold and dreary, she didn’t completely hate it. London was the most beautiful city when the sun was out; people were a nicer and more courteous but all that changes during the cold months. She tried not to think about the crowded tubes, in Lagos, she never had to get on any public transportation. The only reason she’d stayed on in London after her degree and was trying so hard to land a job was because she had heard that finding a good job back in Lagos was very hard and competitive. She had been advised to get as much work experience as she could before heading back home. As much as it hurt to stay in London, cold,lonely and sometimes, hungry, she couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to get a job back in Lagos, watching her friends bag nice jobs, and drive around in nice cars.
A few weeks ago a friend of hers had recommended a project management course. It was supposed to be guaranteed to get you a job. She had finished the course last week, it hadn’t been cheap. Then she’d sat for the exams and she’d passed. Now came the hardest part; trying to get a job. It was all a lie, the course wasn’t guaranteed to get her a job; it was the CV and the long list of lies it read. According to it, she had over two years’ experience as a Project coordinator.
There was some hope on the horizon; she had gotten a call from an agency referring her for a Project support role in a large financial organisation in the City, now all she had to do was convince them that she had indeed done everything her CV claimed. She had gone over every detail in her CV with her coach; she knew what was in it back to back. She had studied it harder than she had studied for any exam in her life.
She sat on the Central line train from Leyton, her head bowed. She prayed hard, her lips barely moving, her heart thumping in her chest. It was just past 1pm and the carriage she was in was almost empty. She wore a white Hawes and Curtis shirt and a crisp new M&S suit. She had to get this job; she was practically down to her last pound. Her dad sent her money every month but it just never seemed to be enough. He always converted whatever amount she requested in pounds to naira, making it sound like she had asked for a ridiculous amount of money. As long as she could pay her part of the rent for the flat she shared with two other girls, he didn’t quite concern himself with how she survived.
“El-shaddai, Elohim, Jehovah Jireh,” she prayed. “Father, please do not forsake me in my time of need.” It was ironic that she had been honest for months about her lack of experience for six months with no result, yet only after a few days of embellishing her CV, she had a job interview.
Funke sat through the interview in a constant state of fear that she was going to be caught out. There were two people interviewing her; a man and a lady. She lied through her teeth for an hour, feeling moisture seep through the fabric under her armpit, thanking God for the dark jacket she wore. If they thought she was nervous, they didn’t show it. She watched them smile and nod as she responded to their questions and began to relax. By the end of the interview, Funke was less of the wreck she was when the interview had started. She shook their hands as she left and they told her they would let her know if she had the job before the end of the week.
On her way back to Liverpool street station, her phone rang; it was the job agency. They had liked her! They wanted her to start on Monday. That was in four days’ time. It was a contract role; did she accept the position and the daily rate? Tears rolled down Funke’s face as she responded that yes, she would accept the position. She called her coach as soon as she was off the phone with the agency. She got the job! Hallelujah, she got the job! She did a little jig right at the top of the escalator descending into Liverpool street station.
“We’ll need to set you up with a company and a business account.”
Funke nodded, even though she knew he couldn’t see her over the phone. She waited until she was home before she called her family to break the good news. Her dad was relieved that he wouldn’t have to keep sending her money. Her mom was concerned.
“Project support ke? You read accountancy, why are you doing project support?”
“Mom, it’s just to get some work experience. I have the rest of my life to work as an accountant. I just need to get a foot in the door.”
“Funke, you’re very intelligent, why don’t you just keep looking for a job related to your field. It’s not like we can’t support you.” Funke could hear her dad coughing in the background.
She smiled to herself. She told her mother how much she would be earning. The line went silent
“Well, I guess it doesn’t hurt. But make sure you never give up on finding an accountancy role.” Her mom said eventually.
“I won’t mummy, I promise.” And she had meant it.
~Excerpt from my romance fiction novella.4 by