Sherri arrived home with a broken heart and a gnawing hunger pang.
She could survive a heartbreak, but hunger and the constant look of disappointment in her parents’ eyes would be hard to bear. Since her siblings and her parents were in their rooms, she grabbed some dinner from the kitchen and fled into her room.
Sherri stopped in front of the full-length mirror and checked her appearance. She always looked her best to interviews, so why was it taking this long to get employed by a reputable company. She was slender, petite, dark-skinned, and wore her hair in a natural bun which she took the time daily to groom.
She turned on her phone, and the text notification sound chimed as she received series of messages from Archive Media, a company she had interviewed with two weeks ago. Her heart pounded in fear as she scrolled through the messages. They had been trying to reach her all day. They wanted to confirm if she had received their email and if she was available to work with them.
No! No! This can’t be happening!
The time was past 8 p. m, no one would answer if she called back, but she could leave a text message which wouldn’t be replied to until morning.
If it weren’t for Aunt Taye and John’s stupid calls, she wouldn’t have turned off her phone and missed this chance. She composed a lengthy text to HR, apologizing for being unreachable and informing them that she was still available and interested in working with the company.
The following morning, the first thing Sherri did was to check was her phone. The company had texted her back, but it wasn’t good news. Someone else had been called to fill in the position.
Olumide’s offer is still open but working with a creep? No thanks!
She had no interviews lined up for the day, but she could spend the day searching for some job vacancies on social media. The doorbell chimed, interrupting her thoughts. Sherri’s siblings and her dad were already out of the house, except for Mummy, who would be in her room sewing or knitting something for her church’s charity department.
She went into the living room.
“Amaka,” A female voice replied.
Amaka was a twenty-something light-skinned girl who lived at the back of the house with her aunt. She was also a job seeker, but Sherri hadn’t made any efforts to be friends with her.
Sherri opened the door, surprised to see Amaka in a long-sleeved shirt tucked into long black pants.
“Good morning, Sherri,” She flashed a warm smile.
“Good morning. Where are you going so early?”
“I’m going for a job interview. A friend shared the details with me, and I’m going there to try my luck.” Amaka replied.
Sherri scoffed in disbelief, “You want to crash a job interview?”
“Yes, people crash job interviews all the time, haven’t you heard of it? A friend of mine was hired by an oil company when she crashed their interview. They didn’t know she wasn’t one of the candidates.” Amaka said with a proud smile on her face.
“How’s that even possible?” Sherri asked, feeling a rush of excitement. Why hadn’t she thought of this? It was dishonest, but if it meant she’d be hired by the end of the day, she’d do it and face the consequences later.
“Do you want to come along? My aunt told me you are looking for a job too.”
“You mean I can attend this interview, and they wouldn’t know I’m not one of their candidates?” Sherri still couldn’t believe anyone in their right senses would crash a job interview. What if they were discovered to be fake candidates? How would that play out?
“How will they know? I’ll forward the same message to you. If the security at the gate ask any question, show them the message, and they’ll let you in.” Amaka smiled, “Do you know how many interviews I’ve crashed?”
“Give me a minute, please.”
Sherri raced back into her room, freshened up, and was soon out of the house.
Amaka forwarded the text message to her as they boarded a bus to the address of the company. When they alighted at the bus stop, they asked a few passers-by for directions, and it took a few missed turns before they spotted a dilapidated one-story building just a few distances away from Ikeja bridge. The paint on the building had peeled off, the gate was wide open, and there were no security men in sight.
“Is this the company?” Sherri asked with a frown.
“I’m sure this is the company.” Amaka replied with confidence.
“Ah.” Sherri sighed, realizing she hadn’t checked out the company on the internet before they set out. She didn’t know what they do at this company or the position she was supposed to be interviewed for.
They walked into the building and her fear waned when she saw three young boys tossing a soccer ball to one another. She took a moment to access the building; the ground floor seemed to be occupied by some families, clothes hung off a rope near the wall, children’s toys and empty biscuit wrappers littered the floor.
“Hey, is this Global Life Company?” Amaka yelled at one of the kids.
“The company is called Global Life?” Sherri swallowed hard. She has entered one chance. Sherri didn’t need a soothsayer to tell her nothing good would come out of this company.
“Upstairs,” The kids yelled back.
Amaka grabbed her hand, leading her towards the small entrance which led to the upper floor. She tried to ignore the acrid stench of filth as they climbed the staircase.
A man wearing a starched white security uniform with oversized black pants stood in front of a hall.
“You are welcome. Please go in.”
They headed into the hall filled with other job seekers, and found seats at the back. A projector had been set up, which revealed the company’s name on a whiteboard.
A burly pot-bellied man with dark glasses came up to the podium and spoke into a microphone.
“You are welcome to Global Life. The interview is about to begin. But first, I’ll like to call a few past candidates to share their testimonies with us.”
Sherri pinched Amaka and whispered, “This is not a job interview. They seem to be a marketing network company.”
“My name is Mr Abel. Candidates interested in this life-changing program will have to pay N2,000. Someone will go around now and collect the money before we begin. Please step outside if you don’t have the required amount. Thank you.”
Sherri’s eyes widened as candidates began to file out, muttering under their breaths.
“Your friend who crashed an interview and got hired by an oil company, do you know the name of the company?”
“I think it’s called Great Palm Oil Enterprise,” Amaka replied.
“Seriously? A palm oil company?”
“What’s wrong with working with a palm oil company?” Amaka asked.
“I’m leaving! I don’t have N2k to give anybody.”
Sherri rushed out of the building, regret and anger flooding her chest. She was mostly angry at herself.
“Who crashes a job interview anyway?”