“Hi friend, check out this job link”. This was a chat message I got from my good friend of mine (Temilade). I told her to forward the link to my mailbox and she did almost immediately. It was a job advert by one of the top online retail company in Nigeria. They were in search of freelance photographers.
After reading the job details I forwarded a mail showing my interest and I got a reply to report at their office in Lekki two days later for an interview. Days rolled by and Wednesday (January 22) arrived swiftly. I was so confident I would get the job.
Since I stay on the mainland and have stayed in Lagos too well to know the condition of the roads, I started out for Lekki very early in the morning. Thanks to my neighbour who gave me a free ride in his car, we agreed to meet at a spot by 4 a.m.
At this junction, I think I have to give kudos to all of you that work on the Island while living on the mainland. I don’t envy you guys a bit (maybe until am paid the kind of salary you guys earn). I clearly understand the reasons why a complaining friend would have to be at the bus stop by 3:30am to catch the staff bus everyday.
Anyways back to my story, by 6:18am we were already in Lekki. It was like a dream: myself in lekki by 6:18am! My neighbor assured me at that time that no office would have been opened, but the inflow of vehicles and people I saw made me to doubt that. I wondered where they were all rushing to. We drove to his obviously-not-opened school and entered with other arriving staffs.
In his office as a PHE teacher are two beds. He laid on one, offered me the second one where his colleague who had arrived earlier rose and fast went asleep.
I waited patiently for time. By 8:10 am I thanked my neighbor and took my leave for the interview slated for 9 am. I got to the venue ahead of time unaware of the fact that I was about to receive a great shock. We waited for the person meant to interview us only for him to show up several minutes late. The interview of two by two was just few minutes of chatting, no serious questions or requests for resume. Just questions like; Can you work hard? Do you have a smart phone or camera? I nodded my head along at the fast coming questions of my french-accent interviewer.
I began to sense something fishy was happening in this “great” organization”. To increase my fishy feelings, the “white” man showed up after the last set of two people were interviewed to announce that we all passed the interviews and will be trained for the job by 11am. Partly happy, partly skeptical, I waited till 11am and then the big blow hit me.
At 11am the man appeared, led us to the roof top and the meeting started. He introduced the company that has other chains of online retail businesses, what they do, and where we are to come in as “photographers”. According to him, we didn’t have to come to Lekki everyday; we just needed to work in the area we lived, and we’ll get paid. We were to look for houses in our areas tagged TO LET, call the agents in charge, “pretend” like a potential buyer/tenant to gain entrance and take 10 pictures of the building. I thought that was all until I heard we have to do that for ten different buildings in a day.
Yes, photograph 10 building with 10 pictures of each building(100 pictures) per day, upload them to the company’s site in the evening with a report and get a large sum of N3000 for the day. I quickly divided 3000 by 100; your answer is as correct as mine. I was dumbfounded and sat with my palms beneath my lower jaw probably to preventing it from falling off. The meeting ended and I stood up without altering one word. I was angry not just at the offer but also the gross time, energy and money I had wasted for that day. If not that I got a free ride that morning, I could have demanded a refund of my transport fare.
I collected one of his business cards as he distributed to his supposedly “new” recruits, under his name is the position “BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE”. What a developer!
Through it all, the question that kept ringing in my head was “How much are your pictures worth?”
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