At a time of leaving high school, everyone had his fantasy of how life after school was going to be—different from the school’s. And definitely yes, it was. We could not wait finishing and be freed from morning ‘preps’ especially those who were boarders, as well as escape school punishments. And this fantasy came to pass. Finally we became books-stress free. Even when we were still studying, we could picture ourselves waking up from our beds going to work as well as going to clubs and bars over the weekends and enjoy ourselves of what we missed.
Well, 2014 was my last year in high school being the last year I had the fun I needed to make my last high school year memorable. I was among the first person to finish their UNEB exams which was fun for me at the time because I was already anticipating of the life outside the school.
My life after high school !
Little did I know that the life outside school was paradoxical of what we had dreamt and imagined. As the vacation started, I was eager to work. I would buy newspapers in order to look check in them the advertized jobs. I wrote numerous job applications for different jobs, but no avail.
I remember my first Application I wrote was to Café Java House which was opening a new branch on Jinja Road—that was in 2015. I took the application there myself. When I entered, the smiley beautiful ladies welcomed me. This made me pleased and imagining me working with them in the next few weeks since I had come to look for a job with the confidence that I was going to get it.
I asked where I could find the human resource manager who was responsible for receiving the applications. They directed me and, yes, I meet him. I knocked and a voice from inside replied, “Come in.” Of course I was scared but he was also welcoming.
After asking me my name and explaining him as to why I had come into his office, he told me to put my application on his table. He later told me that he will call me for an interview in a few weeks. I left that place with all the hope that my vacation was going to be a good one. Even without knowing the salary range, I started thinking of how am going to apportion it.
I waited for the phone. That very week ended, and so is the second week one without receiving a phone call from Javas Café. I started thinking of going back to inquire if the manager had not forgotten my application. I thought that if a job was advertised, and one applied, then it was automatic that one would get the job. It dawned to me much later that nay.
I resolved to check with Javas Café. On entering the manager’s office, I introduced myself and he looked at me with a furious face telling me to be patient for the call. Despite the angry retort, his words gave me confidence.
I continued with job search!
I patiently waited for the call thinking that it would come in a few days. Unfortunately, however, days become weeks and weeks turned in to months. I waited for a call but it never came. I lost the hope. It was then when I realized that the utopia life I dreamt of was actually turning to be dystopia.
However, after hopeless weeks, a friend of mine who was also in the Senior Six vacation, but from a different high school came across an opportunity advert by liquid silk Bugolobi—they were in need of waiters and cleaners. He told me and asked me to try our chance and see if we could grab some opportunity there.
Since we had no money for transport from Bukoto where we were staying to Bugolobi, we decided to walk since it was the only way for us to reach to Bugolobi. It was 10:00am in the morning when my friend and I started the journey to Bugolobi. We walked from through Nakawa with hopes that God would be on our side and if we would seize any opportunity at the club liquid silk we would forever praise his name and give him sacrifices.
From Nakawa we entered into Bugolobi with our job applications and C.V’s in the bag because they were the requirements to get the job. Before we reached the exact place, we dust ourselves since we had gathered dust on the way while walking. On entering the building, I had a silent prayer in my heart praying that God could bless us this time for I was tired of being at home.
We entered the building but even before we met the manager, the security guard told us that if we had come to hand in our job applications, he told us “You’re late because the application taking in process is closed.”
I remember my friend and I we both had only Shs500 in our pockets and yet we had to walk back home. At this very moment, I realized that my dreams had tarnished and my imaginations will forever be mirage. As we reached Nakawa market, we decided to buy a slice of pineapple in the Shs500 leaving us with no single coin in our pockets.
Thank God we reached home safe and sound. However, I become hopeless, faithless careless, and ready to die because I realized life wasn’t as easy as we had imagined in high school. I even went to the extent of blaming God for bringing me in a mediocre family.
As they say that a man is called a strong man not because of the number of challenges he faces, but the way he handles the challenges he that come in his way. I was not weighed down completely. Shortly after, I moved from office to office to seeking a job. Thanks to God that my father was still fending for the family. He used to leave behind Shs2,000 – 5,000 for me to use on a daily basis.
As time passed on, I became the house boy of home—doing all the home chores. I hated a great deal of that more so because for every lost thing at home, I was blamed of being irresponsible.
I wasn’t the only person in the Senior six vacation in the surrounding community. We were many Senior six vocationists, and were all jobless. We were all spending the whole days at our at home what we came term as “daily routines”.
What was the “daily routine?” The name was coined by me because I realized my friends and I did the same things that we did yesterday and the day before. I used to be the first to wake up because I had to press my dad for any money he was to leaf behind. After, I would prepare our house for the buddies to find it organized. At around 10:00am my friends would start coming at home one by one and by 10:30-11am the house would be filled up.
We usually started the day by buying kikomando (chapatti mixed with beans). However poor we were, we afforded to buy CD movies to watch on a daily basis. So after eating the kikomando, we watched some movies up to around 1:00pm. We would then switch to local TV stations to watch sports updates because sports and music was our life. Thereafter, we would switch to music on all the local TV channels up to around 3:00pm before switching back to watching movies. This would take us up to around 5pm when we would have two options on how we had to spend the remaining hours to end the day. Option one was to go to Casino to play football on game machines and this was our favourite to us when we had some money in our pockets. However, if we had no money, we opted for going to play football. This was the daily routine day in day out. However, as time passed, some members of the crew found what do and made them busy and left club. Crew members became fewer.
After some time, my dad stopped leaving me with money on a daily basis. This might have been because he realized that I was becoming lazy—spending my days doing nothing. After my source of living was cut, I started to realize that time was really passing by and I had to look for some ways of getting money.
I hated to look for jobs again after the first experience. I never wanted to search for jobs anymore. However, I had no other options to get money yet earning a living was imperative. However, before I started again to look for jobs, I devised a strategy to help me to end the unnecessary spending of time out. Therefore, my strategy was to move from 8:00am to 2:00pm then move back home to prepare for the next day.
Now I was ready for anything and willing to do any kind of job that I could come across because I was really desperate for work. Unlike in the beginning of the vacation where I was with some friends in searching for jobs this time round, I was alone. Others had given up.
Before I had even started looking for a job, an Old Boy of Kololo Secondary School Samuel came at home to say hello and see how I was doing. Luckily for him, he had been working in Casablanca bar in Kololo, and he was quitting that job because he had got another job somewhere in Naalya which was much better paying.
I asked him if I could apply in the Casablanca bar in Kololo. He said that I did not need the application to get the job there but he connected me to someone in the top management. Immediately, he called the person concerned and then he told me to meet him on following Monday—it was a Friday when we called him.
To be sincere, I can’t express in writing how happy I was after we finished talking to the person on phone. This time I was more than confident that I had got a job yet with no application stress. I prayed to God to speed up the weekend because “Monday” was going round and round in my head.
Monday came. The person had told me to meet him at 11:00am but by 9: 00 I was already at bar. On reaching there, I told the security personnel that I had an appointment with the bar manager. They directed me to the person who would introduce me to him.
I was tense but happy on the inside for I thought it was a sure deal for me since I was told by the manager to come. I entered. They told me that he had not yet arrived but he was to come in a short while. I sat patiently because I knew I had arrived early but after few hours had passed for the time was approaching to one o’clock, I went to one of the people around and asked if the manager usually comes late. She replied yes, but on Monday he usually came around 11:00am.
This didn’t ease me. I tried calling his phone and it wasn’t reachable. I became anxious. But fortunately enough after trying to call his phone for a while, at last it went through. I talked to him saying that I had arrived on time and patiently waiting for him.
He told me that he was sorry because he couldn’t make it on that day but he asked me if it was ok with rescheduling the appointment on Friday that same week. I replied, “Yes.” I can’t deny the fact that the level of hope within me didn’t dwindled. But due to the fact I was seconded by the bar manager, I remained somehow hopeful.
To cut the long story short, Friday arrived. I called the manager to check whether he still remembers the appointment he gave me on that day. Heart-breakingly, he replied to me saying that during that week, there was a change in the bar’s administration. He apologized stating they had changed the management and he was no longer part of the bar.
After our phone conversation, I calmed down. This time round I did not blame God like I used to do in my first disappointments. Rather, I blamed myself for being irresponsible—saying if during those four days to Friday I tried calling him to see the progress about our scheduled meeting, I would not really have been deeply disappointed after taking to him.
Good enough I had not started the journey to the bar. So I stayed at home but strictly in my bed crying like a little baby asking God as to why me.
Some of friends had started working and I could see the fruits of labour because they were really looking good. I admired them and really wished to work. I remained at home for some two full months with my daily routine programmes as well as trying my luck, when an opportunity surfaced.
I finally got a job of being a cleaner at parapet cleaning company. This company was responsible for providing cleaners to some shopping malls, offices in Uganda. In parapet I was going to clean Acacia shopping mall located at Kisementi in Kampala during night because I was given the night shift.
I was very excited since it was my first ever job in life. When my colleagues and I were getting the job, the human resource manager told us that they were going to train us on how to use the sophisticated cleaning machines in a certain period of time. The training was to be undertaken while working at our sites. We all agreed to it. The first time I reported for work, at Acacia Mall, I reached at exactly 6:00pm. My supervisor was already waiting for me. I started working immediately.
On my first day at work it wasn’t the experience I would like to talk about because I really had a difficult time since I was used to sleep during the night, but now I had to stay awake up to 6:00am in the morning cleaning. It was the worst challenge I had encountered in my life. But as days passed, I started getting used to the ordeals.
I can’t forget during my first week, I used to get tired beyond the world. One evening as I was moving to work, an idea of pretending to be knocked by a Boda Boda while going to work struck my mind. I thought of lying my supervisor that was unable in order to be give me an off on that day because I was really fatigued. Luckily, I was given an off that evening.
I worked for one month and half without pay which really demoralized me and made me furious against working. Good thing I wasn’t the only one who was demanding the pay. All the cleaners were unpaid for over 40 days.
When we approached the management inquiring why we had not received salary, the supervisor told us that the new members who had worked for one month and few days were on training—I inclusive. There and then I stopped working, i went straight home miming a song from a local artist titled “Tukolela bwelele” meaning we work for nothing.
After Parapet’s experience, I quit looking for a job. In rest of my vacation, until university opened, I preferred voluntary work instead. I had passed, so I started schooling again. Life after high school was an experience I would never forget because it was the worst and best teacher in my life.
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