This is the very third piece on Samuel Jideofor Okonkwo ‘Sammie’ on this blog. Don’t bother wondering why, because I’m just about to let the cat out of the bag. Simply, Sammie ‘is’ my teacher, and he’s such an inspiration that the best I can do for God and the rest of the world is to share him, to talk about him. Heaven and earth, and even hell, know that what I’m doing is right and just. lol! And the choice of sharing him with friends and the virtual public has yielded much fruits: Sammie’s story has inspired many and challenged many more. He promises to inspire you, too. To catch up on our gist on Lagos Island, the very first of the ‘Sammie series,’ check here. To catch up on the longest day of Sammie’s life, his recruitment day, check here. The present piece is a sequel to his recruitment day story.
When on that faithful day, January 14, 2011, while a finalist in the Department of History and International Studies, University of Nigeria, he signed up with Blogger, and then did his first post on ‘Atiku,’ Sammie didn’t know, and how could he have known, that the decision to start blogging will make all the difference in his life three years away. Funnily enough, that first blog post only got published on the third attempt; what if he’d given up after the first or second attempt? And then Sammie has kept at blogging until tomorrow, which is to say that he has consistently blogged for more than five years; five years and eight months to be precise. However, there is something else about Sammie’s blogging that I’m up to in this piece.
The last story about Sammie, his recruitment day, ended on the joyful note that he succeeded in beating his stiffnecked competition. But I left a hint that there is more, and this is it: he didn’t land the job that day. Yes, three of six got eliminated, but none of the remaining three got an offer; the recruiters still wanted one more out, since they had the mandate go trim the 42,000+ qualified applicants down to just 2. There was no vacancy for three, it was just for two. However, something more happened there: the recruiters had exhausted all their recruitment strategies, and couldn’t afford to play unfair; they knew ethics. In addition, they were willing to stop at nothing to trim down three to two. It was a tall order. What they did next will shock you.
They flew the last three standing to the headquarters of the multinational, and turned them in to the MD, asking him to make his pick by whatever yardstick he chose, given that they’d exceeded their elastic limit and were already breaking. But the MD wasn’t willing to make such a crucial pick alone, and chose to do it in the company of his continental heads. The task was tough: the very best two had to be picked from the very best three. This is exactly where the story gets interesting…
They were to appear before the panel of bosses one after the other, and Sammie was the last in the order of calling in. After all, ladies first. And may it not shock you that the two others were ladies. These days ladies slay, you know. Each of the other two spent an average of 45mins answering all manner of questions, and you can trust that they were those sort of questions that the how of answering was more important than the what of answering. And then Sammie was up for his turn…
This is the highpoint of the story. Sammie had barely walked into the room when the MD called him by his name, “You’re Sammie, right?” Of course, you may want to think that he had his CV before him, but he went on to add, “I read your blog.” ‘Read’ is not past tense; it’s in the sense that he follows his blog. You may also want to think that the MD was playing smart, such that he only checked it out after he was handed Sammie’s CV. You’re wrong. Yes, because what followed next will shock you. The MD raised up for discuss with Sammie a post he’d done a long time ago – on a tennis player they fan in common. I remember that name: Djokovic. That lasted barely 2mins. Then the MD raised another blog title on Nigerian politics. Lasted barely 2mins again. And that was it! He then asked Sammie to be on his way already.
You can guess that Sammie was as shocked as he was afraid. He didn’t know what to make of that encounter. Given that he spent barely 5mins in there when others had spent about 45, and given that he got to answer next to no serious question, he didn’t know what to expect; his fears told him he was out. But not him, one of the ladies was. He got the job! Of course, there is no fair policy that says an employment of two must be male and female; in case you’re starting to think that one of those ladies inevitably gave way for Sammie. That would have happened on recruitment day already. They even got her back months later when an emergency opening surfaced.
The moral of the story: every little counts. Even amateur blogging can make all the difference on judgement day.