Wednesday, July 22, 2015

THE JOB HUNTER

The job hunter
     Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon 

When you finish your education, your goals in life are changed. You want to employ the skills you’ve gained at a university or college and make a good living in your field. In return for your hard work and investment, you need a good job that pays you well.


Fayaz, a fresh university graduate, was among those hardworking and honest students who depend only on their skills and knowledge. He, too, like other hardworking students, struggles to find a job to support his family and himself. Getting a job becomes even more difficult in a country where there is not much value placed on people’s degrees, skills, and knowledge. 

Fayaz lived in Sindh province of Pakistan where getting a job was not easy thing. There was hardly any merit to the province. In societies like this, you either must have a good connection with a political person, a landlord, or a good sum of money through which you can bribe officers and purchase a job. 

In 2013, when Fayaz completed his degree, the trend of nepotism and recommendation system was common. It has been like that for decades. Any merit to be found was only in commission exams like FPSC, SPSC, and through NTS tests. That is why he had resigned to applying for Sindh government positions. He had applied for thousands of jobs in Sindh government, but they had conducted the tests improperly, and never announced the results. The government tests were tests only in name and they distributed the jobs on the bases of nepotism, recommendation, and ministers’ quotas. Many officers even sold jobs. 

A political party had been dominating the province for years. The government would advertise their vacancies, and thousands of jobless people would apply, but only those candidates who had relations with landlords or politicians would ever get in. Many graduates moved to Karachi, the business hub of the country, to try to find a private employment. Many others left Sindh and went to Punjab, and some even left the country and went abroad. 

Fayaz would look for job ads in the newspapers and apply. Many times he passed the written tests, but failed in the interviews. The candidates who pass the written exams must have the recommendation of someone in the government, like a minister, to get the job. Once, Fayaz passed the written test and the typing test in FIA, but failed in the interview. His wife Sara said to him, “Why don’t you go to the landlord of our village? He is the minister of education. He’ll do something for you.”

“I don’t think he will. He would never want the villagers to be officers. Don’t you know what he told his farmers? He said to them that if he gave the villagers jobs, then who would look after his fields? It is useless to go to him.”

“Look, Fayaz. As they say, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’. You never go to the landlord and never cheat on exams. Look at your village students, even they have got jobs! And you still keep teaching on only chickenfeed!”

“The students’ parents have been flattering the landlord for many years, they’ve cheated on the tests. Above all, they’ve bribed the clerks. I cannot do this. I’d rather be jobless than do all that.”


“As you wish, but if I were you, if I could speak English like you, I would do wonders. You are too foolish. What is the harm in flattering the landlord? Almost everyone in this village does so.”
“You want me to make fun of my knowledge, skills, and efforts toward my education? If I have to go to the landlord, why did I ever go to university? I shouldn’t have bothered with a degree and just flattered the landlord and bribed someone else!”

Fayaz believed in hard work paying off -- that sooner or later, a job well done would always bear fruit. Once, while in the library searching the Internet for jobs, he found the following literary sketch on a blog, RizwanAhmedMemon.blogspot.com:

In the Search of a Job
by Rizwan Ahmed Memon
Traveling to different cities,
Appearing at different tests and interviews,
A fresh graduate from university--
Tried very hard to get a job.

He studied at the library for hours,
And read the job ads in the newspapers.
Hoping to find vacancies, he turned page after page.
Days went by, he kept looking for a job.

Sometimes he passed written tests,
But failed in interviews.
Sometimes his knowledge worked,
But his luck didn’t.

Sometimes his spirit
Struggled and dwindled.
Sometimes he collected himself
And kept searching.

He had a belief
That hard work bears fruit,
That the God’s mill grinds slow but sure.
So he tried and tried and tried.


As he was reading the sketch, he felt as if the writer had written it just for him. “Oh, yes God’s mill grinds slow but sure. Perhaps the author of this sketch is also suffering like me. He must have been through the same situation,” he murmured.


He thought for a while that he was not the only candidate with a university degree, that there were thousands of them. Many could only get jobs by hook or by crook. “I want to be one of those who find work through fair means,” he said. Fayaz went home with two printed ads in his hand.

“So you have found some vacancies?” asked his wife.


“Yea,” he said mildly.

“What department? And is there any test fee? I mean will you have to pay a challan in the bank?”

“Yes. I have to, each post has a test fee of 500. And courier charges will be 220 for each. In total, 1440.”


“And what will happen then? No answer as usual?”

“It is not the Sindh government. They will conduct the tests. I will keep applying. I am sure one day an appointment letter will come.”


“You earn 7000 rupees. With that, you spend half of it on ads and couriers and test fees. Every month we need to take a loan from the neighbors.”


“I understand. But see, I can’t just sit at home like this.”


“You’d better stop applying and spend all your salary on paying debts.”


“Sara, God’s mill grinds slow, but sure.”


“Oh, then let’s see when it grinds for you,” replied Sara sarcastically.


Fayaz kept on his struggle. Only the future will tell whether he gets a job or not.


Fayaz applied for the posts he saw in the ads. His wait for a reply about testing ended after about three months when his friend Mumtaz, who was a shopkeeper, called him and said, “Hey, Fayaz, two letters have arrived for you. One is from Hyderabad and the second is form Islamabad.” 


“Oh, thank you for telling me. I will take them in half an hour,” replied Fayaz. Fayaz gave his friend’s shop address, which was a bookstore, as the postal address, and his letters and slips were sent over.


Fayaz took the letters and opened them. One of them was for the NAB test and second was for the SPSC. His NAB test was on the 6th of June, 2015, and SPSC test was on the 16th.


Fayaz got a passing score on the NAB test. A passing score was not enough, however, because there were many candidates who scored higher than him. Sara said to him, “Fayaz, be wise. Take my advice and go to the landlord this time. The landlord always says to the villagers, ‘Apply for the posts and then come to me.’ Fayaz, you apply, but you don’t go to the landlord.”


Fayaz listened to Sara silently. He was so disappointed and sad. In the evening, he went for a walk alone. “Where is the problem? In me, my luck or my hard work?” he thought to himself. “I am not perfect in every subject. Maybe I am not worthy of the position. I might not be working hard enough. Should I go to the landlord?” he pondered. While coming back home, he decided that he would go to the landlord for recommendation.

On the next week, as the landlord returned from Karchi, Fayaz went to meet him at his bungalow in Larkana. There was a huge crowd, including young people, such as Fayaz, who were carrying documents and resumes with them.

Everyone kept on waiting for the minister, the landlord, but there was no portent of him for hours. The poor people just waited, waited, and waited. Fayaz asked one of the servants, “Can you tell where Sahab has gone and when will he return?” In Sindhi language, “Sahab” is used for a very honorable person.

“Brother, Sahab has gone to visit his fields in the village. I can’t tell exactly when he will be back. You can wait with everyone else,” replied the servant.

Fayaz was getting tired and bored, so he started talking with a man sitting next to him. “Since when have you been coming to Sahab?” asked Fayaz.

“It has been almost four years,” answered the man.

“You are here to get a job, right?”

“Yes.”

“What does Sahab tell you?”

“For two years he had been telling everyone that there was a ban on jobs from Federal Government. As soon as the ban was lifted, he would give the jobs. Even though there is no ban now. He just consoles everyone with his words.”

“Then why do you keep coming back to him? When he doesn’t do anything for you.”

“Sahab’s nature is that if one implores for years, then he gives any job. What I have observed that he is a moody man. In his good mood he has mercy on people. However, mostly he has no time for poor and jobless people like us. He gives time and jobs to the people of his own interest.”

They both were still talking, when a luxurious car entered with the guards surrounding it. All people stood up as the minister got out of the car. Greeting people, he raised his hand and went inside the main gate of his house. The man told Fayaz that Sahab would get fresh then will come out.

Fayaz felt hungry as he was there all day, and it was also getting late. Despite this, he did not stop from waiting for the minister like everyone else. Unfortunately, the minister had fallen asleep in his air-conditioned room. Even so, the poor, compelled people, with great hopes, still waited for him outside his premises.

Finally, the minister came out. Everyone stood up. Sahab told the crowd in a tad loud voice, “It is getting late. There is still tomorrow. I’ll be here, so come tomorrow.” After his announcement, he got into his car and they drove off. In the end, no one talked to him regarding their concerns.

Fayaz was so surprised at his treatment to the poor men. Feeling exhausted and disappointed, Fayaz went home. Upon returning, he told Sara his encounter with the Sahab.

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