So, you know my background before you read my tale regarding my experience in the corporate world, I will fill you in on that. Don’t be quick to judge me, hear me out!
I studied Mechanical Engineering from University of Ibadan which was supposed to be a 5-year-course but trust ASUU and their numerous strikes, I ended up completing the program at about year 7. I cannot complain because I was not the only one affected but my parents (bless them) struggled to pay my tuition so the pain was more intense when my graduation seemed like a mirage. We survived and my assurance to them was that I will alleviate them when I get a job. I had dreams, I was going to work in Shell or Chevron or even NNPC. I knew I had potentials; it was a matter of time or so I thought.
I was 19 years old when I started my studies in Ibadan (could not start earlier due to lack of funds), graduated with Second Class Upper and was posted to Jos for my NYSC at the age of 26 years. By the time I completed my NYSC at the age of 27 years, I could not apply for a lot of jobs. I was weeded out by age, by ethnic quota and a lot of criteria which were beyond my control. The true reality of getting into the corporate world was too bitter a pill to swallow. I wanted to do the right thing and get the right job but I also have my parents to assist. So, like some advised me to do, I changed the only factor I could control which was my age. Sounds familiar? Don’t be quick to judge me but I had to survive!
I tried unsuccessfully to get into the oil industry but the ethnic quota (which I could not change) never worked in my favor but I finally got a job in the bank. Most banks were insisting on maximum age of 25 and I was 28 years at the time but had to change it to 24 years to qualify. So, I successfully made it and got the job. My mum cried the evening that she received the good news. She knew that there was hope. While I held her hands as she prayed for me, I made a silent vow to myself to fight against the age limit restriction when I get to the top management in any company.
I worked hard in all departments that I was assigned to and met more hard-working people who also changed their ages to get into the bank. I discovered there was no added advantage if one was younger or older. Working hard and delivering on the set target has nothing to do with age. So why do corporate companies subject people to such irresponsible acts of changing their ages to qualify? Even those companies that claim to follow the global best practices?
I am currently a senior executive staff and during a HR strategic session last week, I got engaged in an intense discussion regarding the same issue – age. I knew a lot did the same but why continue on same vicious cycle of age restriction? Age, ethnicity, marital status or religion should be eradicated from Resumes/CVs. This is not in line with the global best practices in corporate organizations and only provide avenue for encouraging deception in workplaces.
As I write this paragraph, I know that the age argument I started was just a “drip, drip” and I need much more “drips, drips” to make an impact. I know I am not alone on this but I believe a change can start with a person, so here I go pouring them out on my diary and sharing with you!
– David Acham
P.S : You are welcome to share your career experiences on the Corporate World Diaries and actual names may be edited based on your preference. Please send to email@example.com.