I have tried everything to find a job. I tried job search websites, employment agencies and I have failed. But I discovered I was searching for the wrong thing all along. What am I supposed to look for?
I honestly thought it was going to be easy. Pack my bags. Check. Pack my graduate degree. Check. Take the next flight home. Check. And find a job…
I was wrong.
Yes, I have met all the people I missed. Some now have kids yet others passed away. A couple graduated from college. But others are now bedridden, having caught the deadly virus, HIV.
It’s good to be home, but it’s harder to find a job in Zimbabwe.
It’s now two months since I came back. I have visited my family and friends. And I have eaten all the traditional foods that I longed for. I now rent my own home in a slightly quiet neighborhood. But I still don’t have a job. And that’s scary.
When my wife and I arrived in Zimbabwe, we had enough money to last us only three months. We were given the money by some friends and family in the US. Little did we know that in Zimbabwe you have to set aside money for bribes or you will spend everything you have on unnecessary and even unlawful finds.
But to all the people who gave us the little they had when we left the US, thank you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. In ChiShona we say, kusatenda huroyi – being ungrateful is witchcraft. And we also add, mugare kure nemoto– don’t sit close to the fire because we don’t want you to burn.
When we landed in Zimbabwe, we didn’t have a bed, a cooking stove, a refrigerator, a couch, a TV or cups, and plates but now we do. We didn’t have an apartment but now we do. My wife bought a few essentials and modestly furnished the apartment.
I am afraid I am still unemployed. This is why
My kids are happy because they can now watch their educational videos and listen to their favorite music. Currently, Don Moen’s I Just Want to Be Where You Are from his album God Will Make a Way. And of course, Hillsong’s Yahweh.
Every morning, I wake up to the echoes of, “We look to Yahweh, Yahweh. Our hope is Yahweh, Yahweh.” Or, “He will be my guide hold me closely to His side. With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way.” And this makes me wonder, Is God trying to tell me something through my kids’ song choice?
I haven’t fully processed these thoughts because I am still too distracted by anxiety and fear. Worried about what my family will eat at the end of this month. Thinking about what will I do if I don’t get a job this month. Wondering if going to the US to study was worth it. Sadly, I don’t have the answers.
I heard someone saying, “They go to the US in search of green pastures and come back with nothing.” “They went to other countries looking for better-paying jobs but when they came back they couldn’t find a job,” another said. As you can see, my family has become the latest proverb for people who go to foreign countries.
It’s true. I’m yet to find a job. It’s been hard, especially after submitting 800+ job applications. I got a call for an interview only once. It’s now two weeks since the interview and I haven’t heard anything from them. I was the only shortlisted candidate, but it’s no guarantee for employment. That makes me shiver in fear.
There’s no employment for me in Zimbabwe, besides at universities because of my Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology. And the only university that was hiring is the one that called me for an interview. All other universities were told not hire new faculty by the government. As you can see, I’m in a fix and I don’t have any options.
I wanted to write about this for a long time but I couldn’t. Because I was afraid and ashamed. Sometimes silence, when you should weep isn’t courage, it’s pride.
[bctt tweet=”Sometimes silence, when you should weep isn’t courage, it’s pride.” username=”@VaSanganyado”]
It’s Hard Finding A Job. This I Why.
I thought I had many options. I applied for a postdoctoral fellowship in China. The professor who was hiring really wanted me to join his group. I was excited and with the help of a translator, I applied for the job. Finally, I had a hope of getting a job.
But not too fast. Last week, I received an email that said, “Hi, Edmond. Can you send a certificate of academic qualifications issued by the Chinese embassy so that I can finish your application.” I called the Chinese embassy; they don’t issue the certificate of academic qualifications.
I really wanted this job, so I checked with the embassy in South Africa, “Sorry. Only for South African citizens.” Again. the consulates in the US only issued the certificate to people who apply in person.
I am complaining about next month’s rent, so I wasn’t going to apply for a US visa and book the next flight to Los Angeles just for a certificate of academic qualification.
I still had other opportunities, so I thought. In the past three months, I have been working on my skilled migration visa to Australia. I wrote an English test, a week before I left the US. In the past two weeks, I have been waking up at 2 am because I was writing competency demonstration reports for the Australia skilled migration visa. I finally finished it on Sunday but I couldn’t finish the process.
They wanted $1550 to complete my assessment.
I thought the assessment fee was only $550. And, someone had given me the $550. So, here I am, $1,000 short, tears welling up in my ears like a punctured water balloon. I didn’t have that kind of money. And I had never borrowed that kind of money.
Another opportunity lost.
Have ever received a regret letter for a job you thought you were a perfect fit? I did, several times and it hurts. It’s very painful.
I lost a postdoctoral fellowship at an environmental analytical chemistry in Canada and another in Arizona. A teaching postdoctoral position at Rutgers. A senior chemist job in Oregon. The list is endless.
Am I wasting my time trying to find a job?
I wish I could encourage myself like David at Ziklag. Or hear God say, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely recover all.” But I don’t hear anything.
Dear, God to tell me to continue searching for a job. Give me an assurance that I will find one.
Is that too much to ask?
All hear every day is; “You’re a failure,” “You’re not good enough,” “You’re wasting your time applying for anything.” And the self-condemnation never ends. Indeed, I have labored in vain. All these applications I sent day and night was for nothing.
So, here I am at a place where I never thought I would be. Where even the most well-intentioned words of encouragement seem like mere platitudes. Where an innocent laughter can invoke bad memories as I am now quick to believe that people are laughing at me.
My pride was destroyed and my confidence now in shambles because I labored in vain and spent my strength for nothing. Surely, hope deferred makes the soul sick.
I am at a place where I honestly think getting a Ph.D. was the worst decision I ever made. And I strongly believe I have failed my family because of my academic ambitions. I thought getting a Ph.D. will make it easier for me to find a job. It actually made it harder.
I don’t know what to believe anymore. Should I hope or should I despair? Should I believe or should I doubt? I’m just here, hanging in there.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring; if we’ll have enough left for rent by the end of this month. Will I find the $1550 required to complete my skilled migration assessment? Am I receiving the Onsager Fellowship for an assistant professor position in Norway I applied for yesterday?
But this much I know; my reward is in God’s hands, he’s the fulfillment of my desires, I asked and he gave me the Holy Spirit, his grace will never take me where it can’t keep me. This may sound cliché but it is true.
“I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the Lord ’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”
– Isaiah 49:4
I am not going to keep on trying to find a job anymore instead, I will look for God’s hand because in it I will find my reward.