I’m not a blogger, in fact I’m not sure anyone will ever read this. This is my story, a story which I’m sure relates to others who like me came up in a system of false promises only to find out that the world we live in now is different from what we were told. Oftentimes you read posts on how the underdog not only survived but succeeded in the face of tragedy and hardship. Sadly, these posts are few and far between, yet are still more than those which tell the reality of most graduates our economy continues to churn out.
Due to the economic situation in Zimbabwe, most companies have had to close down thus shrinking the available opportunities for the productive age group. What this means to the average man on the street is that there are no jobs. Most job vacancies tend to require applicants to have 2 years experience yet there are few to none entry level positions available. The pool of candidates vying for these positions include a mix of recent graduates and experienced yet unemployed people. The few companies which do have graduate trainee programmes stipulate applicants must be 25 years and below. Unfortunately this means that for those who finish college or university at an age greater than 25, the opportunity is already missed. One must then ask where the experience required by employers is to be attained.
You apply for jobs as a fuel attendant or cashier but employers tell you you are too qualified for the post. You then try to apply for those which are deemed to be appropriate but again employers tell you you have insufficient experience. At this point, one is forced to look to the informal sector for the chance to make a living. The dynamics at home change. Once the pride and joy of the family, the graduate child becomes a burden, another mouth to feed. To the outside world you are now just a statistic, a victim of the economic situation in Zimbabwe. On the inside a part of you dies, the part that believed education could liberate you from poverty, the part that believed you could become more than just another statistic.
From graduating with a first class honours or an upper second class honours to buying and selling cosmetics, buying maize from small scale farmers and reselling to GMB, network marketing and even selling airtime or jiggies (10¢ chips) by the side of the road. The fall is great.
A friend of mine recently bumped into a former high school mate who didn’t go to college. The mate remarked that graduates and non-graduates were all the same now and mocked her because she has now resorted to supplying shebeens in Mbare, one of the oldest African townships with opaque beer from Delta and yet she holds a degree in Psychology with an upper second class honours.
With time you begin to ostracize yourself from your friends and your circle becomes smaller. You watch as those who chose medicine, law and engineering get jobs, buy cars, settle down and build families and careers and at this point you begin to realise that maybe you chose wrong. You blame the government for the economy, the economy for the lack of jobs, and your parents for not having sent you abroad or for not having local connections which could have helped secure you a job. But most importantly you blame yourself for having spent 4 years studying towards a career path which doesn’t offer you any opportunities in your nation.
I’m a recent graduate in Accounting Science and I’m turning 26 in August. The thought that I’m nearing the graduate trainee age ceiling scares me. Ultimately all I can do is continue to further my education and hope one day my story becomes that of the underdog who beat all the odds to build a career and leave a legacy which shows that passion and hard work do indeed pay off in the long run…
Source: Tariro, via email