Who you know vs. what you know

So as you know I have been searching for a job. In a way it is good for me to go through this experience. Since I have got here, a few people have asked me advice about looking for a job, I have passed them onto some agencies who I felt could help, but the truth is I was quite fortunate when I came here, I was in the right place at the right time. I was also looking for a foot into the doors of Ghana so I was just looking for anything. However, after being here for 4 years, the economy being the way it is and now that I am looking for the next level up, here the real work begins because I am not looking to just settle for anything this time. So now, I can really give the benefit of my experience.
So right now, Olam have paid me off, three months and we can both forget I was ever there. I have paid up my mortgage to the end of August, with some money tucked away for that rainy day which could take me to September/October if I cut back on eating, bathing and any type of leisure. It’s going to be tough but well I have no choice but to do it, thankfully daddy should be here next month so eating and bathing will be sorted out somewhat….lol
The first thing you will find out here, is that people are selfish. They have every right to be. They have their lives and their families to think of so you are the last on their pecking order. When it comes to food and to some extent board (so far as you don’t overstep your welcome), they are open. Anything else, there are very few who have time for you. Somebody sent me something on BBM, it said ‘don’t tell people your problems, 20% are happy you’re in that situation and the other 80% just don’t care’. He was right, the only thing is I considered this person my friend and I had just told him my problem in the hopes that he would send my CV around. He didn’t, all I got was that message. I read between the lines, and I haven’t spoken to him since.
My ‘friends’ at the last place of work, I use the term loosely. They call me from time to time and have all said they will look out for any job for me, (after asking me how to do a pivot table). I know that when they call it is more just to be nosey than genuine concern. I don’t hold it against them, its life, and sometimes life sucks but I just have to make sure that I don’t give up.
When I first found myself unemployed the person who actually stepped up was someone I had not met before. A friend of a friend, we had been talking on the phone but never actually met face to face. I didn’t tell him what was up at first, but one day I thought, I have to tell this guy the truth. The first thing he asked when he called was “how was work?” and somebody in employment usually talks about their day. I said ‘just fine’, and it was starting to sound weird. He took my CV and sent it to the Netherlands Embassy. I got an interview almost immediately. The first interview was great, I answered all the questions and they actually sounded like I knew what I was talking about. It came down to me and another person, unfortunately the other person got the job because they felt she had more networks to companies, institutes and government agencies. I was quite devastated I had to admit. The job was for a Senior Trade and Information Officer, basically partnering up Ghanaian Institutions with those in the Netherlands. It is exactly what I wanted to do and this was an opportunity to learn the basics but alas it wasn’t meant to be.
I’ve visited a couple of Agencies. Agencies are really the most frustrating means of finding a job. I will go through them one by one and give you my experience with them, maybe someone else might have a different opinion, but to be honest, from my experience, I am quite disgusted with most of them.
1. PLATO Consult – The worst of the worst. They are located in East Legon at the A&C Mall behind the place which sells doughnuts and food. Two ladies who were busy doing their make-up barely noticed that I walked in. For them, whether they have clients or not, whether they find employment for people or not, they are not very bothered. When eventually grab someone’s attention, it was like pulling teeth. I explained my situation and I might as well have spoken to the air. I had to ask, or should I say beg them to accept my CV. They would not accept it from my pen-drive, I had to send it by email even though I was in front of them. I sent it on my blackberry (just like a girl guide, I came prepared). That was the end of that. I went back a few months later, just to remind them I was around. I spoke to the same girl, she asked me if I had registered. I said yes, and she said “if something comes up which requires your skills, we’ll call you”. In other words, get out and don’t come back. I don’t have much faith in them calling back, it is now month two and still haven’t heard a word. She couldn’t even remember that I had registered and from her body language she had no intention. So that was a waste of time.

2. B.J. Consult or Antal International – I am not sure which is which, I had two different cards when I spoke to two different people in the same office. I can’t believe that they are supposed to be an international organization. They bring shame to its international organization. An absolute disgrace, I can’t believe that they are affiliated to any company outside this country. I was given the number of one of the gentlemen who worked there Ransford Oboh. He’s a real piece of work and in my opinion, a drain on the company. I called once, he said he was out of office, I called again, he was doing something else. So I called a third time, he reminded me of the office hours. So I said that I had called him several times and he was unavailable during said office hours, but I don’t think that he understands my urgency, so if he could not help me, could he please direct me to someone who can. He then had a go at me, said I was rude and slammed the phone down on me. Very professional. He called back a while later to apologise for slamming the phone down he could understand my position, but still felt I was rude. I still feel that your an ass but who am I, just one girl looking for a job.

3. B.J. Consult or Antal International. – I have broken this down into two parts, as they are two offices in one and because of the two equally devastating experiences with them. A waste of time AND a waste of money. I spoke to a guy called Samuel Sowah, he told me that they were moving offices and that I should call back the following week. I don’t know what the prerequisite for the role of a recruitment consultant is, but being proactive I assume is not one of them. They robbed me of 40ghs and made me sign a disclaimer that if I get a job through them they are entitled to my one and a half month’s salary. It doesn’t matter though as it is very unlikely that they will look for a job for me in any event. After taking my money and again had to email my CV, nobody called me to speak to me about what I am looking for, what are my salary expectations, not a dickie. I got a call about 3 weeks later, I was told that they are putting my CV through for a brand manager position. That was the last I heard from them. A complete bunch of jokers.

4. Mon – Tran, in Adjinganor there’s a blue and red sign board which directs you there. Nice office, the lady was friendly enough. She did take my CV, and did warn me that she did not have senior positions, so I am not surprised I haven’t heard from them. They did acknowledge that they had received my CV, pleasant experience but I have little faith in finding a job with them.

5. Synergy Placement. Run by my friend. It is usually a 25ghs registration fee but due to my situation, his gave me a pro bono service. I have to say this, as much as I love my friend, his client base is looking more on the lower end of the ladder, however his dad is the HR manager at unilever, and in theory I have a job there if I want it at the end of the month. The only problem with this position is that the role is for a demand planner. I used to manage demand planners, and now I am going to do this job, it really isn’t filling my heart with joy. The second problem is the pay. With a salary of 24k a year, this is the salary I was on when I first came into the country and half the pay I was on in the last job. It works out to £9,000 a year, barely enough to pay my mortgage and do my hair once a month. Yes it is a step in the door, but 4 years ago, I could make that sacrifice. Now, I have responsibilities, and I want to be able to go to London once a year. This salary would barely afford a trip to the beach. What I don’t want is to go into a job just for the sake of it, and then use all my energy trying to find a new job. This is what I did the last time and it got me here, I don’t want to do this again. There’s a step backwards but this is way too far, I’d rather go back to England and work in Primark at least with that pay I could afford to come here once a year. Above all else, and more importantly, so what, I haven’t got 20 years in supply chain, or 30 years in marketing, I have been working in one capacity or another since the age of 16, is he really trying to say that this is all a waste, am I destined to work alongside peers who have barely made it out of school? REALLY??? The more I talk about this position, the more offended I get. My pride simply allows me to say yes to this job, I pray my God shines that light before the end of the month.

6. Jobsinghana – I went to the office, nice guy called Richard runs the place, but without talking too much because he was a nice guy, it is very Ghanaian. He did say he was going to forward my CV to a contact in Supply Chain, this was 6 weeks ago. The best suggestion is to apply through the website. The website is a bit hit and miss, but I have had two rejections and one company has come back to say I was shortlisted. The websites do beat the face to face interaction. Some companies such as Vodafone advertise directly through their website, others go through jobsinghana.

From the experience I have had thus far, for one, it is definitely who you know. The most promising opportunity I have had is through this friend who passed my CV onto the Dutch embassy. Secondly, I would go through the websites. Unfortunately the Ghanaian’s have taken the golden age of technology ten steps too far and don’t bother with the face-to-face interaction. I don’t even think they have the skills to have a face-to-face interaction. Customer service is a big fat ZERO, so to save time, money and frustration, get a modem, google ‘jobs ghana’ and go through them applying for every single job you feel you can do, the rest is a game of lotto, the more you apply the higher the probabilities.
So I have switched on the generator, plugged in my modem, and get back to my job search.

Better still, do what I didn’t do and am trying to do now and that is to come with a plan, bring some capital, and run your own business, you will have more control over the corporate bullshit that goes on around you if you are the one in charge.
Until the next time

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About efiasworld

The black Bridget Jones and an English woman in Ghana
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5 Responses to Who you know vs. what you know

  1. cyril says:

    Hi, try this agency Axis Human Capital. http://www.axishcl.com they could be helpful.

    Bye

    Cyril

  2. Dee Reynolds says:

    Hi Efia,
    Im hoping all is well and that the job hunt is being productive. I really hope you get something or rediscover your passion and become a multi-millionaire.
    Dee

  3. Steph says:

    The recruitment agencies really are a waste of time. I tried Antal and the particular Samuel Sowah and some u listed incl Axis(Cyril). All before I came to Gh and ur better off “recruiting urself”. The response level is crap yet these ppl are running a business / yes how they afford to stay in business I really don’t know.

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