18 September 2006

Directions to Lagos? Take the first exit on I635

I have always suspectd that oyinbo people are not very sharp, and today a recruiter provided more evidence to support my suspicions. I got a call this morning from a recruiter, a male recruiter. 'I found your profile on dice/monster/careerbuilder', 'I have a position for a developer', yada yada yada. The job description is a perfect match for me and that fact finally wakes me up. He asks for the usual; rates, word version of my resume, references, etc which I email to him. Now with my references, by default I give names, designation and email addresses, I don't give phone numbers except I am asked to. I don't give phone numbers becausue I know some one will see a phone number and ask a silly question e.g. 'Do y'all speak English in Nigeria'?

He emails me back, the position is out of town and the client will most probably want a face to face interview, I am open to travel? Sure, if you are paying. He also wants to know if I could provide him with at least one local reference. He wouldn't mind calling a reference in Nigeria as long as they can speak English!!! Imagine!!! I almost blew a head gasket. Perhaps I should just buy a crystal ball and quit looking for work. Why are these people like this, thats how one was asking the other day if I635 woud take you to Lagos!!! This yeye man spent like 30 mins with me on the phone and we had exchanged a couple of emails, all in Englsh, why would he think my Nigerian references wouldn't speak English? After I calmed down I tried to see things from his point of view. This guy probably comes across a lot of Chinese and Indian developers fresh off the boat from their home countries who develop in .NET, Java, PHP, etc and it is not uncommon that they would provide references who don't speak English. Then again, this guy was probably born and raised in the very spot in which his office desk now located. The very desk at which he is currently seated asking yeye questions via email. Come to think of it though this our dear president who likes making speeches abroad isn't really helping matters. Anyone listening to Baba Iyabo speaking his heavily accented English might just think we speak some other language in Nigeria. And the fact that I speak good English doesn't necessarily mean that my people back home do.

I guess because I am from Nigeria, and we are pretty popular on the continent I am mistaking the continent for the planet and assuming everyone knows that our president is making a real ass of himself trying to succeed himself in the upcoming elections. I guess I should just get over myself and move on. It did take me like 4 hours to calm down sufficiently to send a reply to the guy's email. At the end of the day I really need to break into the US job market as soon as I can. I did educate him though on the Nigerian lingua franca, I told him everyone speaks English well in the country, we where colonied by the British, and if he had issues I was sure the American embassy in Nigeria would be more that happy to provide an interpreter!

7 comments:

Ib said...

Good luck with the interview. I get upset too at that english speaking part but then again you can't really blame them for their ignorance, they just don't know better

omodudu said...

isnt it funny that this people tend to understand the asian accents pretty well but go like 'come again, come again'with the African accent, hmmm i find that fascinating considering the way asians speak...its aiight though.

songreach said...

"May today there be peace within you. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be."

....back to sender...quote sits in front of my desk.

I will pray for you today.

adefunke said...

@ songreach - Thanks, I will appreciate that.

Adunni said...

Good luck with the interview.

Pilgrimage to Self said...

Most Americans think there is only one country in the world - North America!

skanbroy said...

I just do not see the purpose of taking offence at an innocent remark by a hapless recruiter. Nigeria by any stretch is not a frontline country, how do you expect this guy to assume that every body in Nigeria spoke engish.
BTW, you are equaly guilty of the same ignorance, because just like Nigeria, India(that you derisively made reference to) was also an english colony and everybody there speaks english.
Please enough of this empty ego, we are not smarter or better than most people in this beautiful world.