In September of 2012, I received a link from a colleague of mine. When I opened it, it was to find that I had been fired and that the airline for which I had worked for seven years had gone belly up.
My first reaction was to laugh; I had watched the carrier I once was proud to serve on become a shadow of itself. The airline had fallen on hard times, and in her search of an investor, had gotten in bed with NoMidas.
I hoped and believed things would work out okay – I had never witnessed a redundancy, and I was sure such was not my portion. The news article the link led to said otherwise.
So by the 10th of September I was out of work, and out five months’ salaries which the airline owed me; there was no nest egg to fall back on.
I did not mind much. I had a superior training than most in the industry, I had valuable experience, I was a people person, a consummate professional and not too bad looking. I had a lot going for me, so I knew it was only a matter of time before an airline snatched me up.
Days turned to weeks and weeks to months and I did a re-evaluation. Okay, maybe not an airline, but a customer service company.
I went for a few interviews and, apart from the one airline, I was not impressed enough to want to work with any of them. I even called to cancel an interview.
My brother-in-law had set me up with a friend of his and, when I called, I spoke with the manager.
“What do you think you can do for us?” He asked me.
“What exactly do you do, sir?” I asked hoping this would guide my answer.
“Go online and check out our company and give me a call back,” he almost snapped at me. That conversation we had was the first time I was hearing the name of the company.
I did as I was bid and they turned out to be bulk sms providers. I could work with that, but then they had offices at Lekki and in Abuja; I live in Lagos and on the other side of town from Lekki.
Knowing they would not pay me enough to make the daily travel to the office worth it, I called in and cancelled the interview appointment.
People said I was holding out for an aviation job. Maybe they were right, maybe they were not, but what such talk did was make me retreat from people.
Besides, providing answers to “how far, anything yet?” Or “ol boy, how you dey manage?” had lost its novelty. The result was that a lot of friends lost me, but then I made a few good friends.
Mama once told me that I inherited her lot in life which was a calling to be there for people without the same people being there for me in return. On that day, she told me never to complain about the unfairness of life because my help would come from the least expected places. Back then I wondered what she was on about, but in 2013 I fully understood.
For all my friends – and they know where they fall – I am truly grateful.
When I heard about a start up airline recruiting, I dropped off my CV same as my friends and erstwhile colleagues. I did not hear back from them for months, but I heard they had hired some people – people I knew.
It took seven months for me to be called for an interview, one week to hear back that I was successful, four months to be offered a provisional employment, two weeks to complete my training program and three months after to be offered a proper employment. The important thing to me was that it happened.
In the period while I waited to get a job, love found me. She stood by me and supported me. She proved beyond any doubt that she was on my team.
Two weeks ago as I got dressed for my second first day on the job, I watched her get dressed for her office party and I knew that I would be fine; that we would be fine.
2013 has come and gone. 2014 looms ahead of me, but because of love – love of God, love of family, and love of the job – I know I will be alright. That we will be alright.
In the past I have made resolutions to be a better person, resolutions I promptly broke. This time I do not make a resolution. Why make a resolution for a year when life is lived day-by-day? The one thing I will try to do going forward though, is to live my life for me. After all, today is the first day of the rest of my life.
PS: This piece was written from the heart, and from the same heart I pray that the lessons we have learnt coming here will guide us through 2014 – and the rest of our lives.
Happy New Year!!!
"Franque is in aviation, which by the way is not his job, just a lifestyle. If he ever kept a diary it would read like his articles will. Unfortunately he doesn't. Scratch that. He didn't.AIRtiquette is a walk in his shoes. Since regular isn't in his vocabulary, brace yourself for a bit of airwalking!" Follow @franque_521 on twitter.