This is the continuation of Chukwuma Ngozi (Not real name) story. She’s  a graduate of English & Literary studies/History & International Relations (combined Honours), UNN. To read the first part of her story, click here


So I had asked two questions during the interview; ofcourse, after they were done with their questions. First, I asked if there were chances of promotion and how the salary schedule was like. So one of the interviewer did well to break down everything to me. I was to train for three months within which I will be paid a certain amount, then after the three months training I will go for an oral exam which is called “sign off”. You get signed off and you then become a legit staff, collecting a certain amount, ofcourse higher than that of the training. So I started training; they told me the store to train and on that faithful day, I walked in.

It is important to note that prior to that day, I have never been to any Chicken Republic store. I actually hardly go to eatries generally though. I walked in and met a colleague of mine already there. I had seen her when we came for documentation and she was quite friendly as she started briefing me on what she had been told. Then a young lady came out, she introduced herself and her colleague and opted to take us round… Wow! It was interesting! Then she said we would start from the cook section but that will be on the following day, we should just observe for that first day. I was really excited watching what was going on, how they cooked and fried and how everybody went about their own duties, I came back with lots of stories for Piro my paddy.

I was told I needed to pass the cook section before I go to the next, which was fryers, then to cashier, then host before managerials. “Hmmm, it’s going to be a long ride then” I told myself, “I better start enjoying the process”. So I relaxed and continued following up. We need to stand for long hours when we work because it is a quick service restaurant, and I remember I wasn’t able to then, Soft girl like me, I will seat many times. Then Seun will tease me, “Madam, they will soon say you can’t do this work o” Laughs… I will tell her “I cannot come and kill myself, I didn’t do roadside prostitution before, so there is no how I would have learnt how to stand for long hours, If they call me, I will explain… Na sit I sit, I no kill person… I’m human na”. We would laugh. She later saw reasons with me, and instead of being hard on herself, trying to stand all through, she learnt to sit when she was tired.

Times passed, days flew, I became acquainted with the team members and they taught me all I should know because of the kind of rapport I had with them. I came back totally exhausted most times and my paddy will ask if I can really continue with the job. He knew how much I loved my freedom and how much of that I needed to give up for the work, plus other stress, but I love challenges, plus the work experience was fun so I was gradually loving the job.

More trainee managers started resuming. I met Essiet whom I knew then as Henry. He wasn’t too friendly from the start, always hard his mask on and I wondered why; an answer I still haven’t gotten till today. I never knew he could be any fun, he really looked boring to me at first. Meanwhile, Stephen and I stayed in the same family house, so we would come home and share our experiences since we were in different stores. Then he complained about one of our managers there, how he completely chases clout with his signature. I went and I thank God that I wasn’t there. And after the team members in my store expatiated on the manager and how much of a terror he was, I promised myself not to go any close. I secretly thanked God for the kind of managers I had in my store.

I can remember our area manager, now regional once suggesting I resume in that store then… Omo! I nearly died that day… If you saw my face… The lady that came for OSC (a form of inspection) noticed and alerted my area manager who told me I could continue in my store. Worse still, I had an opportunity to meet that manager and the first impression was crazy. We didn’t speak, he came for a semi- inspection, I kept hearing his voice, I wondered why he talked so loud, shouting on top of his voice. Me that hates shouting with all my life. You son’t need to shout, Like you can’t raise your voice on me. In fact, there is how loud you will talk in a serene environment and I will feel you are becoming a nuisance. I love soft spoken people, maybe because I am soft spoken myself.

The store I was training for soon opened, even before we finished and we had to resume in it. I never knew I will ever have need to cram in my life. I was very much used to reading to understand, but that wasn’t going to be enough during my training because I had to cram measurements and all that. It was really a big challenge for me… But you know what they say; you can always do whatever you put your mind to. I had to force myself… It made me read every single day so I don’t forget.

I passed and was moved to fryers. Naturally, I am a very outspoken person, very inquisitive, and at the same time, as sensitive and emotional as I may be. I am very logical too. This simply means that I am going to come off as very argumentative, always asking questions and stubborn because I am not just going to do what you want, just because you want me to. You will need to explain why, and your why better be reasonable to me, or else… You will have a hard time getting me to do it. And before now, I had run lots of businesses on my own so the part of taking direct instructions wasn’t something I was used to. I was very much used to saying my mind and saying things exactly the way I felt them, and God probably knew this so he sent me into the hands of a very patient man who stood in more of like a guardian angel. As my RM (Restaurant manager) till today, I am yet to see whose maturity equals his in people management and I didn’t waste time to take him as a mentor in that area. He wasn’t perfect but that aspect of people management, I would grade him A+. Oga will be telling me the rules of the company, I will be arguing with him seriously o, questioning the company rules and why it was the way it was and instead of to get annoyed, he will just be laughing and play along until I get tired and give in.

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He conducted lots of training and insisted we must think with our heads not his. I remember how I brought issues I was confused about how to solve and instead of solving it for me or telling me what to do, he will calm me down and get me to start thinking. Then he will leave me with a word, “I won’t always be there with you, so I need you to develop a deep thinking pattern that will help you solve issues whether I am there or not.” He insisted I brought solutions instead of problems to him, and that, I did. He understood I was in a learning process and would likely make mistakes and he created room for my mistakes. He made me very much at ease with the work despite how stressful it was and all I could do was look forward to the next day.

To me he was a friend, very encouraging and accommodating, he carried everyone along so I could say I had a very soft landing and I can say I was having fun. But God needed to through the work build me to be a better disciple. He needed to even test me to know how much I could even believe in him. Manager Emeka soon left, he had to go open another store. Wow, it was really a sad news for us all. Some cried, others wished to go with him. Normal me, I wasn’t feeling it yet, I didn’t have reasons yet, I just felt bad and I knew I would miss him. But them the next regime came in and gave me every reason to miss him…

To be continued in the coming post. In the coming post, I will talk about my experiences with the new regime that came in after Manager Emeka and other experiences I had as a working staff… Meanwhile, what are your experiences with life after NYSC? How do you feel after reading this piece? What else will you like me to talk about? Leave your comment in the comment section below, and we will be glad to engage you.


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