If you missed the part 1 of “how to becoming permanent resident in Canada: Dapo Bankole part 1″, you should read it before you continue. This post focuses on what happened next after Dapo became a permanent resident in Canada.
Dapo Bankole is a passionate and thorough IT professional who enjoys solving business problems. He achieves this through the practice of business analysis, project management and digital marketing. Dapo works with business owners who are ready to scale their businesses profitably through an online medium. He is the President of Mopheth Systems Corp., an organization with a primary operating base in Calgary.
Landing in Canada
Arriving in Calgary was one of the easiest things. What’s there in jumping on a plane headed towards Calgary and getting down at YYC? After the euphoria of living in Canada died down within about six weeks of arrival, I saw clearly. Yeah. Our financial resources ran out quickly as a lot happened that took a hit on our funds. So much for being prepared! With this background information, securing a means of livelihood almost immediately was not negotiable. It was a need. Sadly, as prepared as I thought I was, nothing seemed to work.
Well, those who know me would know that I am seldom one of those who wait for success. I just keep moving and success usually catches up with me. For instance, I married into a one bedroom shared apartment right in the middle of a company recession. People thought I was crazy and many were sincere in telling me to at least postpone my wedding. My wife and I thought otherwise and we moved on – literally without a job. At least, of what use is a job that wasn’t paying you salaries? A job that owed about six months of salary?
But wait, wedding was on Saturday and just as we were preparing to travel to Akure, the Monday after the wedding, for honeymoon, I got a call for job interview from a company I never knew existed and for a job I never applied for. Well, I got the job and started a few weeks after my wedding. This was just God at work.
Any Job At All
I set out to secure a job – any job at all. And I meant it. If it is not against the law of the land and it is not against the law of God, I was ready for it. My concern was just to feed my family and keep them happy. Every other thing mattered less. Part of our plan was to for my wife to get back in School in support of her passion. This means she could not initially work. I therefore applied for all manner of jobs. The list is long – construction worker, garden tender, restaurant worker, call center, commission sales agent, grocery clerk, petrol attendant, plane loader at the airport etc. Many didn’t understand my drive. I needed to take care of my family – that’s all.
It looks like nothing wasn’t coming despite my drive. Then, I got a message from my manager in Nigeria. It was for an opportunity in BC and I quickly got in touch with the recruiter. All looked good but I was required to relocate to BC. That was easy – my ready answer was NO. NO for me is a complete statement. The recruiter thought otherwise so he asked me why. I said I was not ready to leave my family. In fact, we are not ready to relocate to BC. I closed that door but I appreciated the opportunity to speak with a recruiter. It felt like rain drop in a dry land.
First Job In Canada
Eventually, I got a call center job through kijiji.ca and that paid me an handsome $10 an hour without tax. I managed to secure about 4 hours shift daily, traveled about 3 hours and spent about $20 daily on feeding and transport. This was a breakthrough as I was having something to take home. I worked there for about a month before we went on Christmas recess and was not called back. The day we closed for the Christmas season, my wife called me to please help her pick some groceries from the retail store. Seriously, that was not the best time – I was only a few meters away from home and it was cold. Why didn’t she tell me about it before? Why couldn’t she have gone out to do grocery shopping without waiting for me? All sorts of questions raced through my mind.
Anyway, I turned back grudgingly and went to the big retail store in my neighborhood. As I was leaving, the idea dropped in me to ask to see the store manager in case they had an opening. Interestingly, a floor staff pointed him to me. I walked up to him and introduced myself. “How can I help you today” he asked. I told my him story and mentioned that was looking for a night role. The plan was to spend my day on whatever it would take to land me my professional role. He smiled and said, “I am sorry, we don’t have that opening right now but you can keep checking”. I appreciated him for his time and started walking away.
Working in night shift
I had not walked too far from him, when I saw him running after me. “Did you say night role?”, he asked. I said yes. “Oh, I’m sorry, we might actually have something for you. We just agreed to hire one person for a night role this morning but it’s not yet posted. Do you have your resume with you?” I explained that I was only there to buy groceries but that I could bring it if he needed it right away. Then, he told me to apply for ANY ROLE at all that I could see online for his store and return immediately with a hard copy of my resume. I did as I was instructed and got interviewed on the spot which led to an offer and started three days later.
I recall during the interview, the store manager asked if I ever worked in a grocery store. My response was emphatic no. He asked every other question relating to the role, I consistently gave him a negative answer. Then, he asked what experience I have that made me want to work there, I told I am a new immigrant with integrity who had experience with working overnight. I told him how I started and managed a cyber cafe in Nigeria for over 2 years. This involved working well with people and giving myself passionately to everything I do. The rest is history but I worked there for a little over 6 months! I earned $13.23 per hour for 7 or 8 hours every night for most of the 6 months. I even had health benefits for my family among others.
Focus is Required
But I had a dream. While I worked for that retail store, I ensured the retail job did not become my internal reality. My professional job was my daily reality. Just to be clear, I worked as a grocery clerk. I was at that store with my family buying groceries one day and my wife picked something from the shelf. After walking a few aisles, she decided she was not buying that item again and just dropped it on one of the shelves. I stopped her right there. “Hey, please return it to where you picked it up because when I return this night, I will have to fix that”. She laughed and I laughed but she got the message and quickly made amends. Talk of being considerate of others in a new way. I appreciated that and till date, that affects my shopping habits.
The journey continues
While working at the retail store, another staff took interest in me and referred me for another job. My interview was waived and I secured a job at the Calgary airport. To secure a pass for that job, I went through all manner of security checks including retina scan – no jokes. But it was a good paying job, about $35 an hour for about 2 – 2.5 hours daily. I resumed there for about 4 hours before starting at the retail store daily and just headed for my night shift right after. My job was to hop onto cargo planes and unload the goods. I made friends there, learned a few lessons and learned to have fun at it. It was an extra income that paid well but took a toll on my back. Yes. And a few times made me useless at home. But I loved the money :).
I took my family with me there twice to see what I did, We all had to feel it. We thought it was an opportunity so it was all good. A few dollars here and there that made my family more comfortable and helped me repay the cash I withdrew from my Nigerian bank credit card when I could not pay my house rent. Whichever way you looked at it, it made sense.
And to crown it all, the company that hired me called me a few weeks into that job and offered me a 2 year contract for the same role but with a higher wage. I could choose to sub contract the job to another person I was told. But to keep the contract going I had to do the job myself at least twice a month if I remember correctly. I did not solicit for it, my supervisor apparently took interest in me and asked HR to talk to me. Of course, I accepted the contract and it was a different phase. I did have to cancel the contract later for reasons that you will soon find out.
Starting A Professional Job
Exactly nine months after I landed and became a permanent resident, God provided me with a professional job. Please note that the timing is different for different people. it took a friend 18 months and even more for some others. This job was without undergoing the typical kind of interview. I started out working for free. I got an offer for a 2 year contract at the end of the first week but did not start until 6 weeks later.
Three months into the professional role, my manager gave me another employment letter. My employer changed the contract and offered me full time employment. If anything, I can only say that my story is that of someone who God helped. I would not be bragging if I told you that I made a positive impact in the organization. I have since left the company and moved on to a senior role elsewhere and things have been good. Again, I was head hunted for the senior role – I did not apply. I have built networks and continue to maintain relationships here and there. I believe that things can only go up by the grace of God.
Losing My First Professional Job
And here is where it gets even more interesting. My new hiring company started facing its own challenges and therefore decided to change directions. Some units including my business analysis team were scrapped. Several people were let go while a few simply walked away – for reasons best known to them. I was one of the people that was let go. It hurt especially when you believe you sacrificed a lot for the company, did your best and therefore don’t deserve the treatment. But hey, if I was asked to nominate someone else in my stead, who would I have nominated? Nobody. It’s just life.
The story continues.