I got married about three years ago. I and my husband should have married long before that but just some months before our traditional marriage, I lost my job. I kept searching, hoping I would find one before the date set for our traditional marriage but that didn’t happen so at some point I told my husband, “I don’t want to marry without a job. I wouldn’t enjoy being a burden on you. I would love to pick my bag in the morning and go to work just as you do so both of us can contribute financially to the marriage. At first, he didn’t understand me. He wanted us to go on with our marriage plans. He said, “After marriage, you can have all the days you want to find a job. What I do can sustain us.”
I didn’t take what he said so in the end, we called off the marriage. For more than a year, I roamed the street of Accra with my Master’s certificate in my armpit, looking for a job. Any job at all that would pay a meaningful salary. I attended a lot of interviews and gave my CVs to a lot of companies but all I received for an answer was a no. I became desperate. I started something on my own but the inflow was very low. I couldn’t rely on that income to get married. One night my husband came to see me and told me about his uncle who was highly placed in the institution that he works. He said, “I think I would tell my uncle about it. He can easily use his position to get you a job.
A week or so later, he gave me his uncle’s number and told me, “I’ve already spoken to him about it and he’s ready to help. I’ve even given him your CV and he finds it impressive. He’s expecting your call. Just call him and introduce yourself to him. He’ll take it up from there. Exactly 9am the following day, I picked my phone and dialed his number. His voice was very harsh, it sounded like he was in a hurry to go somewhere. I told him, “This is Rosemond. Albert’s fiancée. He asked me to call you about the conversation he had with you.” Immediately I told him that, his voice calmed and he put up a friendly tone. He answered, “Oh yeah, he told me about you and even gave me your CV. There are a couple of friends I know who would love to have you. Can you come around tomorrow at 4pm?”
At 4pm the next day, I was in his office. All throughout the conversation with him, his eyes moved around carelessly over my body. He’ll look at my face for a minute and the next seconds he would be staring at my boobs. I started feeling uncomfortable but he was my boyfriend’s uncle so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. “I’ll take you to meet some of my friends this weekend if you don’t mind. I’ll talk to your boyfriend about it so don’t worry.” The weekend came and I met him mid-way, sat in his car and he started moving. There was something about the way he looked at me that I didn’t like. Midway, he started talking about my looks and how lucky my boyfriend is to have me. I smiled sheepishly and said thank you.
He said, “A woman like you shouldn’t be looking for a job this desperately. You ought to be taken care of in such a way that you can live comfortably even without a job.” I answered, “Your nephew is doing his best. Just that I need a job to complement his effort.” He kept going on and on and on until we reached that friend’s house. He spoke to him. The friend agreed to employ me. He asked me to come to the office and meet the HR for discussion the following Monday. I said my thank you and we both left the friend’s house.
In the car going back, he started touching me jovially. I squirmed to indicate I didn’t like it. I even told him to stop trying to touch me. When I got home, I called my boyfriend and told him what transpired and how the man was willing to give me the job. And then added, “Your uncle, I didn’t like the way he looked at me. There was sinister in his eyes every time he looked at me. He even tried to touch me while in his car.” He said, “I don’t think he means any harm. He’s my uncle for Christ’s sake. Maybe he was trying to be nice but it’s ok, you won’t see him again after this so you get the job, and let’s move on.”
The next Monday, I went to meet the HR. She was nice to me. We had a discussion about the job, how demanding, and salary expectations. From all indications, it was a well-paid job. From the HR’s office, I went to meet the man himself and he told me, “Everything would be given to Simon (My boyfriend’s uncle), he’s your guarantor so you can contact him from tomorrow going.” I was confused. I asked him, “You mean my appointment and everything would have to pass through him?” He answered, “Yeah. He’s going to guarantee your forms. He brought you here and if anything goes wrong, like misappropriation and we can’t find you, he’ll be the guy to answer.” I nodded my head and left.
Two days later, Simon called; “Your appointment and other documents are with me. You can pass by the office whenever you’re free and collect them. You ought to start working in two weeks’ time.” I went to meet him the next day in his office. Immediately I entered, he smiled cunningly. Like to say, “Here you are again.” He told me about the job and how his name was at stake should everything go wrong. He told me about the salary and I opened my eyes wide. He said, “Yeah, for your three months probation, you’re going to take home GHC4,500 a month. After the probation, if you proved yourself well, your salary again would be adjusted upward. All you need now is to sign and deliver it to them. I have signed the guarantor part.”
Just when I was about to stretch my hand for it, he asked, “What are you going to give me after making me go through all this stress for you?” I answered, “You can have the first three months of my salary, I don’t mind. I would learn to survive during those months.” He said, “Do I look like someone who needs your money?” I asked him, “Then what else can I give you apart from that?” He retorted, “Spend a night with me. I promise I would be gentle.” Well, I expected that so I wasn’t surprised at all. I asked if he would be happy if his nephew hears that. I asked if he would be happy if someone does that to his daughter. I asked if he would be happy if someone does that to his wife. He calmly said, “It’s a give and take affair. If nothing happens after one week, I will call my friend and told him you rejected the offer.” I said, “So be it.” And left the office.
A week later I called him; “I’m ready, where should I meet you?” He said, “Meet me at the office in the evening, we’ll take it from there.” I was in his office. He drove me to a hotel and the next morning, he gave me the letters to sign. He said, “I’ll submit it on your behalf. You can start work on the stipulated date.”
I called my boyfriend and told him, “I got the job.” He screamed, “I knew my uncle would help. Now you need to apologize to me for suggesting he had ill intentions toward you.” He laughed and I smiled.
On our wedding day, Simon was around. When the family was called to join us to take photos, he came to stand next to me and said, “Congratulations. You’ll be a good wife I know.” My husband walks around innocently, singing the praises of his uncle. He doesn’t know what ought to give before I got the job. It’s his punishment for not trusting me, for hushing me when I told him about his uncle’s inappropriate behavior. I needed somebody to tell me what to do, to tell me what I should make of the situation. He was the only one I could talk to but he hushed me and silenced my intuition. One day when we grow grey and about to die, I would tell him this secret and watch him cry or walk away on his feeble knees. For now, he loves me and I love him too. We’ll keep things just as that.