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My frustrating (& informative) journey to employment


A LOT of people think everything in life will be offered to them on a golden plate.

Many students these days spend their spare time on Facebook, social media, mobile phones and similar activities and never take time preparing to look for a job.

The thinking is that they will get a job in their field straight after graduation.

In some rare cases this happens, but most times graduates get jobs through the wantok system, bribery or the ‘who you know’ pathway. In my case, I took a tough path filled with sweat and even embarrassment.

When one door closed before my eyes I took time and a deep breath and penned this testimony- my harsh journey on the road to employment.

I felt really confident I would be recruited by Telikom PNG since I had done my practical employment as a trainee technician with them during semester breaks.  

I sat for my final exams in June 2014, which included three papers - radio, fundamentals of electronics and communication systems, and digital networks -  because I had already passed my certificate and diploma stage one exams. Other students sat four papers, including stage one papers in which they had scored well below the pass mark.

I scored distinctions in my exam results but when I went to get my papers I saw with dismay that, although I had scored good results, Telikom PNG would not accept me for employment.

I left the Telikom Training College with a Diploma in Telecommunication Systems and with disappointment.

With this hanging around in my mind, I started on the normal activities graduates do. I made photocopies of my papers, wrote letters and went to see many companies, only to find closed doors.

I never gave up. I started buying newspapers to check the classified section for positions vacant. They all wanted three or four years of experience, and they were mostly accounts positions.

One day I opened the papers and I saw a branch of Guard Dog Security advertise a position vacant for an electronics technician. I was glad. I thought I would be lucky this time but, to my dismay, people with bachelor’s and master’s degrees filled the interview premises.

I had to stand i the queue from morning till afternoon without an interview and walked home with a sad face. I checked the next day and the response I got was that they already had the person they wanted.

I felt condemned when I heard the song by Gedix Atege, “Skul pepa blong yu, skul pepa natin, mi laikim ol pepa igat experience blong wok” (“Your school certificate is just only a certificate, I want a certificate with work experiences”).

Since no door had opened for me, all sorts of thoughts started entering my head. I felt I wanted to rob people or sell marijuana to earn a living. I never did. People in the neighborhood started making jokes about me saying I’d graduated to roam the streets.

I felt so condemned I began questioning God.

“Do you have a plan for me or not? If not, then take my life, what’s the use.”

I told God these things in anger because all my hope had run out.

In fact, I met many university graduates roaming the streets looking for employment. I know of a boy who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Technology in 2013 who is still unemployed. People with master’s degrees roaming the streets trying to find employment and I am thinking, “What is wrong?”

Anyway, for me days turned into weeks and weeks into months. After seven months I walked into Lae City Council office to drop off an application. Inside they advised me to see the human resources manager.  When I did so, he said something very interesting.

“Son you want a job, right, just hand me K50 and I’ll enlist you as a telephone and computer technician,” he smiled.

“Thank you,” I replied, “that’s what I wanted to hear because I knew many Papua New Guineans get jobs this way.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cash with me so I had to go around looking for money. I called everyone I knew and said all I need is K50.

Within two hours I got the money from my mom. I rushed back to the HR manager’s office. As I entered his office he was not inside and when I called him he was drunk and said he would meet me Monday since it was Friday.

I was disappointed and walked home but on the Sunday I had a surprise call from Bmobile’s HR coordinator advising me to start my job on Monday.

After seven months of angst it was great news. I had a wonderful sleep that night.


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Immanuel Baundo

Thank you Iso for sharing your experience. Not every successful person walks along an easy path.

Your life story of looking for a job gives me the confidence I need at this period. I'm a graduate (Bachelor Degree in Applied Physics with Electronics and Instrumentation) who is still looking for a job.

Thank you very much Iso for sharing your experience.

Arnold Mundua

Iso, you reminded me of how I got employed.

When i was looking for employment a tribal blocked the only access into town (Kundiawa).I had been out for over 10 months as a villager.

One day some one that I knew who was a member of the mobile squad patrolling the fighting zone dropped the days newspaper in my hands.

As I was going through the pages I came across job advertisent within the Simbu provincial govt. I applied for a position but since I was cut off from the provincial capital which located in enemy territory i had to cross over the Bismark Range on foot into the Ramu valley to catch a PMV into Madang to post my application.

It was after 2 ddays and a night outside at Kalibobo
Light house after leaving Simbu that I finally got the application posted.

The hardship paid off and I got the job. That was in 1990 and rising through rank and file I am a Provincial Forest officer now.

Barbara Short

Thank you Iso, for sharing with us some of the frustration, anger and sadness that you experienced while trying to find a job.

You are a good thinker and writer and I hope you will keep up with your stories in your spare time. We enjoy reading them.

And remember to always wear a safety harness while you skim up those tall towers to get a great view of the world.

`Robin Lillicrapp

Great recount of your experience, Iso. I hope you are continuing to do well in your vocation.

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