by Adedoyin Jaiyesimi
Welcome to the second installment of Chronicles of a Writer! Thank you to everyone who read the first post. If you haven’t done so, please do so now. Thank you for your comments. It was great knowing that the piece encouraged many out there and I am very confident that you will also succeed in this journey.
Today, I will tell you how I got an internship with YNaija when I had no prior intention to do so. I was getting comfortable with posting stories and poems on Naija Stories. Finally, I had found something that got me excited. At the time I was working at a consulting firm and I was bored. I was ready to move on but I had no idea what I was moving on to.
A friend of the family organised a party in May 2012 and my mum asked me to go with her. I actually don’t like all these Yoruba parties but on that particular occasion, I decided to go. The party was a typical Nigerian party; loud music, flashy attires and the epic battle for food. I had tuned out. And then I spotted Tara Fela-Durotoye several seats away. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had always wanted to meet her. I loved everything about her and I wanted to learn from her.
So I got up from my seat and went to meet her. As I got closer, a voice in my head said, “Doyin what exactly do you plan to say to her?” One thing you must know is that when you meet important people, you must talk intelligently. I couldn’t walk up to her to strike a random conversation and this moment was quite important for me. So I went to the bathroom instead. I rehearsed what I wanted to say to her and when I felt ready, I went to talk to her.
I can’t remember exactly what I said but I know I told her that I would like her to mentor me. She gave me her email address and asked me to send her an email. I sent her the email the next day stating the things I would like to learn from her. She replied immediately and asked me to tell her my short and long term goals, what impact I wanted to make and some other questions. I took some time to reply that email and when I did she requested for a meeting with me.
To tell you that I was excited would be an understatement. The meeting took place some weeks after and I went to her office in Lekki. Tara was very warm and welcoming. She told me about herself; her challenges and how she got to where she was. She also asked me questions to get to know me better. She then said to me several minutes into the meeting, “So Doyin what do you really want to do right now?” At that point, I didn’t have any fancy answer for her because I didn’t know what I wanted. “The truth is I don’t know what I want. What I know is that the only thing I can do with my eyes closed any day, any time is to write and…” She didn’t let me finish my sentence. She was already making phone calls.
She called the Editor-in Chief of TW Magazine and YNaija and said she had someone who would like to work with them. I just stared at her in awe. She didn’t even know whether I could actually write or not. She never asked me to send a sample of something I had written. I do not know what made her to make those phone calls that day (looking back I know it was definitely God) but she didn’t realise that she was about to change the course of my life.
I was asked to send a sample of what I had written so that they could assess my abilities. Tara wished me all the best and asked me to give her updates about the application. I didn’t have any material that was suitable so I wrote a fresh article, ‘The Journey to Fulfillment’. Some days later, I received a phone call from YNaija’s Sub-Editor. “Our Managing Partner will like to meet you on Monday by 10am,” was what she said. I couldn’t believe it. It still felt like a dream.I tried as hard as I could to prepare for the interview.
That interview did not go as smoothly as I hoped though. I will tell you all about it next week!