This is my Monday motivation to anybody out there looking for a job or trying to start their own  business. Do not give up.

In the African setting, a girl child is just seen as a wealthy generator in that her main aim in life is to be exchanged for bride price for her family.  She grows up knowing her place is in the kitchen cooking , washing clothes, going to the shamba, generally doing house chores and giving birth. This is the mindset that is keeping us Africans behind in development and every other aspect in life. It is high time we start changing our mindset and start giving the girl child an opportunity to get an education and improve their life. I am not saying being a house wife is a bad thing NO. By all means if you want to be a housewife be one. What i am saying is be a housewife by choice and not by force/nature. Many people  are choosing to be housewives and letting their husbands do the income generation and be the providers while others want to give an helping hand and contribute to the household income. Whichever you do it should be your choice.

I am glad that my parents are not the typical backward thinking African parents. They believe in education. My mum is a teacher so it will not even make sense for her to be educating other people’s children while her kids are at home going to the shamba and looking after cows.My dad is also an educated man “mtu wa hesabu” lucky him. He believes truly in education and he has more degrees than me. My dad was still part-time schooling like 2years ago ati he is doing sijui PHD or Masters in whatever heeeh budaaaaa!!!In my 50’s I don’t think i will be thinking about a physical school anymore but for him he liked doing those evening classes saying they keep him informed. Me, my information i will get it from a phone or a computer. In an era where you can now do E-learning i don’t think getting a certificate or even a diploma is as hard as it used be in the past.

All of us in my family were lucky enough to get an education from primary, secondary and university but this is about me not them. So as a typical Kenyan, I finished primary joined high school then joined computer package school then campus. After a long battle of decision making i settled for  a Bachelors in Commerce with a major in Human Resource Management which i undertook at Kenyatta University City/Town Campus.  In my father’s house by the way you can not play with his money. So you better sit your ass down and study. Vitu zingine baadaye. My dad is a no nonsense man. But then public universities are f@%#d up at times especially when your lecturer decides that they are not going to key in your marks and you have to keep on looking for them to ask what is happening. So in my first year first semester i got an E in economics OMG!!!  I cried like the world was coming to an end. I had to retake that unit when i was in 4th year. The lecturer for this unit did not key in my marks and so my name was not in the graduation list. Try telling your kisii father that you are not in the graduation list because the lecturer did not key in your results! My dad was like “sema tu hukua unaenda shule kazi ilikua kuitisha pesa na kuenda mzururo”. I used to go to the main campus on Thika road almost every day for two weeks just to look for that lecturer to fill in my missing marks. Finally it was done and he keyed in my marks and i was in the list. I was top of my class and i will not stop saying it coz it was a really good feeling at least school fees haikuenda waste. I am  sure there was need to call all my village people to come and celebrate with me but i was too overwhelmed I only told my brother to accompany me. Told my parent to wait for me at home because even if they  came to the graduation square they could not see me as we were thousands of us graduating. Then traffic, them sitting outside a tent, the sun, no network, aaarggh too much pressure for nothing.

So after graduation and all those speeches that now the world is yours to conquer, i entered the job market to look for a job as expected. Wueeeeh Nairobi is a stone garden  “shamba la mawe”. It took me like two months before i got a job. I don’t even know if it was a job or internship.Kudos to the people out there doing sales. Mko na roho. I got a job where we were selling magazines an equivalent of “Insyder” but now for Primary schools. A human resource management student  doing Sales and Marketing. I was given the East lands region.  That job was tiresome and on top of it the pay was commission based. We were like five employees only; fresh from campus and I think we were being exploited aki as we were being given 500 bob per week for transport. Since Nairobi is not my mother’s,”Sio ya mamangu” I had to hustle and convince the teachers to convince the kids to buy the magazines so that I can also earn commission. Anyway three months down the time my contract ended and I was back to square one.

My next job paid zero bob!! Yeah zero bob for a whole three months. It was an internship in a hotel in Hurlingam which i really needed to jump-start my career in Human Resource Management. My mum was there for me telling me not to give up since at least the place was giving me the experience i needed plus food so at least all I needed was transport money from Mombasa road to town and town to Hurlingham and back. My boss was really nice she taught me the HR ropes  and i taught her candy crush lol. She was and still is my friend and my mentor. Angie aki God bless you.Three months ended , she tried to ask  for me to be employed as her assistant but it did not get approved so again back to the drawing board. The thing which HR jobs is that they are hard to come by as once you get settled in a company it is hard to move so the turnover is a bit low and you need experience before you get a “real” job which does not even make sense. So again i got another internship in a 4 star hotel I actually think it is 5 star now which paid one thousand per week. This was an upgrade. I was pretty lucky since most hotels don’t pay interns or trainees and I found out my boss was actually staying in my estate so she used to give me rides to and from work I save the a thousand bob. The beauty about working in a hotel is that you don’t have to worry about food money as most if not all provide you with breakfast and lunch and even dinner for those who work in the night shift.

So some random Saturday i went to my cousin’s party at Horn-bill Buruburu. I am such a social butterfly at times. There was this tipsy guy who came to say hi to my cousin and I. He went on telling me how he used to carry me when i was little bla bla bla kama namkumbuka lol. He asked what i do and i told him internship but i am looking for a job. He told me to send him my CV and he will see what he can do. I had nothing to lose so on Monday i sent him and my CV just incase kujaribu tu labda ilikua pombe inaongea. Surprisingly that week on Thursday i got a call from that company which happened to be a government Parastatal to go and see the HR. I went there and i was given an offer letter which stated i had to start working the following Monday and i was being paid 1000 per day eeeeeish i was so happy and that’s how i quit my internship in the hotel. I loved this job and it  helped me enroll in Photography school with my own money as no kisii father or mother  would pay school fees ukasomee kupiga picha lol. After the contract ended i told my parents i needed a postgraduate diploma in HR so as to increase my chances of getting job out there. They agreed i enrolled back in school got my postgraduate and then now went back to the market full of confidence! Guess who was number one in a unit called Employing Resourcing and got a voucher for 10k?? Meeeeeee. You see when i tell you guys that i am your go to girl for planning things and getting you the right person for a job i really mean it.

 

Sarah Serem and I.

NO HR JOB was coming by. I sent out CVS to almost every HR job advert i saw but i got no feedback. I was becoming frustrated until i was even saying that when i start my own business it will be a website where i help link job seekers with employers. Anyyywhoooo you see i love travelling and random plots so long as i am free. So a friend of mine was like since you are home doing nothing ‘si we go for a road-trip to Naivasha over the weekend coz it is my friend’s girlfriend’s birthday(bash ya dem ya besthte yangu) and they are having a party”. Mimi nani?? I was like yeaaaaah lets nduthis! So we went to Naivasha. This friend who was been thrown for a party,( eeish iyo english) happened to be the Marketing Manager for Incisor Kenya at that time, the owners of pizza inn, chicken inn, creamy inn and Galitos. We clicked really well or i think its coz a tipsy me is a very social and honest person. So i told her about myself and how i was looking for a HR job with no luck and she told me she might have a job for me but not necessarily HR. We exchanged contacts and the next week she called me for a meeting in town which turned out to be a briefing for the job. We were like 20 people she briefed us about the job and that’s how i got myself into sales and marketing again. This one was not as hard as the one for selling magazines. It was just for handing out fliers to people and informing them about offers at pizza inn and chicken inn.We did this for almost all their branches in Nairobi and even Thika.

MY PROMO CREW.

Let me tell you stop looking down on this promo jobs. They pay really well from 1000-3500 per day depending on the company. I made friends with some team leaders(recruiters) who were the people who used to call the promo guys. So i did this promo jobs for almost a year not only for pizza inn but even for Safaricom, pambazuka lottery and some betting company which was the highest paying for 3500 per day to register people to their betting site.The day gigs started being scarce and since i could not do the in-bar activations for promoting alcoholic drinks i started looking for another job. I got one at a call center which we were to train for three weeks with no pay before we start the actual job.

My call center  crew.

I was still looking for  HR job all this time but you see you can’t just stay at home doing nothing. So in between those three weeks i attended an interview for my current job and was told they will call for a second interview. This things bugs me and as a HR practitioner i hate wasting a candidate’s fare and time inviting them for several interviews when i know that they are not the right fit. Anyway i went back to my call center agent job finished the training and the following Monday we were to start the actual work. That weekend on Saturday i got a call from the interview i had attended saying they needed to see me on Monday. I was there weighing options where to go. Here i have secured a job already starting on Monday and on the other hand is my dream job calling but i am not even sure if i will get the job. I made up my mind and said let me go attend this interview first then i will come and apologize to my call center boss.  I got there and the HR Manager briefed me about the job and that is when i realised this was not a second interview but a job offer. I was given a person to guide me to my office! You guys i was given an office all to myself! I was super excited and nervous the whole time. I had a headache the whole day adi i could not eat lunch and it was chicken. Me not eating!! It was that serious. So that’s how i landed into my current job. It has been a year and 8 months now. SEE GOD.

So in conclusion what i am trying to say is that never give up as cliche as it sounds. Job searching out there is not easy regardless of your qualifications. I am not ashamed of my journey at all. I am not there yet but I will get there. Do not  start comparing yourself to your peers because some will be doing much better than you others way worse than you.  Just concentrate on building yourself. Do not just sit there and wait for your dream job. Do any job you can and that dream job will find you at the right time.  Do not be too choosy unless it is a job you can’t really do. Do not be afraid to tell people you are looking for a job.You don’t have to be employed like me you can  start your own business if you have resources. At the end of the day it does not matter whether you are employed or self-employed. What matters is that you are doing what you love and you are able to cater for needs. Trust the process. Celebrate the small wins. Pray and have faith. Trust in God.
N/B: YOUR NETWORK IS YOUR NET WORTH.