african life issues

Job opportunity: Amatuers versus professionals. 

Yep, I have ever been broke. Thank God for the backup food stores I consume when the dry pocket season comes by.

Being broke is a part of life each person has had the pleasure to leave behind.

It was on April last year that my buddy and I were broke to the bones. The money we had couldn’t buy a drinking straw or a single serviette in an average hotel.

Our stomachs were on a daily strike, grumbling and rumbling their woes to anyone with hearing ability. We took porridge once a day-the only meal we could fall back onto rather than take nothing.

We were forced to look for temporary jobs in Nairobi. We thought of construction work; the pay day was daily, Ksh 500 or $5 in US currency but the work needed muscles (we were ladies, no muscles reside in our bodies except for the inbuilt ones necessary for physiological functions. )

Another idea was retail, to be a shopkeeper. Unfortunately , no one was hiring. The ice breaker was a government job.

Many of the jobs were temporary with a heavy pay of overloaded potential to kick the poverty out of our pockets.

We spent the whole day perusing through the classifieds and adverts looking for something that matched or nearly married our skills. We found a perfect opportunity seducing us to try it; voter registration.

The pay was weekly and that was a fair game to hunt. Armed with our computer certificates,national IDs and overflowing confidence, we woke up very early the next day and started our journey on the road to money.

University was two weeks away from opening its gates and we needed a form of redemption before the heavenly cheap cafeteria meal was once again accessible to us.

Finally at our destination, the candidates were uncountable, ranging from youths to middle aged citizens. All were rushing to cease the same opportunity. It was a gold rush. The fittest takes it all.

At the reception, we squeezed our way through, stealing glances and sneeking peeks at the stacks of application letters on the counter. There were people with diplomas and certificates on various courses, several with degrees and masters,and finally there were countables with a PhD!

PhD and masters ? Our egos were instantly deflated alongside our confidence. Hope was dead and gone. How could we compete against that? But the question really was; how far gone is employment opportunities in Kenya?

The one with PhD should be employing the amateurs! And the masters holders? They should be building their own companies and organisations, not fighting for the scraps with the newbies.

Anyways, those with academic qualifications higher than a degree were chased away before the interview. They were allegedly overqualified for the position.

After a few days, we got a reply. My friend was hired and I was not. I did expect that- I utterly screwed up in the political section of the interview. Who wants to know who did what when all you see and hear in the news are sad reports of unending unrest and corruption?

I failed the interview ,fair and square. However, that was not the end for me. Virtual contracts were my sort of thing and now I am earning enough to keep me off the streets.

The rate of unemployment has risen tremendously since 2005 in Kenya. Graduates are force to hold placards at the road sides in search for a willing employer to hire them straight away.

Graduates are finding it hard to earn a living. It would be better if they had not gone through the four years or more of university or college.

For those who didn’t make it to these institutions, they are far much better in the real world of employment compared to the graduates.

Handy works, online jobs etc.they do earn you a descent amount of cash….

The market is flooded with masters and PhD holders trying to grab a job as soon as it appears. Even the less paying jobs. The degree, diploma or certificate graduates are competing with fallen giants for what is rightfully theirs.

This phenomenon is a warning light. To be on the safe side it is better to have a side hustle rather than depending heavily on your academic certificate(s) for a source of income.


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