EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

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Photo:Courtesy

Bottomline: in this country education used to be the KEY to SUCCESS until sex,corruption & connections became the padlocks unless you part your legs, part with money or a relative plays part you can’t get meaningful employment.

A few hours ago I was from my 42nd interview, three years after clearing campus. By the way I am scheduled to go for one in a few minutes time,furthermore, I have like two other interviews slated for the same day this week which am still deliberating with the voices in my head on whether or not to honour their summons.

My friends believe am in bed with lady luck since at least am given a fighting chance in those interviews unlike them who don’t even get those we regret to inform you messages, usually web generated turning down your application by prospective employers acknowledging their waste of ink, paper, interest and time

The response is still the same as the previous ones, “we have gone through your papers, your presentation was excellent, we will get back to you in two weeks time.” These are usually the last words I ever hear from the organization.

Do these interview panels really know what they make us go through? Hope they don’t, because if they do then they allow interviewees to go through a rigorous process yet they already have a preferred list of candidates amongst within their ranks, then the hottest furnace in hell has been reserved for them.

Though some relatives will still hold the view that you are a dimwit who couldn’t make it past a job interview even after making it to the shortlist, little do they know that the interview process was a public participation exercise meant to improve the organization’s public relations; interview all select the ‘best’ scatter the rest.

How does an organization advertise for two positions shortlist 1000 people with similar qualifications under the pretense of “we are looking for the best candidate” or is the sitting allowance the motivating factor. With their ‘We are an equal opportunity employer,canvassing will lead to automatic disqualification,’ which is the corporate lie as canvassing leads to automatic employment.

Am not an expert in HR techniques and practices, but I bet through document analysis of the applicants CV’s they can select 10 applicants to square it out for the two vacancies saving the remaining 990 the cost of printing cover letters, Cv’s, Certificate of good conduct, HELB clearance and credit clearance certificate to show you honour your debts as if we live in a country where you can just take a loan without collateral. Acquiring all these documents is an expensive and time consuming undertaking.

Going through the organizations website to memorize its mission, vision, core values, structure, heads of departments, history of the organization and notable milestones is not an easy task considering you have to conceptualize them overnight through serious cramming as you await the interview the following morning.

In this interview I met Josh, who was 33 years masters degree holder who had first class honors at undergraduate level,  yes a first class 33 year old who was still competing with us ; people of second class honors upper division who were noisemakers throughout campus. Who clusters someone who got a first class with the rest !!!!

As we were lined up waiting for ‘slaughter’, I got to ask Josh what he was doing here since that job was not well lucrative compared to his academic qualifications. It was a two year contract with Ksh 25,000 as remuneration before tax is taken away by the government, after removing all deductions HELB (Higher Education Loans Board) included  one goes home with close to Ksh 16,000 which is supposed to run him or her throughout the month that’s Ksh 16,000 divided by 30 brings the daily expenditure Ksh 534 per day.

HELB was supposed to be a token of appreciation for excelling in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) but now the government through education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed has circumnavigated the ‘agreement’ issuing a ‘shoot to kill order’ to the police against HELB defaulters after branding all graduates potential economic terrorists.

Chemistry wasn’t easy by the way so CS Amina we will pay the loan when we get the money or when we go into politics where it’s mandatory for one to have the HELB clearance certificate. Furthermore, everyone in this country has a debt even the government owes China but we haven’t reported them to Interpol,CIA,FBI,Scotland Yard et al so relax madam.

Back to Josh, he has been in between internships since completing his degree, here I was thinking all first class ninjas were directly sponsored for masters as they are sharpened to join the career academician ranks. Here he was still tarmacking with no hope of being an assistant lecturer.

“I have been an intern for close to two years in this parastatal,so I thought when a vacancy comes up I would be considered. Three weeks ago, a vacancy came up since one of the department’s staff had been redeployed to another state owned enterprise. The HR summoned me to his office to inform me of the new development thus I was to take over her duties as I wait to be confirmed as a permanent and pensionable staff.

My patience had finally paid off, two years wait is no joke my brother, you have to be overly optimistic considering the Simsim remuneration of interns in government establishments.”

“I took up the role of a civil servant on an intern’s stipend performing the duties exemplarily as I knew it was a matter of days before the letter of appointment lands on my desk. However, ‘Bindu Bichenjanga’ things change….”

“What changed,” I asked as he paused

After a moment of silence he resumed, “On a Monday, the week I was to be confirmed I found my desk had a new occupant.”

“Which desk , the intern’s desk,” I asked

“Not the interns desk come on, my new desk the permanent and pensionable staff desk I had been promoted to two weeks ago. All my things had been sent back to the sender, the interns desk by the door where I had been operating from for the past two years.”

There was grave silence in the office as I went in nobody was willing to give me an explanation of what had happened, was I the one next in line what had just happened. I greeted the new staff member with a plastic smile though inside me I was burning with rage.

She was far much younger as I returned to my intern’s post pretending to be fine. Being fine was the last thing I could have been that Monday morning, so I tried to patiently sit out the day but it wasn’t possible without a proper explanation of my ‘demotion’. Had I done anything wrong, I kept asking myself as I reflected the two weeks probation period where I was in an acting capacity.

As I was going through the newspapers doing the daily media monitoring and analysis the state of my mind couldn’t allow me to do anything constructive so I went to the Human Resource office to see the person in-charge to seek clarification of what had just transpired. Unfortunately he wasn’t there so I went back to my intern’s post perform lighter duties as the day tortoises off.

My colleagues were in shock though they couldn’t do anything, it was a matter out of their control. Nobody knew who brought her in so they kept their calm as they sympathized with me encouraging me over lunch break that another chance will just come up, come up from where and after how long I asked myself.

My colleague Martin had other ideas of how they could sabotage Janice,the new staff member so that she quits or seeks lighter duties elsewhere. An idea I was supporting considering how ‘unfair’ she just came in and took my place however, Saito had other ideas as he called for caution with his short statement “when you see a tortoise on a table ask yourself who placed it there.” “Anaweza kuwa sosi ya mdosi tujipate kwa noma hatujawai ona’ she might be the big boss side chic/property who might put us in one hell of a problem we have never encountered, so sabotage was out of the question.

“So what did you do,” I asked

“I left” he answered

“Just like that,” I asked

Yes, In the evening I just picked up what was necessary from my intern’s desk then never reported to work the following morning and have never went back since then.

“What of your recommendation letter, didn’t they call you” I asked

“To hell with the recommendation letter, do you think they might put in some nice about my contribution to the organization, they never called or bothered to ask where I had disappeared to.” he answered

The HR conducting the interview came out, ” Sospeter Shiundu you are next so have your credentials in order.”

As I was arranging my curriculum vitae,academic certificates and other supporting credentials Josh told me he would be leaving for the Yemen next month as a security guard if he won’t get this contract as he was sick and tired of these job interviews.

Asking him what a masters holder who had first class honors at undergraduate level would be doing in war torn Sanaʽa as a security guard. He replied as he wished me all the best in the interview, “in this country education used to be the KEY to SUCCESS until sex,corruption & connections became the padlocks unless you part your legs, part with money or a relative plays part you can’t get meaningful employment.”

 

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