Candid Advice For Job-Seeking Youths
Friends and relations have requested me to advise the job seeking youths of this country especially those unemployed graduates. This comes after their very own President called them thieves while buttressing his choice of a 91-year old nonagenarian to head a youth fund because the youth would steal it. Nonetheless, due to public demand, I have agreed to afford millions of jobless youth crucial pieces of advice on how to survive in a Gestapo nation like this.
Jobless Kenyan youths, I understand how desperate you’ve become in a nation where bad governance destroys jobs but hardly creates any; a nation where even those few jobs available are given to rich 91-year olds. Indeed, this is a poor country of rich people where 3 per cent of rich people control more than 85 percent of poor people. I understand how you feel living in a nation where lawmakers change laws to increase their salaries beyond what the mind can imagine; a state where first term governors become richer than their states.
I know these are annoying times for our young men and women. We are a nation whose journey is rough and odious, a nation whose leaders celebrate mediocrity instead of meritocracy. Many, otherwise well-groomed and pulchritudinous young women cannot marry because the young men who are supposed to marry them are too poor to take care of them. Educated young men have turned thugs for crooked politicians; some have become car washers (I met one yesterday). The tragic irony is that needs are increasing while incomes are dwindling. However, no matter how difficult things are, suicide should never be one of your options.
If you are a job seeking graduate like my friend Josipati Nyangeti, there are things you MUST ignore to avoid humiliations. Firstly, if you are a child of poor parents and happen to come across a job advertisement by government on the dailies, kindly ignore it. Don’t waste your time applying because you will NEVER get it. You can apply for the rest of your life but no job will be forthcoming. Remember before civil service jobs are advertised, all the vacancies are already filled with the candidates of Senators, governors, Cabinet Secretaries, Members of Parliament and tribal kingpins. The advertisements that you see are merely crafted to satisfy civil service rules.
Further, when a supposed employer asks you to enclose some registration fee in the course of submitting an application, be sure you are being conned. No genuine employer requests money from a resource-less job seeker. In fact, a serious employer pays for the applicant’s transportation to and from the venue of the interview and offers breakfast and lunch.
The condition of young graduates in Kenya today is really precarious. From the onset, I have always predicted that this country shall get to this crisis point where universities churn out unemployable graduates that are not prepared for the workplace. Our colonial masters knew well what they were doing. They knew that political independence without economic independence means nothing. And so they encouraged our fathers to study English, Accounting, Sociology, Law and Philosophy in universities. Indeed, they were encouraged to study Education courses so they would pass the same nonsense “knowledge” to the next generation which would pass it to the next. Those who dared to study Engineering, Mathematics, Botany and Pharmacy were limited to learning the theoretical aspects.
I have given this background to enable jobless graduates to understand where they are coming from. What to do then? As a graduate, you should first recognize the worthlessness of your papers. Since government jobs are no longer there, the only course open to today’s graduate is to start a business your own. I understand the handicaps for those who choose this course because the environment for doing business in Kenya is not conducive: lack of capital (because our banks lend at 26-40 per cent.
Most nauseatingly, they ask you to bring your grandfather to prove that he has more money than the loan you are seeking), corruption and unaffordable electricity. gather money the same way you gathered your school fees and start a small business. It could be banana peddling, chicken rearing, fish mongering or pig farming. Always remember, “A rolling stone gathers no moss” and so try and settle on one thing at a time.
For those who cannot engage in physical labour, you can alternatively sell your talent to private individuals or companies that need it. You do not need to write a long proposal for them to recognize you. Just be sure of yourself. If you know you posses a skill, try and identify those who need it. The internet is a huge global marketplace. But, as usual, those who benefit financially from it are in America, Europe and Asia. As Africans we must not feel bitter because we have never invented anything for mankind.
As I always advise you, cut your coat according to your cloth and live within your income (if you are lucky to have one).Give birth to fewer kids that you can manage to feed, clothe and educate. Always rent a house you can afford to pay for, drive a car you can maintain, travel only when you need (not want) to travel, eat smart, drink smart, send your children to the schools you can afford and are helpful.
Winston Churchil advised, “If you are going through hell, keep going” If you want to succeed, return to the Supreme Being – through the church or the mosque. Don’t rely on pastors for prayers in exchange of success because most of them are conmen who just like you, are trying to survive on your sweat. Confess all your sins and turn a new leaf. The scriptures offer workable solutions to all life’s problems. For those who don’t believe, there is God.