If you have been to government offices then you know how slow, annoying and unhelpful some civil servants can be. One time I went to different ministries looking for internship opportunities. Each time I would be stopped at the security desk, asked to drop my CV & application letter at the in-tray with a promise they would call me should an opportunity arise. In the same tray, I saw hundreds of other applications.
I refused to drop my particulars at the 3rd ministry I went to. Instead, I demanded to see the senior most official. They allowed me to see him on realizing I wasn’t going to leave.
The boss was seated in a swanky leather seat behind a huge L-shaped desk in an open plan office with different departments separated by a glass partitioning. Six other employees were spread across the room behind slightly smaller mahogany desks.
“Young man, what do you need?” The big man asks peering over his spectacles.
“I would like to work as an intern in this department,” I replied.
“In that case, just drop your application letter with the secretary and we will call you when the next time we are picking interns.”
“Respectfully sir, I can’t do that. I saw thousands of other applications with the secretary and I want to beat them all for this internship position.”
His colleagues stopped working to watch the unfolding drama.
“Young man, what’s your name?”
“Well Mark, as you can see we don’t have space for another desk in this office unless we send you to a construction site in Nairobi West so you can work from there.”
The thought of going to a construction site every morning where I would be exposed to the biting cold, scorching sun and dust didn’t sit well with me. In addition, I had just bought 3 suits and shiny black shoes for my internship.
“I don’t want to go to a construction site. I want to be attached here where I can learn from the best engineers in the country. As far as a desk is concerned, I don’t mind seating on the floor next to the flower pot in the corner.”
He was shocked by my aggressiveness perhaps other people easily complied to his demands. He gave other excuses why they couldn’t take me in, I countered every one of them.
“Sir, I really want to work here for that reason, I’m going to come here every morning stalk you from your car to the office and back every evening until you finally take me in as an intern.”
He immediately asked some guys to set up a desk for me. I went home with a letter asking me to report to work at 8am the next morning.
The problem with we millennials is that we expect things to be given to us. We are an entitled generation. We expect the government to create jobs for us, society to be lenient when we error, parents, older siblings and relatives to sacrifice everything for us. Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. Nobody owes us anything. If you really want something then let nothing and no one stand in your way.
Written By Mark Maish