One of your readers asked why there aren’t any success stories with regards to university education. Well, here is mine. I will be turning 26 this year and I am a single mother to a lovely baby boy. I met his father back in campus and got pregnant with him. I had to defer my studies in third year, first semester. When I resumed my studies 6 months later it was hell. Seeking help from my final year project lecturer was like trying to get blood from a house fly.
I was glad to finish and graduate. Sadly, my graduation entourage was involved in a road accident. Luckily, nobody was injured.
I secured an internship position at one of the NHIF branches in Nairobi without pay for three months. I consoled myself that at least baba baby would come through and he did for a while.
The place was just bad. The acting Branch Manager was just a lousy piece of art. The discrimination was on another level. My role was purely filing and errands, absolutely no interaction with clients. At lunchtime, I would stare at the clients coming in from the blurred kitchen windows as they vented, threaten then humble down and wait for service that would be delivered at 2:30 pm.
I was later posted to Huduma Centre, Makadara, still without pay, to train new interns and share the workload there. The ladies posted there were literally on holiday. I was forced to bear all the workload.
After my internship was done I handed over all my files at exactly midnight and never looked back. I later joined a leading investment firm as an intern again. This shit never gets old. I worked like a donkey through all kinds of contracts for a mere Ksh 1000 a day which was taxed and statutory payments deducted. The pay ranged from Ksh 11,000 to Ksh 25,000 on a good month. This is after spending all my Saturdays in the office.I had to leave when the contracts stopped coming in.
Hunting for a new job was draining in every aspect. The company called me back. Since I was desperate, I went back. It was a new position and a new boss so I hoped things would improve.
Meanwhile, marital problems crept. Mark Maish si you know these come we risk shit. One cold Saturday morning, he threw me out with my baby with nothing but the clothes and kitchen utensils that I had bought. I didn’t even have fare to report to work on the following Monday.
However, my new boss was great. After four more months of unsteady contracts, I got the job. My average pay changed from a measly 17k per month to Ksh 100,000 per month. I wept in his office as I gave thanks to him and God. I now had the money to clear off my debts and at least secure a better future for both of us.
This man beefed up my job description, exposed me to the industry and encouraged me to do more as opposed to my friends in the same position. He empowered me to use my knowledge with regards to his office. He became a mentor, a partner, and a positive critic. I am currently planning to do my MBA.
I am an Executive Assistant to a CEO, of a leading investment firm in the region. I have a degree in Business Management with a major in Marketing and my perception is dawning to a reality.
In every storm, there is always a moment of calm.
PS: #PerceptionVsReality is an online campaign that seeks unveil the truth behind seemingly prestigious careers, highlight the plight of top Kenyan graduates, and showcase the positive stories. The purpose of this series is to prepare students for life after campus, candidly share the challenges young professionals are facing in the corporate world and pick life lessons from those who found a way to thrive having surmounted great tribulations.
To take part in the initiative email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will be published anonymously to protect the identities of the participants. Follow the series on Facebook www.facebook.com/MarkMaishCom