Behind the Desks

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I have been on a tormenting track sourcing to be attached somewhere, a paying organization probably because I hate the idea of working free of charge for some lazy ass employees. This has literary turned me gushing into and out of offices like I own them. For the last three weeks now I have paid every other building in Nairobi that bears a name office a visit. This has almost made a resident sojourner who constantly keeps peeping behind doors, tip toeing into offices that don’t belong to him.

I swear looking for attachment is like a brute animal. It is even tougher than foraging for employment; a reason that makes me think of self employment as the only saviour from these tribulations that confront us the common citizens who are trying to have bread on our tables now that writing does not pay our rent and at the same time cater for our ever spiraling needs.

There is no other guy who is looking forward to do a post titled ‘my first day as an attaché’ like me. It is a post I have been thirsting for. One that makes my spleen bleed. I am longing to see my new work mates, if they are skinny, fat or ill humored.  I swear a concoction of fat and ill humored work mates is the worst. They are likely to make you their bitch- tea boy, mail boy, errand boy, clean ‘my mess’ dude and then the worst part is dictatorship. These people are bulky to move around. I am swift and lean. This translates to two things, both equally sinister: play the bitch or be the gate man’s secretary. Even if I know where the line between insanity and volunteerism lies, at this point I can take anything to be over with this bug, even if I will be contracted to be a toilet cleaner.

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Three whole weeks, moving from one office to another, one lane after another, one street after another is like months on end in a gym in Kayole. You can tell the number of intimidating faces I have collided with. You see when you are looking for a job, no matter how assertive you are; even a damn receptionist can freak you out. You can mince words in front of a secretary whose best education is K.C.S.E D grade even when you have five degrees from Yale. The only person who never and will never make you cow is the guy at the gate. He doesn’t look like he has it collected together either, which makes you two equally in need. He understands you are also looking for a meal. Though some are rude, even on a beautiful day.

On one occasion, I stepped into an office and I wish I had worn some adult diapers on that day. Not because I was peeing but because the sweat that dripped from my groin area made me wet. I was raining because I saw this lady at the reception at GINADIN GROUP offices and her beauty sent me missing my step. Well, I have never experienced this before, sweating so profusely that is. It was a single moment that stunned my system and played with my emotions. And that is the reason I badly want to be attached there. To do what, I don’t know either. I guess my bowels will be settled there, plus it is a few metres from where I reside. It is a reputable organization that is a corporate relations magnate, something that can make my C.V. fatter and decorated.

I have worked in a cyber in a number of occasions. It is a good experience because of three reasons. One is networking; two is getting beautiful girls (I will talk about this more someday) and finally, the stammers and shame that people feel when they come to ask if they can get engineered certificates. I want to talk of the latter.

Behind these offices are faces poured on the piles of paper work in front of them or glued to their computer screens. Everyone is busy. When you walk in, you feel the workaholic atmosphere engulf your nose, or sweep through your nose and in a jiffy you start imagining how it feels like seating behind that desk. You wonder if one day you’ll also have a name inscribed against the door and an office with windows facing the ocean from whence you could observe the tides whirl and then ebb, wondering when the holiday turns on so that you can rush down there and surf in the midst of those tides with the fish; where the lust of office does not kill.

So men and women with full beards and breasts will walk into the cyber. Just like any client and look around. These men and women have a certain look on their faces, a look that is profoundly peculiar and in a way. A look that foretells anxiety. And they will sit tight till every customer is gone while shaking their feet like they have gout. Wearing a baby face that wants to suckle they will ask lowly- unaeza nitengenezea certificate ya form four (can you make me form four certificate)? Well, at first if you were looking down you will lift your face and ask mmmh? You see they have a two way feeling about this; either you might turn them in or you are the right guy for the job. And now feigning some confidence, they will ask a bit louder.

When they ask at first they murmur, like women who are gossiping. Even a man with a fully grown beard at this moment will behave like a kid who wants a crunchy biscuit but fears saying it aloud. In their eyes you will note some weakness that breathes with a lot of vigour. Their chests can be seen heaving uncomfortably even as they try to control their breathing. You can see them sigh deeply with relief when you assure them that with just 800 bob, you are going to elevate their status from a dumb-ass to an astute individual by virtue of a fake certificate and not brains. And deep inside they think to themselves, shit  this guy now knows I am a village bumpkin, a crackpot who dropped out of school at form one and now wants to validate that they actually finished form four.

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A man who ejaculates prematurely and a man who doctors a pseudo cert have two things in common: low self esteem and fear that someone else knows their secret. This someone, if by any chance decides to come out may burn down their lives into ashes.

So I have seen men and women carry fake certificates to offices to apply for jobs. I have seen many of them land high end jobs, jobs that someone can kill you for. I have seen their unemployment floss become glossy. I have seen many with pep in their walk because of these same fake certificates. I have seen many flaunting their ass with the very same fake certificate that I once engineered in a cyber.

These same people are the ones seating behind the mahogany desks in offices. These are same people who earn desirable salaries, plus other benefits. These are the same people daunting us about attachment. These are the same people earning on other people’s degrees because they do not have theirs. These are the people whose names appear on top of the paycheck. These are the same guys making versed and ebullient decisions about our economy while learned graduates are treading the streets with chipped shoe soles.

Fake certificates have rendered our education system bootless and unyielding. The ones occupying the offices are ineligible while those with the pertinent orientation sweep the streets. That is the reality that the people we revere so much seem to leave indelible marks in offices because they are there to stay.

People have to live, right? People have to eat, dress and house themselves. Once we attain these basic needs we need to indulge in affluence, and create empires. And make life squeaky clean living by living large, using whatever means to achieve this. It is the watermark of every greedy soul these days, the one thing that seems to be impressing Kenyans (most of us). Money is the only solution to most of our problems. We have therefore contrived techniques that can bring us more money, because only money can put smiles on our faces.

The sad part about this whole ordeal is that we have forgotten moral cannons that once used to rule our conduct and embraced warmly Machiavellian philosophies. We no longer feel the chagrin of doing abhorrent stuff.

While we may be waiting our country to progress, here is the thing, we will be retrogressive because many of the people behind those desks that we have much trust in to help move this nation to cloud nine of development are made of abysmal skin. We will get the same shoddy work with the same people behind these desks.

Photo Credit: chworkspace

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About Mzangila

Mentor, media consultant, photographer, editor, poet, writer, and counselor.

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