Banking Career is increasingly becoming stressful In Kenya

Banking career is overrated and ambiguously too demanding and depressing at the moment. The effect of interest caps in now being felt in Kenya and the president admits that the economy has slowed down. Is there overregulation that is inhibiting competitive market forces that are forcing employees out? I say that because I took the bold step in which most of my friends were indifferent. I handed in my resignation.

A little history from four decades ago

Banking careers were the most boring jobs in the seventies until someone invented the mortgage-backed securities (bonds). The mortgages were bundled together and sold as derivative assets which were then traded in the stock market, and then banking jobs started to sprout as among the elite careers on the planet. Bankers were making large sums of money through bonuses out of the sales they made. Then wall street became famous, and every brilliant student took the bus to wall street.

Banking job in 2017 isn’t attractive anymore. This is especially so after the financial crises that have rocked the world since the great recession more that six decades ago. 2008 financial crises which brought heavyweights to their knees prompted a heavy scrutiny and oversight in the financial sector. The Federal government had to bail out some firms with taxpayers money. That was in the US.

Some guys predicted the crisis and they bet against the housing market that there was a bubble and it was going to disintegrate. They made away with billions crippling some of these institutions.

Here in Kenya

Back home here in Kenya, a couple of months after a Yale-educated governor rose to power; two banks were under receivership. I remember a customer coming into my desk and telling me, “Moses, I see Chase has been closed.”

That was a bit erratic from him. I thought he was just trying to be funny. And then Ali, a colleague, rushed into the banking hall asking me for the remote control. I ask him why. He said there is some breaking news brother. He switched the TV to one local station and there it was, boom, stranded customers with their monies stuck inside.

After a spate of other corruption-related behaviors of some politicians and bankers due to banking-related fraud and illegal activities such as money laundering, a career in banking is diminishing in value. Long-serving bankers are opting for entrepreneurship and business. Very few are seeking elective office because feel there is little difference between the two.

Although in some law abiding countries banking can be seen as a lucrative career for beginners. But in countries with less regard to the law like ours, the demands of a job in a bank maybe depressing. The devastating effect of the brown envelope can mean that you unwillingly lose your job for being a porn.

Which Career best Suit Me?

I have asked myself that question several times. There is no universal answer for that, and I don’t think I hold the key to your success. In fact, there is no key; it’s an open door. Get into what you enjoy doing and create a career out of it. Which society or club were you involved in while in high school? Did you like it? Do you think you can do it now?

I was admitted to do a course I didn’t like very much. But I decided to coil something out of it especially after a few years of experience in the corporate world.

I enjoyed the freedom to critic even the school administration. Thanks to the very able Patron Mr. Alex Kana.

But I remembered that in high school I spent time together with friends creating stories for journalism club, and now I realize maybe I was meant to be creating stories. Stories about business and finance because that is what I love doing. And sports too.

It is imperative that you consider what you enjoy doing. That particular thing that you will never get tired of doing. That thing that you can do without the motivation of money behind it. That is the best thing that you can do.

There are those who were build to do business; there are others who are good with wood work, there are those who are drivers and driving fascinates them, there are cooks whose don’t mind living and sleeping in the kitchen. Whatever thing you do, that is the best career for you. Even football. And by the way, career footballers are some of the highly paid individuals on this planet. Imagine being paid to kick leather woven substance around.

 

Letter to National Super Alliance NASA

Dear NASA

I am sincerely not buying your idea of unseating the incumbent regime. Your intentions are questionable and thus your morals. You launched your ambition with a rather overpublicized idealess event which was richly attended virtually by the poor with eyes glued to their screens. Your existence seems to have been designed not to last beyond nominations.  It is like your loosely attached hands will fall off your body the moment they realise your short sightedness. Your feet will stop walking at the realisation that your brain isn’t that brilliant.

I have heard of the connotations of your name NASA. Does it mean you want to jail the incumbent or you just want to prove a point? From my understanding, the bedrock of any political ideology must be the people, the citizenry. You seem to have a focus more on unseating the incumbent. I don’t think that I should think that you have an agenda for me.

The only thing I admire about you is your ability to bring ideological enemies (family supremacy) in the same room, on the same table and try to share the cake. That is commendable from you. I wonder how Tinga was able to fall into an affair with you. Tinga is an egoistic maniac with an innate desire to sooth his ego than serving the ever loyal population of Uyoma who are languishing in abject poverty. Did you know that your brain was part of Tinga in the other body before you were born?

I agree that the incumbent has had many failures than I expected. The incumbent has allowed looting to be an avenue to seeking political office. I agree that we need change. Change that will track down all the looters and bring them to justice. I think we need change that will restore public trust in the familiarised political system. My friend NASA, you need to understand that you are just a vehicle. But you are allowed to object to any assertions that you can be involved in family battles.

NASA, we live in a 21st-century world full of ill-informed literate criminals who steal from the poor, Such that the wealthy get richer and poor become miserably poorer. No one can break the false pretence of patriotism where private developers grab elementary school playing grounds, and the incumbent unconventionally puts five generations to come in debt. Then when a minute number of bold, loud-mouthed activists make noise, they are thrown behind bars. When they come out, they also aspire to bring change. When they get into the system; even the holier than thou clerics get corrupted.

Lastly, know that I tried my best to convey my message to you in the best way I can. I usually don’t hesitate to throw in a few F-words when I am pissed off. In the last paragraph above, I realised I was way out of line, and I decided that it should end here. My desire is you don’t die like your brother NARC and PNU. Oooh, and you should be aware that incumbent will apparently succumb if he manages to clinch the seat again. I hope you are different. And I don’t like you, and I don’t like your intentions as well.

What you need to do is to convince me that you have me in your plans. Otherwise just stop telling me about the incumbent and start telling me about you. I know who the incumbent is.

Sharing is the new Possession; Accessibility is the New Ownership 

Nelleke told me that in the Netherlands, students are ganging up in groups of four or five to own a car.  This is so because the entire country has taken up carbon emissions very seriously. She says, ” people will start wondering if a family or an individual has more than one car.”

It is even a shame for someone to drive alone in a vehicle especially a student. It’s more fun when you have friends with you than driving alone. She says riding a bicycle is a cool phenomenon for them. In western Kenya where I come from owning a bike is cherished. It’s even a career, but people make fun of my kins for keeping the tradition. Maybe they are the fairest and the environment there is cleaner.

If you can ACCESS it, then you OWN it

George owns a small 1500cc Nissan note which makes life easier for him. And for us too as colleagues. He finds so much fun in driving around town with a bunch of male colleagues than being on his own. He even asks before leaving the office in the evening if anyone is headed his direction. In this way, we contribute to the excellent course of reducing carbon emissions by each one of us not owning a car.

Its the same with public amenities like roads, schools, hospitals no single person can claim to own these resources because they are public resources. Everyone one owns the resources, and they are entitled to get service from it.

If you SHARE it, you POSSESS it.

I have been actively searching for a job, and you should have come across how indifferent my friends are about me resigning. In my quest, I flip skim through every single page of the local dailies, daily. I learnt a couple of lessons from the obituaries section.

  • Even the beautiful and the rich die. You can notice the space hired and quality of the picture. It costs more just find out.
  • There is a requiem mass for the rich also. Mostly at all saints cathedral
  • Fundraisers are also standard to cover for medical bills and burial expenses

The next common thing that happens is family starts court battles over the control of the deceased estate. In my village, they used to call it, kushtaki kaburi meaning they ask the court to help them divide he estate.

It would have been much easier if the rich shared their wealth with the family before they died. Someone will start accusing me of being insensitive and ignorant, but I will tell you one thing, it’s not fun to accumulate soooo much wealth to your name. It’s in fact what the wise man called vanity. It is so much fun when you make people around you happy than make them miserable to beg.

If you share you possess it. It doesn’t hurt to make others happy. It also helps conserve the environment.

Do you think you can share your ideas with others in the world? It is possible, You can start by starting your own blog here

 

I want to freelance but I have no guts

I decided to spend the weekend with my wife. She had been alone and lonely since our son went to visit his grandmother a week ago. Our son matters to her, she usually doesn’t need me around but this time, she did.

“Did you give the letter?” she asked as busied herself in the kitchen.

Late last month I embarked on an ambitious mission to quite my job, and I sort advice from friends who were indifferent on my desire to quit. I involved Joan in the talk, and she was ready for anything.

” I haven’t,” I answered. Joan then murmurs  “just stick in there for a month and wait for feedback from HR.”

The truth is I am scared, but I am sure this is what I want to do. I think my wife understands this because she says we find another job. Since I don’t want to disappoint her, (She is so lovely, lovable and loving and gentle, typical supportive traditional Kalenjin wife and a pain in the ass at times especially when referring if it is related past failed attempt to quit) I agree.

It didn’t take long. Joan was back on the couch. This whole time I was busy on the phone and the TV was on. I didn’t understand why I had to be on my blog monitoring analytics while she was there just there on the couch.

I realized that I usually write about her and she knows that. Lately, the first thing that comes out of her mouth before any conversation is “You will not write about this” and nod in agreement. But I write about not writing about a conversation we had. I do it perfectly, and she can’t pin me down. She has never asked me to pull a post down.

Here is real me and what I say when she is not listening. Fuck the blueprint which goes like this. Go to school, be obedient, study hard, pass exams, go to college, pass with first class honors, get out of college, get a job (get employed) find a nice girl, marry her have children, retire, then die (you cannot mention this in the blueprint)

Now listen! I went to school to play. The school owned a large chunk of land with acres of space for all sorts of games. There were other children, a lot of them, to play with and this is what took me to school in the first place. I had my agenda at age 7 for joining nursery school which I attend for a term. I spent precious time playing and then I graduated to the next class and then my head teacher realized that if he sat on me, I would be his shining star. I hated that feeling of responsibility of making me an ideal pupil.

And then there was the high school. I went to two different high schools. The first one wasn’t serious (eventually, the school was shut down the year I left), so my guardian took me to the other one which was more strict about education. A local mega-church owned the school. In this school is where I that learned that even pastors get hooked to drugs.

Then I did my O-level, and I passed. Everything seemed to follow the god damn blueprint. I didn’t have an alternative.  I went to college and ate, played volleyball and slept. So I met Joan on the pitch playing. I left college and got a contract, then got employed and I stopped playing. Then Joan was here, and then the Ethan was here.

I feel I am a rebel and being tied to 8 to 5 job makes me less productive. I love freedom. I enjoy tasks that allow me to work at my own pace and utilize personal skills while teasing my brain. I love to be a freelancer but I am scared to quit. I will eventually quit though.

I am Disorganised But she Still loves Me

This post is in response to Daily Prompt: Clean. This post won’t have photos (because I can’t break two rules. I will break one rule which is not to write about her) apart from a few links to take you around. Pssss! My wife cannot know I wrote about her so don’t share. I will give it raw unedited.

I married (this word is just here for you to read. I haven’t done what I am supposed to do) an honest traditional Kalenjin girl I met on campus. She is so traditional; I wish you could see the first day she met my family. The magnitude of submission literally swept mother off her feet. Anyway, who does that these days?

I sometimes pinched myself during the nine months before our son’s birthday. Do you know how difficult it is to walk around with evidence of sex while the other partner sinks in the couch as if nothing happened? Women are unique.

I witnessed her life gradually shift gears while we were expectant.She had an athletic body, but it all changed. I usually tell her to take two years off and train intensively and go for one major marathon and win, and our life would take 180-degree turn. She says I am better than her. So not all Kalenjins run, I authoritatively know because I am married to one.

She wouldn’t accompany me to my usual sports pub to watch football anymore. She used to be an Arsenal fan until we met. When she was not working, she spent time sleeping. She would complain that he (Ethan) was kicking her from inside. I couldn’t do anything rather than just watch. Now I spank my son when he insists on peeing on the couch. At least I can do something now.

She looked vulnerable yet so strong and bold both in her character and physique. She went to the office throughout the three-quarters of the year like nothing had happened, and at times I was scared. I felt guilty of what I had done. She loved me more during that period than she does now: I am not complaining.

She knows my struggles, my highs and my lows, my strengths and then there is the WEAKNESSESes. We work in different cities, and I know she can see my room and the level of hygiene from 300 miles away. She doesn’t complain of my weaknesses but applauds me when I try to overcome. She doesn’t criticize my failures but keeps it somewhere in her subconscious to exploit when I become a pain the ass. She also turns out to a real pain …….

I am a poor shopper and she knows. But I when I try she says I got taste. Really? I don’t have much of facial hair, but it looks appalling.Just like scattered trees in semi-arid areas of the Northern Rift. I am baldheaded or say I am becoming one so I look scary when I don’t shave. I wonder why she even calls me sweetheart? Because I honestly don’t remember calling her sweetheart. But she does.

I told her I wouldn’t write about her and she said no way. I said I wouldn’t write about her and I am not writing about her anymore.

How to ask help from a Girl you Admire

​I tried to take alcohol so I write this when I’m not sober. I wanted to spill the beans so that my friend Kevo understands I was under the influence. And then he drunk all my money. He gave me a wrong pin so I couldn’t swipe his card. So in the end I was a broke ass who could only write while sober.

My friend’s weird perception of love struck me that day. It kept me cracking my thoughts for some days. Kevo truly loves this girl. He actually confessed. From the face value, the girl seems to like Kevo. I haven’t been exposed to her for long but her smile, tone, body language clearly indicated she liked him.

“Hello (girl’s name), how are you? We were coming down from the eleventh floor and we decided to pop in and say hi. I hope we didn’t interrupt.” He lied straight in to her face in my presence. He lied to the girl and I knew he wanted me to blend in. And since we agreed on many things, I played along.

“No no no. You didn’t interrupt. In fact thank you for popping in.” She is excited.

She hugs him. He hugs back. I notice a broken professional distance. A wide smile and an overly excited face. There is something between the two of them. Kevo knows. Or maybe the girl is just too nice. I never got a hug, neither was I willing to get one.

I get nervous because I am just standing there. The truth is I forced him to go. He never wanted to but because he is my friend he decided to introduce me. My wife is texting and I can’t keep up with the two conversations. I am a man. I just can’t multitask. I prioritize.

I slide my phone back in to my right pocket. I look at the door and decide to interrupt an already shifting conversation.

“You have interesting name (pointing at the company logo on the door). What do you do?” I knew what they did. We had this conversation before we decided to go. So I lied.

She looks my way. He looks this way too. My phone vibrates again. My wife is texting again and I feel offended. I tell her I can’t think properly. I ask her to give me a moment. She says no. I ignore her and concentrate on what is at hand.

“We consult on HR. We hire for firms that do not want the hustle of managing employees” She says with a rather less official voice. Of course this wasn’t an official visit. We just popped in. I node in agreement.

“So you can hire me. I am actively looking for a placement.” I told with an expectant face.

She says jokingly, “Yea why not. Just drop in your resume then I will see what I can do”

She definitely thinks I am not serious. But I am damn serious. The job is why we are here in the first place. Kevo doesn’t want to be there because he has a soft spot for her. She seems to be aware and she torments him with her smile and body language. He is sweating and desperate to get out of the awkward situation

He looks shy and unease. Then I take two steps away from them. The Kevo knows it’s time to go. If I didn’t do that, he would have accepted a date which he never wanted to accept.

So she tells him, “Remember to call please”

He says, “ABSOLUTELY”

She opens the doors and gets in to the office. Kevo take quick steps wrapping his feeble arms acros his chest. He scrstches himself on the back. Thats usual kevos behaviour when he is not okay. But this time he smiles and gives me a high five and says;

“You are a genius. How were you able to sneak in your job agenda? I couldn’t figure out how to tell her we were looking for a job”

I tell him that I noticed he lied about being at 11th floor so I was on high alert. For the lies to be consistent I had to lie that I didn’t know what they did.

I ask him whether he is sweating. He says no but his hands are wet. I tell him it must be very hot in Mombasa now. He bends his head and laughs. We walk away as we continued reminiscing the moments.

Kevo says he does not want to get involved with the girl. I asked him why and he said because he loved her. I told him that was a good thing. He shakes his head.

“I don’t want to be trapped. I like her and that is why. It is better when I don’t like her. The moment we get involved I  do what ever she wants. So I will keep distance forever.”

My friends are indifferent: involving others before you quit your job

I intend to quit my job partly because I have been quitting for a while now and I am not productive where I am. You know why? I am scared. I am used to my monthly pay. I can’t imagine a life without it. Even my wife knows my payday and she makes her plans with my money (well, our money) but I am okay with that.

So I call her Wednesday morning.

“Hey, I don’t want this job anymore and I am resigning”

She says okay.

I am not convinced with her answer. She agreed so fast. She questions most of the time. But I have nothing else to tell her. Silence. Then silence again. I hang up.

I Skype my friend Bruce. I tell him the same statement and he doesn’t respond. I wait but I decide to tell my colleague David that I am resigning.

He is freaked out. He says “Moses NO. You can’t resign now”

I tell him I want to go. I am tired and I am being unfair to my employer because I am not being productive enough. My manager won’t be happy at the end of this week because I know I won’t have met the target her gave me.

David says, “You will be desperate and I feel it’s not the right move”

I am irritated. I think he is not in my shoes. He continues to text while I delete them without responding.

 

I am not a journalist. So my boss won’t applaud me for going and coming back with a story. Only numbers

So I call my college roommate. He quit and he understands me better.

We had a lot to catch up with. Our conversation swayed to Obamas exit speech. Then I tell him I want to quit. He welcomes the idea.

“You have overstayed. You should have left a year ago. I wonder what you are doing there” He tells me with excitement.

I could tell that I just woke him up. He never lacks words when I seek his opinion.

I tell him I am scared. He says there is nothing to be scared of. He drafts a quick verbal exit plan for me and we agree that end month is the end.

My phone beeps. Ooh its Bruce. He just Skyped back and guess what he tells me.

“I am looking for a part-time job as well. Do you want to lecture?” In my mind I wonder why he says that while I am desperate.

I tell him “Absolutely YES. I have been looking for tutorial fellow opportunity without success”

He laughs out loud (isn’t that the meaning of lol!)

He says he lost contact and the ones he maintained all left to start business and the other moved to another city.

My spirits surges. My phone beeps again. This time it’s my wife. She tells me Josh just called. I’m elated. That seems good news. Josh is my wife colleague.

“The guy he contacted promised to get back to him today. He says he hopes the outcome is positive”

I am sick of positive messages. I just want a way out.

“it’s okay” I text her back and tried to focus. Then it hits me back that I am at work and need to be working.

Jobs that leave an impact: I want mine back

I worked with an organization which was committed to alleviating poverty through small loans. The target population was developing nations with infrastructure that would support this initiative at its incubation. It was my job to make sure that the loans are directed to the right people. I was lucky to be the system.

I was required to track their well-being and document their progress to make sure that the impact was real and not fiction. My job lasted a year within which I interacted with poor women and men who were struggling day and night to feed not only their families but also extended families.

I was young but I saw these older women sit around me seeking for advice and any information that could me their lives better. Loan applications would come in, I would do call backs and at times visit applicants to listen to their stories. I would go to the remotest areas that I had never been before. It’s part of my life that will never fade in my memory.

There was language barrier but somehow I managed to communicate. One time Nelleke visited. She is Dutch but she would effectively communicate in English. I was good with English and Swahili and the women understood Swahili buy responded in their native Giriama.  I documented their stories and it was amazing what these small loans was doing in their lives. Oh, and who invented m-pesa? That was genius

Below are some insights I got from poverty and inequality report 2016 by the World Bank. You should find the report and read it. Although poverty levels have reduced since early 90’s, subsharan Africa recorded the lowest number of people lifting themselves out of poverty.

Some Asian countries which were way poorer than sub Saharan Africa registered the highest number of people living above the poverty line in the same period. But there is a concern. Incone inequality has caught the eye of the world. The gap has been expanding and entrenched corruption pulling efforts to kick poverty out.

Do you know that in 2015, the wealth of 62 individuals equaled the entire bottom half of the world population? Let me rephrase that. If people are ranked from the wealthiest to poorest, the first 62 wealthiest individuals’ wealth would be equal to those of the bottom half. That is mind boggling how unequal the world is. The World Bank in its report says, it’s worse in Africa.

How do you know that you are poor?

You are living below the poverty line. This means that you are living below $1.90 per day. Let’s bring it home. If you are living below 200 shillings a day then you are extremely poor. And don’t tell me you and your family consumes Sh. 600 per day. This measure is sh. 200 per person per day. Do the math and find out where you are headed economically and whether you need to wake up or continue fighting for presidential candidate of choice.

Other characteristics include rural, young uneducated, working in the agricultural sector and live among extended family. Those in urban areas live in informal settlements (slums) with no dependable jobs or businesses.