Chasing the Dollar

Me: Seems you are enjoying your job?

Him: I love my job. That I can tell you. I love it!

Me: That’s great.

I have had many taxi drivers chauffeur me to different places but that is the first one I encountered with such an attitude towards his job. Mostly they would complain about the traffic jam, how the parent company is squeezing their earnings, how some customers are not courteous, and many more whining short stories you would think they are not making any money at the end of the day.

But this one? He was a different one. Turns out he is a graduate. IT specialist. But doing taxi business. And this does not bother him. It does not lower his self-esteem. He is happy to be doing something to put bread on the table and afford a roof over his head. He tells me that he is not alone in this business: accountants are in it, engineers, economists etc. Not sure if lawyers and doctors were mentioned though. But that is neither here nor there. He is among the few who have taken the road less traveled. I admired his ability to get out of the comfort zone, go out there and sweat it out in order to get the almighty dollar (shilling).

Some of the youths are also engaged in meaningful activities, which most did not anticipate to ‘fall’ into after completing their university education. Included here is hawking coffee and cakes to all manner of customers more so during the cold weather, in the morning and evening. Others do errands for the busy office-dwellers. Car wash services, selling boutique, freelance work etc. The list is endless. All these should be honored for helping reduce the unemployment rate amongst the youth in the country. No?

Most often than not, majority of us would go to school and after graduation start our moving from one office to another carrying our CVs in brown envelopes. Hoping that a company would hire us. That we would use that company to showcase our skills and prove to the world that indeed education is the greatest equalizer in the society. Then shock hits us so hard on our faces we stagger back. Some fall on the wayside – drugs, suicidal thoughts, withdrawal from society/friends and depression engulf them while others steady themselves and start somewhere and with patience and an undying heart, they conquer the shock and emerge victorious some day in the future. Truth is that a small percentage (okay, small is relative. So yes, let’s say 0.5%) of those graduating will opt voluntarily out of employment offers. The rest of us we dig in for any opportunity to get employed.

And there is nothing wrong with being employed. It should not be used as a subject to demean others. Especially those who mock the employed. They need to consider that the employed form the biggest base of customers for the products or services being offered by those in their own ventures. Remember that at some point those in business will require assistance, and therefore will need to employ personnel for their firm, farm or business. Other times the business goes down and the investments, savings and assets go down the drain, and the only option remaining might be an employment opportunity. Don’t throw the baby with the bath water (not sure this cliché is appropriate here though). Please don’t walk around wearing that mask of “I don’t answer to any boss” and make those in employment feel as though they are in this deep mess only the Saviour can redeem them. We are all in the pursuit of better living and getting the next dime into our pockets.

And so I admire those that get off their comfort zones (in this current world, can you term anything as comfortable? Anything?) and start something, keep it rolling and escape from being a statistic of start-up failures. Because the failure rate of a start-up ventures is quite high in this country, this economy, more so considering majority if not all of us have put a firm break on consumption of luxuries. This is not backed up by any data/study therefore you may not use this argument in any serious academic discourse, or when you are defending your point of departure before serious academia people, lest you be considered a dwarf in your theoretical dispensation (makes sense?)

Great initiatives should be applauded, not because they are grandeur in nature but because they make someone eat from his/her sweat. And there is no satisfaction greater than eating from the hard work of your hands. Example is the youth who shows up every evening or morning at the bus stage, flask in hand, disposable cups and all manner of snacks in his bag ready to serve you with hot coffee or tea as you wait for the bus. Though I am yet to take any of this coffee, am sure it is always well done – otherwise he/she would not get customers in the subsequent days. {Reminds me of one time in our local market a scrupulous guy brought cabbages to sell but they were reeking of spray (pesticides). Nobody bought any and they vowed to burn the wares next time. The story is that he has never stepped there again.} We need to encourage these youths by buying what they are selling – this here is a note to self.

By the way, if you are engaged in any entrepreneurial venture and start selling us poison, you deserve to be thrown in a bottomless pit. How inhuman can you become? Just to make some few coins. Then mess up with generations. This greed needs to stop – and whom am I addressing? Sorry, this forum is for sober, well-adjusted individuals. But we have all noticed some moral degradation regarding the sale of consumables to unsuspecting customers. And not just consumables, even other merchandise is becoming faked by the day and branded as the original. Well, I guess being a moral cop is not in my cap but for the sake of humanity, why not do clean business? Why?

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