There is a scene in the movie Nairobi Half Life where the naive Mwas
is sent by Oti to Dingo,to ask him for a job.In the true shagzmondo
style,Mwas tells Dingo,”ninatafuta ka life” they all laugh at him and
tell him that they do not sell life,(by the way if you have not
watched NHL,do not trust the subtitles,they are totally
gross,sheng is less blunt)Staying on the topic,a couple of years ago,I
was like Mwas,not an aspiring actor who later turns into a thug but a
person with tunnel dreams looking for a ka -life.
After form four,i was ready to take the world by storm.I was so sure
that i would get a job immediately,and save the December and January
pay and help my sister enroll to form one.Life from there would be
rolling in money living like a pimp.I was not only wrong but i was so
Three days after doing the last k.c.s.e paper,I was already
looking for a job,I saw an opportunity in a local daily and decide to
pounce on it.A small caption gave details of a job,I can not even
remember what it said,only thing i remember is how fast my blood was
rushing when i saw the salary,3500/= per week…i went berzing!
I phoned the company and i was offered an interview the following day.
I went to my brother and asked him for bus fare because i was going
for a very important job interview.He being a little street wise than
me,saw my naivety but did not try to stop me.He gave me the money.I
could not sleep that night i was very excited,my life was about to
change depending on how things were going to go the following day.
Early the following day i went to town,Kijabe street at the East
African Publishers,first floor.I found three other people waiting.The
interviews were short,i did not wait long i was ushered by a secretary
with an attitude that just needed wining and dinning.The manager sat
behind a small desk,in a small stuffy office,the office did not have
any other furniture.I wondered where i would have to work from if i
got the job.He asked me a few questions.He told me that if i loved
talking to people that i had the job,it was a sales job,I was happy to
get it,i thought it was a call centre like the one in Outsourced(by
the way if you haven’t watched Outsourced,go sell your t.v and buy
Having earned the crown of noise maker in high school,i knew
talking and getting paid for it would be a cup of tea.
The following day i woke up and got ready to go work,i had been told
that the first two days would be orientation.i was ready,i am a fast
learner.I found so many people at the office,”its a call centre,so
many people are needed”i thought.
We were ushered in an empty room with no seats and the manager came in
to teach us how to talk to potential clients,i was still expecting
that afterwards we would go in an office with seats,tables,and
telephones.The manager gave us a lengthy talk about pitching
products,after introducing me and two other guys and a chic who had
passed the interview.He then assigned us to our orientators,i was
paired with a chic called Joan,she was among the best sales people in
the office.We were then dismissed.I thought we were going to the
offices probably housed in another building,We walked all the way to
Sheria House where Joan and another sales chic called Esther left me
there to wait for them.They took thirty minutes.When they came back,we
went to Nyayo House,this time round they allowed me
to tag along.My mind was racing,i was offended,how dare they leave me
out of an office for thirty minutes then ask me to follow them to
another building.I told them to take me to the office and orientate me
from there.They were genuinely shocked.
“What office?”,Joan asked.
“si the one…”,there i was looking so dumb trying to explain
something i did not even have a clue of.
They explained to me that there was no office,Joan opened her big hand
bag and showed me all sorts of kitchen ware.That was the
merchandise,and we were supposed to sell them and get a commission on
each product.The 3500/= salary had to be earned by selling the wares.
My jaw dropped,how now?i thought i had been duped by Andrew,(manager)
He should have told me!Well,i decided not to quit yet,Joan and Esther
assured me that indeed i could make more than the agreed amount,i just
needed to be very determined,serious and aggressive.After two days of
orientation i was ready to make 3500/= a day!
The first days i would be given simple wares to sell,like pen
holders,flash lights,spoons,plates and cups.Flasks and other things
were given to people who would make up to 8000/= in sales in a day.I
would walk in an office and introduce myself,give a quick pitch and
add all the things i could think of in the world to sell my
products.For a whole week i sold nothing,people had no money.I was not
ready to give up.I would go every where.i would enter every single
building in town and beyond,i would walk all the way to Kenyatta
hospital to pitch to nurses during lunch hour..Some days i would go
home empty handed tired,hungry and so disappointed.Other days i would
make six hundred shillings in commission and for a day.Things were
This cycle went on for three weeks,till the day i walked into Bruce House, a building
near city hall that houses the Malawian High commissioner and got
arrested by the security guys officer and almost got handed over
to the city council.
I have never hawked again!