James Karagu, commonly known in close circles as Jemo, is a recent graduate from an institution of higher learning in Kenya; having pursued BSc. Statistics. Before finishing college and graduating James was upbeat about getting a job and being a respected man in society. Apparently, back then in campus, he was dating a beautiful woman from central Kenya by the nickname shiro. They were looking forward to get married immediately they completed their studies.
After their graduation, the two love birds parted ways with full of promises to one another to keep in touch and always make a point of meeting often. His girlfriend Shiro studied Journalism and Mass communication and looked forward to be a journalist with a reputable media company.
Jemo left for the city, Nairobi while Shiro left for central Kenya in Nyeri. However, after graduation and the joy of finishing school, all was not rosy as they had both anticipated. On arriving in the city, James settled at a friend’s place that was kind enough to accommodate him. His friend had finished college two years earlier and was making quite some good money in the city out of hawking. The money he earned could pay his rent, buy food and pay bills and afford extra coins to save and also sent to his mama upcountry.
Surprisingly, James friend, had studied Biochemistry back in college; but after “tarmacking” and job-hunting for one and half years, he resolved to be his own boss and give self-employment a try. Lucky for James, he had a friend who could shelter him as he went about in search of jobs. Every morning, James would wake up as early as 6.am but not as early as his friend who wakes up at 5 am to go about his business.
James would wake up, take a shower, neatly press his shirt and trouser and add on a blue tie compounded with shiny black shoes and head out in such of a job. He had drafted a mind- blowing CV, prepared academic certificates and any other arsenal that would sell him to the highest bidder.
On the other hand, her girlfriend Shiro, had tried her luck too in getting a job. Lucky for her, she secured a well-paying internship with a local radio station in Nyeri.They kept in touch with James as two people who love one another usually do.
On the contrary, James was getting frustrated by the day. Some of his job applications went unanswered, and the future looked gloom and dark. His close friend was also beginning to feel the heat of hosting a jobless graduate.
One Monday morning, instead of heading out for the routine job- hunting, James chose to sit around and reflect upon his actions. He pondered at length whether searching for a job was worthwhile given the high number of graduates who were also hunting for jobs. He looked at his close friend and realized he was not formally employed with a white collar job and salary yet could make ends meet. James realized in that moment of reflection, a job was simply a temporal solution to a permanent problem. He needed to do something quick and fast going forward to be economically viable. A torrent of ideas started flowing into Jame’s head. Instantly and simultaneously, he thought of hawking, car washing, freelancing, blogging, mitumba (second-hand clothes) business.
After much deliberation, James opted to run a blog, given he had a laptop and could afford bundles for internet connection. However, that was never to start soon since James faced quite a number of options to prioritize from. Firstly, a financial firm had offered him a job with a pay little less than what his hawker friend was taking home (ksh.35,000).The firm promised him room for career development, allowances and other benefits.
Secondly, his girlfriend from campus was getting restless and wanted James to make up his mind whether they were wasting time together in the name of love or what James was thinking about. Thirdly, an uncle of James back in the village had called him, and he wanted James to travel upcountry so that he could work as a cashier in his mini-supermarket. These options all presented themselves to John at the same time frame. It became quite difficult for John to know what path he should follow.
When his hawker friend, arrived back at home from an exhaustive working day, he found his friend James, frustrated and confused. James was spoilt for choice and did not know what was best for him.
Nevertheless, his friend was always there for him when he needed a sense of direction. James friend advised him to choose what was best for him at the time. In other words, James was told to put his priorities right. The conversation from the two men went for hours on end amidst short call breaks and water sippage to quench dry throats.
Unfortunately many graduates in Kenya today are in no position to make choices they wish they could make but only take what is given.
On the contrary, all is not lost for young Kenyan graduates because James friend is a shining star against high rates of unemployment in Kenya today.
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