…On Employment around Here 

A friend posted an excerpt from a book on the various stages of employment and I noticed that the case study was of a married man. So I thought I should try to share the little I have come to observe as a youth in this country from a more generic perspective. 

PS: Here is not just a physical space, it’s a situation. 

After the glorious ministerial blunder yesterday, I can’t stop thinking about the issue related to employment. At the risk of sounding cocky again, I will not talk about unemployment since work has always found its way to me. I happen to know people who know people who know people who need people like me. I don’t know how the rest of the “98%” of Rwandans got employed. Maybe the minister will tell us with a softer tone this time. Yeah? 

That said, allow me please to share with you some of the observations I have made in my 10 years of employment. That’s many years at the service of companies in which you have absolutely zero legacy. So what do I have after 10 years? Well, pieces of a broken sports car and lots of debts. What did I do with the money? Well, I used it to have a certain lifestyle. I could have bought a house? Maybe but I prefer spending my money on experiences rather than things. These experiences make me happy. To each their own. All I know is that no one can take away all the beautiful memories and great people I shared bits of my time with at Planet Kbc, Cadillac, Abraxas, Iguana, Bubbles and all the places that allowed my spirit to laugh. But if a house is what makes you happy, go for it! I just don’t think it’s fair to think that your goal should be everyone else’s. 

But I digress. So let’s dive into what I believe is currently happening in the employment world around here. 

1: Finding Employment 

a. The hunt

The youth does not run around with ‘j’ai l’honneur” envelopes like in the past (I believe it’s called “I hereby” since the switch) because not only they gave up after realizing you do not find jobs around here but they find you– either through family or friends connections or internet connection when you’re lucky to apply in a company that still believes in ethics. 

b. The establishment 

Once the person has a job, they will spend the first year proving they deserve to be in the position, which can be quite confusing– how (not) to speak to the boss, how to keep your job by pleasing everybody, how to look like your job. The latter is the most expensive as one will spend lots of money on clothes, eating and hanging out in places that are way beyond their means just to “reflect” a certain status. Why is it important? Only those who come from nothing would understand. And so, this has lots of consequences on your finances, on which you are not educated. After all who would educate you? You could be the first person from your village to make it that far as a bank teller. And don’t get me wrong a bank teller is a very respected job, until we fill the city with enough ATM’s to do the job. You know the drill! If not, talk to former konvayeri about the Tap To Pay system in the buses. Beautiful! 

Stage 2: Adjustment 

At this stage, the person has learned all the tricks about keeping the job and more comfortable. However, every month their finances get worse because the need of validation and peer pressure makes them spend even more on things they don’t need. Adjusting means reducing on the outings and to break the pattern, guess what is the solution? Marriage because apparently it makes us more responsible thus stable. Whoever came up with such BS, Bravo!! 

Stage 3: Entrepreneurship 

After five years in employment and being told repetitively “You can be your own boss”, the person begins to look for business ideas. Usually google does it but then they need to be tested on those smart friends whom everyone praises but no one has a clue what they do for a living. It would take a “Go for it, get a loan and start!” and there the business plan is taken to the bank, which will approve if you speak good English and hang out with the bank’s unit managers. Meanwhile you’ve registered the business and printed business cards. You are now a CEO without an office or staff. At least you are a CEO and it makes the stats look good! Then what happens when the bank offers you the loan? You ball! Damn right! You buy a nice car and party because anyway, you’re smart and will make the money in no time. What you don’t realize is that the market is very volatile and nothing is for certain. Your list of “Most Successful Businesspeople in Rwanda” has probably shrunk at the time the issue was released. Lots of businesses have failed and no one wants to tell you why. Let me give you a tiny little example. Let’s say you open a small restaurant and by the time you equip it, renovate the space, you get notified that a road has to go through the space asap because we’re expecting a delegation from I don’t know where and they’ll need a new road or the area becomes a car-free zone. BAM! First shocker! But you’re strong and have some money left, so you move the business to another area that does not have your target audience. Now you are struggling to pay rent because it’s damn expensive for no freakin reason- There’s rarely running water and you have very limited parking space. At this point you don’t have much choice, your family has grown and so have the needs. Life gets harder by the day, the bank pressure rises, and eventually you decide to go back to employment so you can provide for your family while the business pays for its loan. You put a family member in charge but since they have no management skills, the business dies. You become blacklisted by banks, the business assets cannot be auctioned but the bank can console itself but hurting your feelings though– how about your portrait wanted for unpaid loan in a newspaper or inside the bank premises. That is a direct attack to your dignity and you cannot allow that to happen. So you leave the country as a solution because what can you do without money and credibility in a tiny environment where everyone knows about everyone, huh? 

Think about it 😉

Oh in all this I did not mention that RRA will be your companion throughout the process forever. You can leave, but taxes will never leave ya! As a matter of fact, they will grow behind your back as you grow older. 

#1Key 1Love

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