Having watched ‘American Gangster’ over the weekend then spent a couple of trips around town with a major business player, you get to understand why a certain group of people with mundane jobs can get so wealthy.
It’s understandable how the police do it (roadside bribes), but you can also bodyguards, drivers, personal assistants (PA’s) and even secretaries to that list
They are not necessarily corrupt but they are around centre of power and power players and have a chance to observe. By working closely supporting business and political leaders, they are unique situated to be around when the big deals happen, know what major developments are taking place and are able to spot arbitrage opportunities before anyone else.
Focus on drivers: They are in the company of ministers and other business leaders who talk deals in the cars and over their phones. Like the Frank Lucas character (played by Denzel Washington) in the movie American Gangster, drivers/bodyguards their bosses to meetings and get to see secret deals/big investments develop made by their boss whether it’s a new block of apartments, factory or even a new mistress. They also overhear conversations between the boss and engineer/architect/banker who’s sometimes in the car or over the phone as the boss dashes to/from meeting these same people.
The boss may be buying a building, but his driver may buy a small piece of land in the area or drop a line to a distant buddy to make another small deal. They observe secrets and learn skills at the same time.
Also bosses are human and have a compulsion to brag and backbite like all the rest of us – discussing with their driver the merits or demerits of an ongoing investment, or whether the person who has just hung up is a genius or an imbecile.
So it’s no surprise when a driver retires, he often has a sawmill, matatu or two, and three pieces of land or buildings, with wives scattered all over the country to manage them
His boss never groomed him and he never waited for Christmas or when the bosses’ good fortune sparked a feeling of goodwill and generosity that made him throw some crumbs at his henchmen.
So the driver creates a mini-empire silently over time to cater for his/her retirement, completely legitimate and by one who uses an opportunity to the maximum.
Rob Parsons, the renowned author, lawyer, and motivational speaker gave talk on work-life balance that people must achieve in order to be happy, productive, workers i.e. by balancing time between their families and their careers. Some of his pointers:
– There are no slow days. Don’t ever say when you achieve you will sow done and devote time to your family once you achieve or attain A, B, or C. You will never slow down
– Don’t work so hard to give your children what you never had, that you forget to give them what you had
– Hire smart people (ala Richard Branson) – to give yourself time to think and remain creative
– No phone call is so important that it can’t wait for ten minutes for you to finish attending to your family first.
– You’re not irreplaceable at work even if you think you are. Your company can and will likely go on and do very well without you.
– Do something meaningful that you’ve always wanted to do today – as you never know if it could be your last day or breath.
– More leading companies are acknowledging the importance of giving their employees sufficient time to attend to family matters i.e. achieve a work-life balance
This afternoon I had an interview with a company about a website – and my concept was for the company to incorporate a blog to generate interest in the website and market the company better to its diverse customers, many of who accesses its products over the internet.
I mentioned that other corporations were doing this now and it gave a human face to their communications from CEO’s to customer service people.
I don’t know if my idea went over well, and I hope that I was wrong in my feeling afterwards that some of the panel appeared to have that we already have a website, blogu kitu gani? face.
After such a session, you are always very critical of yourself. During question time, I wanted to instead rush back to one or two points I had just remembered. And even taking the stairs down afterwards, I wanted to go back to the conference room and give them another 3 or 4 points that I had forgotten to mention that would strengthen my case.
Oh well, see how it goes. It was a very nice company, good to work with, and appears to have a nice work culture, and a very laid back (low bureaucracy) atmosphere.
from the daily papers this week
Manager at the Carnivore restaurant Nairobi. Apply to firstname.lastname@example.org
Classic Camps: chief accountant, senior accountant(s), sales & marketing manager sales executive(s), executive assistant. Apply to email@example.com by 15/11
Commercial Bank of Africa: (i) internal audit manager [Ref: AM-BR] (ii) internal auditor [IA-BR] (iii) account relationship manager, corporate banking [ARM-CB] (iv) account relationship manager, business banking unit [ARM-BBU]. Apply to firstname.lastname@example.org by 21/11
Communications commission of Kenya: Supply, deliver, install and maintain solar energy solutions st CCK sites in Taiita Taveta, Isilolo, Suba and Thika districts. Submissions to email@example.com by 13/12
Communications professional at DFID. Request an application form from firstname.lastname@example.org and reply to email@example.com by 1/12
Property valuer at Housing Finance. Apply to firstname.lastname@example.org by 20/11
ILRI aka international livestock research institute. (i) Internal audit manager (ii) resource mobilization officer (iii) help desk administrator. Apply to email@example.com by 24/11
Law Society of Kenya: advocates to consult on current professional development of lawyers, review the conduct process (standards & ethics) in place and make proposals on the same. Apply to firstname.lastname@example.org by 24/11
McCann Erickson: (i) general manager (ii) account director. Apply to Emily.Mutua@scangroup.biz
National Museums of Kenya: (i) director, development & corporate affairs (ii) director, institute of primate research (iii) director, administration & HR (iv) director(s) (3) museum sites & monuments – for central, western and coast regions of Kenya. Apply to email@example.com by 30/11
Internal audit manager at Oserian.a apply to firstname.lastname@example.org by 22/11
Logistics manager at Oxfam. Apply to email@example.com by 22/11
Practical Action aka intermediate technology development group: (i) program officer [technical support] (ii) program officer [financial support]. Apply to firstname.lastname@example.org by 24/11
Royal Media Services (i) ICT assistant (ii) ICT technician. Apply to email@example.com by 24/11
Sotik Tea (i) engineering manager (ii) field assistants/management trainees. Apply to firstname.lastname@example.org by 24/11
One reasons employers in the US like Kenyan [and other (il)legal African] workers is that they have the basis “soft skills” to functions as employees, something that many Americans lack – e.g. punctuality, a willingness to accept supervision, ability to work in a group, reading and math skills and speaking & listening habits.