Category Archives: career development


Interpreting a local American Gangster

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.

Achieving a work- life balance

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

Good to be Kenyan

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.

Job Scan

There are no bank jobs this Friday, but a few financial postings. There are also audit and accounting jobs (too many to list here), which might be a reflection of the times, as companies are paying more attention to corporate governance and audit issues.

Managing Director, National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation: must be an engineer with 15 years experience, write to the Company Secretary P. O. Box 30173 Nairobi – deadline omitted.

Forensic Divisional Director, KPMG. Must have CPA, ACCA or law degree and at least 5 years forensic or investigation exp. Deadline is 28 Jan and contacts at


(1) Business analyst corporate financial services at Nairobi office. Must have account/finance degree and 2 or more years exp, aged 25 – 28 years. Contact

(2) Consultant Corporate financial services, Kampala office. Must have MBA and or CPA/CFA/ACCA, aged 27 – 30 years and have 2 – 4 years experience. Contact

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Finance, Administration and Planning at Daystar University. Applicants must have PHD and at least 10 years similar experience at another university. D/L is Feb 11; write to the VC P. O. Box 44400-00100 Nairobi

Finance Officer

Kenyatta University: Must have 10 years exp, BCOM and CPA Deadline Jan 28

Deputy financial controller at an international standards hotel in Nairobi: applicants must have at least 3 years exp in a similar position at another hotel, and must have attained a salary of you’re earning 90,000 Kenya pounds (150,000 shillings per month) to be eligible. Contact: TS1672, P. O. Box 49990-00100 Nairobi.

Credit controller, Aga Khan Hospital. Must have at least 5 years exp, preferably in the health sector. D/L 28 Jan, contact

Upcoming Urban Crisis

The government will soon have a crisis on its hands following its failure to deliver on its promise of 500,000 jobs. Since there are no jobs, individuals are creating their own jobs as vendors or hawkers, selling all kinds of services. And since they set up shop where the market is, the city treats them as a nuisance. Recently, the Government has tried to crack down on beach boys at the Coast, hawkers, matatu gangs (route managers) and now

telephone operators who sell phone calls under umbrellas for as little as 5 shillings. Of course, the mother of all issues is kiosks – and is there a Minister in the government with enough muscle to tackle kiosks? Then there’s another outlet for the frustrated and unemployed: crime.