Village ties that could derail my career growth

I was not about to start being the devil’s advocate so I let the group cheer him on. FILE PHOTO | NMG
I was not about to start being the devil’s advocate so I let the group cheer him on. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

I have been mulling over my conversation with the HR manager last week. I must say that I am somewhat flattered that there are people who think that I am leadership material and who think I can aspire to higher office. 

I had a conversation with Shiro about the issue and I was taken aback by her reaction.  She said, “Babes, I think that is good news and I definitely think you should position yourself for consideration.”

This sounded like complicated manoeuvres and I asked her, “what does position for visibility mean?” She said, “You need to make sure the decision makers know what you are working on, let them know of your successes and really sell yourself.”

The truth of the matter is that I really struggle with the politics and schmoozing that comes with wanting high office, but I knew that Shiro would not entertain my misgivings.

So, to end the discussion and manage the potential of debate I said, “I like your advice, I will seriously consider it.”

Speaking of politics, I received a call from one of my cousins who recently ran for the MCA seat in the village. To be honest, I have never met the guy and have only relied on information from my father who seems delighted that one of our family members is now a man of power and influence. 

As soon as I picked up the call, my cousin loudly greeted me saying, “Jose, my boy! This is your cuzo Sileo!” I was not sure whether to be tickled or annoyed by his over familiarity and his calling me a boy.

He started off by telling me about his vision for the village and talking about how he was able to trounce his rivals because he had “vision and strategy.”

He then went on talk about all the things he is planning for our village and how he needs “people like you who want a good future for our village.”

I did not understand where he got the thinking from but I decided to keep quiet and let him go on. Finally, he got to the purpose of the conversation. He said, “I will be coming to Nairobi this week and will be hosting a mbuzi (goat-eating session) for professionals from the village. You really must come!”

I was very tempted to decline the invitation because frankly I find most village-related goat-eating sessions a waste of time; all we do is eat lots of meat, drink and rehash old stories. Yet, I could tell that Sileo was not going to take no for an answer so I decided to confirm my attendance.

On the material day, I showed up one hour after the agreed time because based on my experience all my village mates always show up late for functions.

So, imagine my shock when I found the venue packed with the attendees all in animated conversation and already having their drink. After about an hour, Sileo stood up to address the gathering and talk about what “great plans he has for our people.”

The ideas were quite good though I was tempted to tell him that he was being a bit too ambitious in expecting all of us to meet monthly and to make contribution of Sh10,000 each.

I was not about to start being the devil’s advocate so I let the group cheer him on as he urged us to take action.

The rest of the night was a blur. We proceeded to debate politics, to dance to local music and to drink lots of alcohol.

I totally lost sense of time and it was only at midnight when I noticed that my phone was ringing; it was Shiro asking me, “Babe, where are you?” I said, “I am about to finish this meeting, I am coming home.”

Despite my best intentions, I only managed to get home at 5 am to find a very upset Shiro who told me, “how do you expect to be treated like a serious executive when you are behaving like an urchin?”

At that point, I really did not care, all I wanted was some more sleep to quieten my pounding head.