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Mike Never cried.

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Somewhere in Mathare slums, a siren is heard, it’s an ambulance trying to rush to a scene of a suicide, the victim by the name Mike tried to commit suicide by swallowing pills. He is still conscious, by the time the ambulance makes its way near the scene; Mike breathes his lasts breath and dies.

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You grew up somewhere in Western near a place called Funyula, your parents were lucky enough to secure government jobs, and you moved to Nairobi when you were young.  You went through primary school and university without any hitches. You never loved mathematics; you were the type of guy who would fantasize during math’s lesson, sometime you would think about your girlfriend Mercy.

Let’s talk about mercy briefly, Mercy was those girls who always had a smile on their faces, it’s like while God was making other people he took an extra smile from them, and plastered on Mercy face.  Mercy grew up in Nairobi somewhere called Banana, Banana Hills was so-named by British Colonial soldiers, locally known as johnnies, who could only see banana plantations as they looked downhill towards the capital city, Nairobi, whenever they drove their military trucks over the hills en route to Limuru.

Mercy was a bright girl who excelled in her studies; she went to the prestigious Kenya high school, then later to The University of Nairobi, Her English was impeccable to the say the least, immediately after university she volunteered at a local NGO as an admin assistant, where she gained a lot of experience and networked a lot.  Due to her hard work, and determination she was hired as a management trainee, and later on as an executive manager with good perks.

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Let’s go back to our boy from Funyula, Mike did not do so well in high school, he, therefore, did not qualify to go to any university, since his father could afford to take him to college, that was the route that Mike took. He joined college, and did Business Admin because he was told by a friend that it’s the only course that is not difficult, and does not have Mathematics’. After College Mike did not bother to look for any jobs, after all, he was waiting for his dad to secure him a job with the government, after all! his dad was always promising him that he would get him a job with the government or the Police service.

“Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.” –Marva Collins

Back to the present, a few weeks back a friend had asked Mike to send him his CV, this friend wanted to help Mike secure an internship.  Mike forgot all about this and was now being watching his favorite TV show, to make the matter worse Mike had not done his CV himself, he had given the tasks to someone who owned a cyber-nearby to do the CV for him. While he was watching, his friend called again to ask Mike to send the CV, but Mike was on that part where the white walkers in game of thrones were attacking the town of Winterfell (game of throne fans can relate) he, therefore, ignored the call and purposed to call back after finishing that particular episode.

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Mike lost that internship opportunity, he actually did not mind, after all his father had promised him a job. A month down the line his dad sadly passed away, her mother who was not working at that time decided to pack and leave back to Funyula. Mike decided to stay back in Nairobi, there was no internet in Funyula how could he go back? how would he chat with her girlfriend Mercy on WhatsApp, after his father died, the only ray of hope for Mike was her girlfriend Mercy, he depended on her financially as well. Mercy tried asking him to join the NGO as a volunteer but Mike was reluctant, after all, he was a man and a diploma holder, and he felt that he needed a job, and volunteering was not in his line of thinking.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.” –Calvin Coolidg

He, therefore, started applying for Jobs; he would send CVS to 100 companies in one email, and sit back and enjoy his movies. After all, he was saving time he muttered, why send a CV to one company at a time when you can send to a thousand companies.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” –Benjamin Franklin

Mike was never called for an interview, his girlfriend Mercy tried advising him on tips on how he would get jobs, for example starting with an internship even if he was not getting any pay, tailoring his CV to different jobs that he was applying to, watching Youtube videos on the different ways to nail interviews, trying to encourage him to read books, for example, Mercy would send him different soft copy books on WhatsApp but Mike never read them, instead he would reply in that funny emoji that has eyes only (up to date I don’t know what that emoji stands for –Millennials any help?).

Mike never listened to any of Mercy’s bits of advice after all he was a man, and when he was circumcised in river khalaba on a cold Friday morning, was he not told that a man should never listen to a lady and that a man should be a leader and never show any weakness?

Mercy managed to get a scholarship, and flew away to Germany for further studies, after some time she met someone and got married while in Germany, she broke up with Mike. Mike took it like a man, he tried to hide his feelings of hurt and rejection, he took to drinking to drown his sorrows, he would drink from Morning to evening. He was chased by his landlord and he moved to the slum areas of Mathare, where he did mjengo and other jobs to at least enable him to get a few coins so as to drown himself in alcohol.

His friends tried to reach him, but like a tortoise mike shielded himself and built a wall, deep down he wanted someone to talk too, but he remembered the words from his father “ A man must be strong at all times” Mike wanted to cry but he remembered during circumcision they were told that real men don’t cry, Mike suppressed his emotional experience so much – so that he  saw the only way out was by joining his father, he, therefore, went to the chemist and ordered a lot of pills claiming he had Malaria.

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Just at that moment, Mercy was trying to reach out to Mike, she had a business opportunity she had started back at home in Kenya, and she wanted to employee Mike help him run the business since she was in Germany, but his number was not going through.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

A day in the Life of an HR Professional

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There is usually a misguided notion of what a Human resource professional does, many are in the view that Human Resource professionals are responsible for only hiring and firing, But, Human Resource is so much more than that. It’s as challenging as it is rewarding, and each day is as different and diverse as the next.

I will basically take you through my day as a Human Resource Generalist, please note that as an HR Generalist I am expected to be a jack of all trades and master of some.

8:00 AM:  I usually start my day with prayers, this would take around 5 minutes of thanking God for life and praying for the day, this would take around 3-5 minutes, I would then take hot sugarless coffee, and sweet bananas(those ones with the spots J).  I would go through the newspaper, linked in and a few other blogs for example ‘’The Kenya Employment Law”, Sunny Bindra’s – https://sunwords.com/’ blog just to keep abreast of trends and what’s happening in the Human Resource and business world.

I usually read in the morning as I am fresh and more focused.  I will go through emails and respond to employee queries and queries from my employer as well.  I usually create a work plan on G-Suite Google sheets, this will consist of all the activities I am intending to perform on that particular day. This is something that I have encouraged other heads of department to do; they then would send their work plan each morning to me.

9:00 AM: This hour is usually reserved for meetings, I would meet the Heads of the department to tackle any Human resource issues they may have, and this could range from recruitment needs, issues in policy implementation, performance management or disciplinary grievances.  I would also meet employees who have issues that have not been resolved by their heads of department.

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I prefer empowering Heads of departments to tackle most issues but sometimes employees may want to see the HR, Mostly I encourage each employee to ask questions or offer their own thoughts before making decisions.

10:00 AM:  Time for the dreaded paperwork, well I usually have an assistant who does most of the paperwork, but I have to go through all the letters done, sign documents, prepare other documents that the assistant cannot prepare. I would also go through the leave applications, approve mostly or disapprove some with good reasons, then update the systems as necessary. This is the time I also do Payroll depending on the date.  I will also do or share an article with all employees’ emails on any related topic in line with our industry. I usually encourage a reading culture within the organization as I know the advantages that come with reading.

11:00 AM:  Management by Objective, yes you had me correctly, this hour I usually spend it by moving around the organization, observing work, sometimes talking with a few employees along the way. I discovered that this is a great way of noticing changes or things that need to be worked on.

12:00 PM:  This is time is reserved for performance management, mostly I track the 360-degree performance appraisal system, make any adjustments as necessary. I would also review performance improvement plans with the heads of department for that particular department and employee.

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