Monday, January 20, 2014

It's Who You Know In The System

Jobs are hard to come by these days and in a time of austerity; people are doing anything to hold on to their jobs, like Charlie once told me: “I would rather get paid peanuts than sit at home all broke and depressed.”

However, Young Generation, take things for granted. They have heard of a phrase: “It’s who you know.” Young Generation, don’t want to get jobs on merit because it’s a hard slog. They want the easy route – getting jobs because of “who they know.”

What they don’t understand is that in today’s Uganda, jobs are handed out on merit – you have to apply, sit interviews and so on – unless you have been headhunted, but you will still have to sit some form of interview.

I know Mike. Mike has a daughter studying mass communications at one of the universities and wants her to do her internship at New Vision. But there was a ‘problem’ as Daughter pointed out to him. “You need to know somebody in there.”

And that’s where I came in. I was her somebody in there because I am a columnist with Sunday Vision. When I asked Daughter how she had heard about the internship, she said through the paper. “Oh then it’s easy. Simply do whatever was asked in the advert and send it off to them” I replied.

Her response: “I can’t do that. I need to have somebody in there to push my papers.” Trying to tell her that I am not part of the selection process nor do I know how the system works, fell on deaf ears.” So she went and told Mike.

Mike as expected got back to me pleading that I help Daughter. To placate him, the best I could do, was to give her a mock interview in conditions and an environment similar to that at New Vision.

Four days later when she turned up I was aghast. I know women these days tint their hair, but this was an over kill. She must have spent the previous day with Straka, the outrageous television personality, because her hair looked like a rainbow! Furthermore, she wore a low cut black netted blouse and a red bra which pushed her more than ample bosom up that at any moment, I felt her ‘twins’ might escape from the tight confines of her bra and slap into my face.

I was about to launch into a tirade about interview etiquette, but thought it might be wise to understand, to get into her head and to find out  where Daughter was coming from.     

And there was the one obvious answer. In Hollywood, they say ‘lying on the casting couch’. Was she trying to taunt me? Did she think that by putting her bosom on display, it would distract me (which it did) from asking her tough questions? Or did she think that if ‘she gave me some’ I would go out of my way and pull strings to fast track her internship papers?

And she was good - in fact brilliant.  And when I say she was brilliant, no I didn’t sleep with her and her CV (if it could be called that) was utterly lacking. What she was brilliant at was in exposing her twins even further – nudging and coaxing them to the edge of her bra.

When I met up with Mike and explained why the interview had been a non starter, he gave me a rue look, and we have barely spoken since. And I have not seen Daughter in the New Vision newsroom so I suspect that even if she had applied, Helen Mukiibi who heads the newsroom had turned her down.