‘We all have big dreams of life after school. I thought it would be easy, and looked forward to a well-paying white collar job. A big surprise awaited me.’- Victor Kegengo, a graduate of Business Management.
In 2014, just a few months to completing his Degree course at Masinde Muliro University, Victor Kegengo did what every other soon-to-be graduate does, send out mass job applications. He was excited about the new phase of life that awaited him, the future looked bright, and he felt ready to tackle the job market.
‘It never crossed my mind that getting a job would be too hard. I was hopeful. I had no worries. I maintained a positive spirit with every email I sent out to prospective employers.’
I was hopeful. I had no worries. I maintained a positive spirit with every email I sent out to prospective employers.’
Then last day of school came, and out into the job market he went.
‘The first six months gave me a quick reality check. No positive response whatsoever from all the thousands of emails I had sent. I decided to take a driving course to while the time away. I was already getting a bit frustrated, as my family was really looking up to me. Here I was, 8-4-4 completed, but what do I have to show for it?’
Here I was, 8-4-4 completed, but what do I have to show for it?
Victor also took up jobs as a waiter at local cafes, which brought in very little income, and he had to seek an alternative.
‘I opted to try my hand in horticulture. I planted cabbages, kales and onions which I sold in local markets in Kisii Town. The first harvest was good, but in the second planting season the rains failed and nothing came out of the toil. I was back to square one.’
Just as he was on the verge of giving up, he got called for a job as a tutor at a college in Kisii Town, where he taught business courses for six months, from June 2014 to Jan 2015. This new job however, could not settle his basic expenses, sometimes not even his Kes.3,000 rented room in Kisii.
‘At some point my landlord threw me out because of accrued rent debts. My mind was working at 300KPH, I desperately needed a way out of the mess of a life I was living. I tried my hand in football gambling and would use any money won to settle debts. I also tried online academic writing which really helped.’
I tried my hand in football gambling and would use any money won to settle debts.
None of these things Victor was doing to make ends meet were what he’d studied for, nor what he wanted to do with his life.
‘I am the first child of my parents. My father is a teacher and my mother did not have any source of income. She had a small farm where she planted food for consumption at home. I have two siblings who are much younger than me. I was the family’s hope.’
Victor remembers that at that time he would look up what some of his campus friends were up to, and would find that some got jobs immediately after campus, others had traveled to other countries for further studies, some were married with stable families while there were those just as jobless and searching as he was.
‘I think just like our fingers, people can never be equal. We are served different dishes at different times in life, and at that time, life had chosen that dish for me.’
I think just like our fingers, people can never be equal. We are served different dishes at different times in life, and at that time, life had chosen that dish for me.
What did he try next?
‘I got an opportunity to do marketing for Keroche Breweries. This was however short-lived after the boss swindled all my dues. I had worked for 3 months without pay. I quit and was back to square one.’
This happened to be last stroke to Victor’s misery and bad luck in the job market.
‘I applied for a job at Tusker Mattresses Limited Trading (brand name Tuskys Supermarket) and started off as an intern, with duties such as assisting around the supermarket, receiving clerk handed to me. I was so determined to make this work and put my best foot forward. Last year I was promoted to supervisor and currently being trained for a managerial position.’
This opportunity has definitely been a great relief to Victor Kegengo, but his journey does not stop there.
‘I definitely want more from life. I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Finance. Hopefully I’ll be done by the end of the year. I am grateful that life finally smiled on me and I can pay my bills, I do not take it for granted.’
A word for the young people who find themselves in the same situation today?
‘The days of Serikali Saidia are over. The one million jobs promised by the government are a fallacy. But we would appreciate if it(the government) provides an enabling environment to do business as most youth have now embraced entrepreneurship.’
Victor emphasizes on the importance of embracing Internet use in seeking opportunities.
‘There’s so much one can achieve with Facebook and Twitter, including managing such accounts for brands. That is a source of income as you await better opportunities.’
When he’s not busy doing his part in building the nation, Victor Kegengo enjoys watching wrestling(WWE) on TV.
‘In another life, or maybe just in this one, I would love to pursue Journalism. I have great interest and passion for the media.’
‘Success is 30% effort and 70% attitude. Work more on your attitude towards life, it could be what’s holding you back.’