GETTING UNCOMFORTABLE

At one point in life you may have “tarmacked” i.e searched for a job. As some of you may testify, getting a job in this day and era is not easy. Competition is stiff and you have to have something extra that puts you above the rest of the competitors for the job you’re asking for. In the tech industry it’s no different. The tech ecosystem is growing in Kenya. For people in “Silicon Savannah” or Nairobi as most people know it, the competition for the available jobs can sometimes be cut throat. So what can put you a step above the rest? Sometimes the answer is unexpected.

A little earlier in the year we put out a job advert for fellows in the company. We needed just two people to fill in the slots but the responses were quite many. During the interviews we tried to look for that wow actor in every participant and at times it was disappointing up until this guy came in for his interview. He had something interesting to say, something that got him the job.

At some point during his lifetime, this guy, let’s call him Jazz, ran into a prostitute. There he was, minding his own business when this lady accosted him. Instead of brushing her aside and probably calling her some names or maybe take her to a hotel 😉 as some people would do he decided to have a conversation with her. A genuine heart to heart conversation with her. He didn’t mind the stares and hushed tones of passersby as they judged him and gossiped about his talking to a prostitute, “disgusting man trying to take a hooker” they may have said about him amongst other things. He talked to this lady about her life and what led her to the industry she now plied her trade in.

As we needed fellows to work with marginalized people, his empathy and non-judgmental ways struck us and we knew he was a definite keeper. It’s no surprise that Jazz got the job.

I’m not saying that everyone needs to walk around talking to prostitutes, but it’s a good idea to put yourself in unfamiliar situations sometimes. Talk to someone you wouldn’t want to be associated with, volunteer at a kid’s summer camp, talk to random people in the street, GO WILD! After papers get you through that door, what else do you have to make you stay in that room?

Did I mention that Jazz also makes and wears his own clothes? How cool is that? Techies are cool!

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Abby Written by:

Hi, I am a UX researcher based in Nairobi, Kenya. I am passionate about helping people create simple, innovative but USABLE and enjoyable products to solve social problems. The African context interests me as I believe Africans should be in the fore front of solving our own problems. I have a love affair with books and outdoor activities. Forever in search of adventure :)

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