While driving to work a few days ago, something happened. The car in front of us slowed down, lowered his windows to receive the free copy of People Daily, and then threw it down! The wind gave him a helping hand by scattering the newspaper’s pages all over the road. The harm he was doing to the environment didn’t move me much. Someone may clean it up. Someone will.
What made me bitter is the way he treated the newspaper vendor. The gesture. The message he gave out, intended or unintended. I have never been this angered by something that wasn’t of my concern.
You do not have to take a copy if you don’t want to. For heaven’s sake! This is a young man trying to put in a hard day’s work and make an honest living. To intentionally slow down and lower your windows, consciously receive a copy then throw it in the vendor’s face is utter disrespect.
Do you realize that he could have chosen to be a carjacker and stop you for your car keys? No, you don’t care. Because you are comfortable in your second hand imported Japanese car you don’t see how someone can wake up early on a chilly morning to distribute free newspapers!
But that is not surprising. Especially in a country which thrives in trampling down its youth at every slight opportunity. First, the youth have to go through a rigorous education system only to come out and be called ‘half-baked graduates’. Who baked them? The same people who thump their chests on how knowledgeable they are and hold themselves to high standards. Then they have to contend with a job market where who you know is worth more than what you know.
“Employment is slavery, start a business.” They will tell you. Yet deep in their hearts, they only want an opportunity to crush you some more. That business idea is stupid, you will fail miserably, blah blah blah.
“After clearing campus, I started selling mitumba clothes to fend for myself. Some clients would take the clothes on credit and fail to honour the payments. Whenever I reminded them about the money they would respond rudely. One lady told me that the amount I was asking for was too insignificant and I should not follow her around for it. How I wish she realized that ‘little money’ meant the world to me,” Rennish narrates to afromum.com
Rennish is not alone. Ian Duncan and Lorraine, both freelance writers, have on numerous occasions been paid by insults after delivering on their part of the bargain. Yet they had delivered quality work. Lorraine says that after agreeing to terms and doing more than her part required, one day she asked for her dues only for the guy to tell her that she was stupid and her ideas have always been stupid.
“All I told him is that his karma will come,” Lorraine bitterly adds.
Ian got contracted by an online magazine and was to deliver 7 articles a day at a given rate. At the end of the month, they sent me Kshs.1027 in my M-Pesa account. When he enquired about it, they terminated his contract and blocked his contacts.
“But at least they had the decency to include the withdrawal fees in the payment,” he jokes. Then another magazine came along and he wrote weekly pieces for them. When it came to paying, the HR lied that he had left the establishment. The HR referred him to another guy who never picked his calls, answered his texts nor replied to emails. He let go. Since then, he has never picked up his pen without a deposit first in his account.
The youth, while trying to make a living, have on numerous instances been crushed by those who have power over them. Not only those in business, but also those in employment. I was once given a talking down because the governor had switched off his phone. I knew it wasn’t my fault. My boss knew I had nothing to do with it.
Interns have always been on the receiving end of office abuse as well. They normally encounter physical abuse, sabotage as well as demands for sexual favours. We cannot list all of the problems they face here, or we would end up with something longer than Nasa’s 25,000-page petition.
If you are such type of person, perhaps you should read this… Are you mentoring someone? Here are reasons why you should start.
The point is, don’t put somebody down simply because you can. Especially if they are trying to make an honest living through their hustle. It won’t cost you anything to be polite and respectful. On the other hand, it could lift a broken spirit that was about to give up.
If you notice some flaws, point them out in the kindest way possible. Be a mentor instead. The youth are also just trying to rise to the top.