Do you remember the first time they told you ‘We’ll get back to you‘ after a job interview? You would get up earlier than you normally do and refresh your emails as if corporate organizations somehow send emails in the middle of the night. You amplified your caller ring volume and added that vibration setting in case they called you while you were aboard those noisy matatus to your place. You even quit all form of drugs just in case this organization does that drug test thing before they hire someone. Then a week passed and they had not gotten back to you. Well, maybe they do take their time. You know, good things take time. Another week passed by. No calls. No emails. A month. Three months. Nothing. And then it hit you. Their word meant nothing. They were never going to get back to you.
You had spent Ksh. 1,050 applying for a certificate of good conduct for nothing. You had cleared your Tala loan and paid Ksh. 2,200 getting that Credit Reference Bureau clearance certificate for nothing. You had shaved the baby locks you had been nurturing for the longest time, for nothing. You now owned a suit, (a cheap one, but still a suit) for nothing. Hell, you had quit drugs for nothing! So you decided to try this entrepreneurship thing instead. The richest people in the world are entrepreneurs anyway. And as an entrepreneur, you have some sort of freedom. You don’t have to wear that cheap ugly suit you got for your interview. You can grow your baby locks again. And nobody will be drug testing you so you can light one anytime you want.
But entrepreneurship requires some form of capital. You have none. You visit your bank and ask them for a loan. They tell you to come back with three guarantors, a letter from your chief and an asset you can use as collateral. You have none of these. Maybe you can look for an investor who can see the potential of your idea. After being curved a dozen times, you finally get a meeting with your potential investor. He is Indian. You have prepared an award winning presentation. The kind with info – graphics and pie charts. It has big investor – friendly words like appraisal and disposable income. The Indian guy stares at you blankly as you spew these investment jargon in his big boardroom. Occasionally, he nods and scribbles something on his iPad. As soon as you are done, he stands, shakes your hand and tells you he will get back to you.
Maybe this is it. Maybe this is the breakthrough you have been praying for. You feel optimistic. Even lucky. On your way home, you are seated next to this fine girl in those old noisy matatus. You tell her she looks beautiful. She glances at you for a second, smiles wryly, thanks you, and continues scrolling through her phone. You tell her your name. She tells you hers. Her name is Agnes. You ask her what her stop is. It is the same as yours. You suggest that it would be a good idea for the two of you to get to know each other, now that you stay in the same hood. She agrees. So you ask for her number. She asks you to give her your number instead and she will be the one to reach out to you. You know she is actually curving you but what is there to lose? You key in your number on her phone and that marks the end of your little tete a a tete.
Two weeks later, you see your idea – the one you shared with that Indian investor guy – being rolled out as a new product under one of his many business franchises. They have coined the name a little and made a few adjustments but it has your vibe written all over it. It’s on the business news of every channel. Commercial analysts are saying how this new product will change the world. How it will create jobs. How ingenious it is. The Indian guy is shamelessly taking all the credit for it, and you are still waiting for him to get back to you.
You feel terrible. Bitter. Helpless. You feel inadequate. Useless. Good for nothing. Everything around you seems to remind you of how shitty you are. You log onto the world wide web and are greeted with photos of your mates, excelling, achieving, thriving, slaying, killing it, and being proud of it. And you are just there. Broke, jobless, single, stuck. However, you pull yourself together and move on to the next one. You refuse to let this empty feeling inside you break you. You promise yourself to remain positive, and shoot your next shot, full of zeal and hope, because you are fully aware that you will miss 100% of the shots you do not take. And that if you never ask, the answer will always be no.
One day, they will actually get back to you and the answer will be yes. And maybe Agnes will eventually get around to reaching out to you.