8 Stolen Hours


A few days ago I went for a job interview at Kenyatta University. I won’t tell you what position it was for (but after this read you will understand I am not changing jobs any day soon), but there were three of us being interviewed for the post.
The invitation letter and telephone call said that the interview would start at 9 a.m. So I was there by 8.15 a.m, because it’s on the other side of the city and I didn’t want to be that person rushing in at 10.30 a.m. muttering how bad traffic was.

We were seated in a pretty nice waiting room, watched some TV, drank some water and then at 9 a.m. we were ushered into the boardroom adjacent to the one where we’d be interviewed. By this time we were a crowd of about 20. It was then that I discovered that the panel was going to be interviewing candidates for about a zillion posts. Okaaaaaay. Not so great.

9.30 a.m., we were told the panel was ‘getting ready’. Perhaps they were having a relaxing meditation session and deep-tissue massage before getting into the grueling activity of interviewing? We knew not.

10.00 a.m: Finally! The first person was called to be seen. I was already ticked off that an hour had gone by without anything happening. Yes, I’m that person who keeps British time in an African country. So sue me.

You can imagine my horror when 1.00 p.m. arrived and I was still nowhere close to being interviewed. I had gone through anger, denial, acceptance and I was finally at the stage of resignation. (Might I add extreme weakness because I was really, really, really hungry. I was at the point where I was about to start hallucinating.)

4.30 p.m. – I had finished my third re-read of The Trouble with Nigeria (This terrible day was actually teaching me The Trouble with Kenya) in the morning and was idly leafing through my favourite chapters when I was called. But not to be interviewed. To wait for the two people being interviewed before me to finish. I was not at my best. My carefully practised, intelligent responses and questions had flown out of the window. I was a hungry, angry, exhausted human being.
Finally, finally. I was called in. Those archaic panels where they arrange themselves in the most intimidating fashion possible. Lots of suits. Ugh. That’s so last- Spanish-Inquisition. Who still does that? And this is where, ladies and gentlemen, I felt my internal pressure dial turn to red- THEY WERE NOT SORRY! The colossal idiots who didn’t have the presence of mind to respect my time WERE NOT SORRY! I received a non-apology of this nature: “Well, sorry to keep you waiting but it’s alright.” It’s alright? It’s alright? It was not bloody alright. It will NEVER EVER be bloody alright for someone to waste my day because they refuse to engage their brains. How difficult would it have been to stagger the interviews and have different people arriving at different times? Would it have taken a National Commission on Hiring to figure this out?

It is the twenty-first century and employers still think potential employees are idle layabouts; desperadoes who can take any kind of treatment meted out on them. This is the face of a public university that pretends to be keeping up with the times. Yes, pretends. I wonder if they have a secret chamber where they manufacture extra time, because I need to have my time compensated. These are the people in senior management. These are the people running an institution of learning. These are people in leadership. This is a clear example of how NOT how to do things, clear and simple. I was and remain, simply disgusted.

5 thoughts on “8 Stolen Hours

    1. Yes I did. I wrote them a very polite email, which of course, they didn’t acknowledge receiving! Trying to fight ‘the system’ is soooooooo unrewarding.

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