Thursday, March 10, 2005

Get Organized

Nairobi has a cliquish mentality that can drive one crazy. Walk into a Bank/office and a guard will ask you to leave, if you don’t look like you have any business there. Most corporate events are invitation only - This is out of an obsession with security, and preventing gate crashers, job-seekers, mistresses, cocktail guests who eat till they are full, and other unwanted visitors creating unpleasant scenes.

- I have been denied access to two corporate ‘public’ meetings this month – one because I was not on the list, the second because I did not RSVP in time (even though I had an invitation).
- It’s my fault in both cases, because I think we have a mentality that a boring seminar rarely gets full, and the organizers will let in any warm body to fill empty seats so it doesn’t look like a failure on TV.
- A few weeks ago, I did not enter the draw for a golf tournament, but walked up on the day of the event and played. This is perfectly acceptable in golf because there are a lot of no-shows. But the organizers had only brought enough goodie bags for the registered entrants – so I missed out on a polo shirt, sports bag and umbrella (branded by D. T. Dobie) that would have been rightfully mine, almost free of charge, if only I had made a phone call three days before.
- Over the weekend I had to borrow cash because all the ATM’s erroneously had my balance -1,000 shillings (insufficient funds)
- I have an old generation ID, which I have never renewed out of the principle, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – the ID is still legal and never expires. It has been accepted 99% of the time, but one bank told me I could not open an account using it (new ID or Passport only). Another Bank told me to get a PIN card as well.
- Without the right kind of ID, you don’t get into buildings or even get to receive your own documents.
- One time I was stopped by a policeman for a traffic violation – and he was the one who pointed out to me that my Driver’s license expired two days before.

So I will try and get more organized: I will ensure that I renew my documents and cards, long before they expire. I will carry proper ID and all documents, even those I don’t need, before a meeting. I will keep some cash in the house for late nights and weekends. For meetings & events, I will make sure I am on the invited list, and then call ahead of time to ensure I get my card, directions and other instructions. I will arrive before time, even though I know the meeting will not start on time – sometimes it will start on time, and if it doesn’t I can spend some valuable time with the important, smart people who are on time. And yes, I will have eaten something ahead of time, so that I am not at the mercy of my hosts for some bitings, and I won’t crave the 200 shilling juice served at the hotel.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOL.....locking out jobseekers, mistresses....good one bankelele, you could have been talking about me and my disorganised state !

Mama JunkYard said...

I have to admit I am a stickler for rules and formality.

If I have sent an invitation to someone that requires an RSVP and they fail to respond, or they respond using an improper method e.g. sms they had better not turn up because I would deny them entry.

I am thinking of hiring fully armed bouncers for my wedding.

Anonymous said...

Went to a cocktail on Friday - and we DO feast on those bitty snacks till we are full or they get finished.

Plus, if the corporate sponsor didn't close the bar as soon as the function ended, they'd have had a six-figure bill from alcohol alone.

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