THE EGOCENTRIC MAN

Image result for Kenyan men who drive big expensive carsSociety respects confident men. Actually it has a soft spot for them. They can get away with anything including beautiful ladies who get you thinking; Is she dating that guy, how so?  They manoeuvre dowry negotiations with some sort of ease. They always know what to say and how to say it.  They win second chances during interviews and get more recognition in workplace meetings. In essence, a man with no confidence is a goof. Nature is unforgiving, unfortunately.

What of a too confident man? A slightly arrogant type! Them that bite more than they can chew. Have you done business with these kinds of fellows? They have a thing for big man syndrome. They can be reckless in their talk. They are straight shooting and cut conversations into two; you either with them or not. And if not, they will dare to topple on every confidence you’ve amassed over the years. They are self-believers and assured type. They are full of conviction and wit. Have you seen them in traffic, driving cars that seem to massage their 35 years ego? They enjoy being served, referred and reported to. They live to delegate work and ask tough questions. They enjoy being consulted submissively with pick up lines that sound like; Sir, did you approve the payment for XYZ Ltd? They will take time to answer as if to first savor the demeanor being put across by this staff who’ll pose so humbly and politely.

You will find them in exquisite bars holding meetings with men of their match. You will easily identify them by their authoritative laughter and loud voices. Actually they are even louder while on phone. Holding humongous smartphones, they will get the eyes of a waiter just by the look. They will be here to deliberate on County tenders and influential positions in blue chip companies. They imagine the world should uphold and bow down to them. They have a problem with you who forms another center of power and confidence. They abhor anybody who threatens their patriarchal thinking. They have a way of measuring your confidence weight in a matter of minutes by giving you those firm handshakes and fixed eye contact for minutes. You’ll not sound bad when you refer them as busy bodies.

So, on this day you’ll have been scheduled for a meeting by one of this type, in his office for some biashara. You got introduced to him by a mutual friend who incidentally stumbled on an opportunity that he thought you’d do it justice.

Exactly 1 pm, you’ll check in at the reception area and request to enquire about a Mr. Chris. The light skinned receptionist seemingly not having such a bad day will evaluate you from head to toe as if to find out if you are one of those KRA officers. She will be donning those trendy specs that seem to elongate on either side, have her nose powdered and be dressed in one of those petite dresses that will do everything to flatter her body. She will ask:

Was he expecting you?

Yes, certainly.

You said you are from?

I’m Andrew, from F.C.P (Financial Consultants House). You will watch her eyes dazzle and come to life. And that will be a perfect juncture to give her your business card.

Just have a seat please.

The egocentric type of boss has no respect for punctuality. You will be compelled to wait for about 15 to 20 minutes. By then you’ll have gone through the day’s newspaper, cover to cover. You will even have attempted the Sudoku part and through to the Obituaries section. It’s funny how you’ll notice it then. Naturally, you always skip that page. From the background you will not help eavesdrop conversations in his office. You’ll be bombarded by deep voices and hearty laughter. You will also not miss utterances like; Sure Mheshimiwa…Will catch up sir….Will be in touch when you jet back in the country.

By the time these gentlemen walk to the front office, you’ll have questioned so many things. Like will he recall you? What will be his mood? Will he excuse himself to rush to the airport or run for a meeting with Bwana Governor? You see, when a client tells you he’s running for a meeting with the Governor or the County Assembly speaker….he is simply telling you mark my lane. He is one of those chaps, always meeting the big kahunas in town. He has connections with all the ‘right people’ from politicians to influential business persons. To add on, he is always in the know of every classified information in the business circles like which lucrative firm is investing where, which contractor met a particular Tender committee in a certain hotel. You mention to him of a financially endowed entrepreneur and he interjects you with a half an hour’s story of how he once worked with him or her.

Where were we?

As they make their way through the corridor to where you’ll be seated, you pensively wait for his reaction upon spotting you. It’s like Obama landing. Everything else halts including breathing. Suddenly the receptionist who will have been busy scrolling her phone all this time will bounce back to her computer, pretending to be occupied. When he finally appears, he will go like;

Oooh Andrew, you are here!

By then you’ll have stood up; strictly upright and giggling. Steadily feeding your eyes on his face just to have him not get twisted like you are unsure of yourself. You’ll reach for his handshake and mumble those empty conversations that lead to nowhere.

He’ll apologise for keeping you waiting for long and you being the needy person in this situation, will let that pass unchallenged. He will invite you to his office and drag his chair over to one corner to get his notebook and pen. You will notice how his office is quite spacious and organised. This will remind you of your Communication Skills lecturer mentioning something about space and authority. Bosses have bigger offices than the rest. It’s a matter of restating that they are firmly in charge and that they are the main guys and heartbeat of the organisation.

So you and your phone will make yourselves comfortable as you give in to forced laughter and smiles. He will indulge you on how business is performing on your end. You will sound Kenyanese with familiar statements like; Kung’ang’ana tu hii town.

So, you will reach to your laptop and get this proposal about this million dollar project coming up in a few months. On the 45 minutes conversation, you will be awashed with staggering numbers being thrown all-over the place apparently pumped to result to handsome results later. You will walk out hopeful and confident to have won his heart. Later, you will excitedly inform your girlfriend about this breakthrough coming your way pretty soon. This will seem to be the jackpot that you’ve finally been waiting for.

Three months down the line, reality will have settled in a rather depressing way. Your calls will go unanswered and so will be your emails. You will bump him in those coffee shops busy catching up with men who survive by striking deals. Be they brokers who specialise in doing business with the National or County governments or investors looking for vast land to develop. Your convictions will lead you towards walking to his table briefly. He will promise to give you a call in a few days.

This will never come to be.

In the end, you will realise egocentric men are not necessarily successful but rather, apply these gimmicks just for perceptions. Do they say life is all about perceptions?

A MEETING OF SORTS: MR. X & I

Mr.x2On this afternoon, I get a text from a close friend reading that there is this gentleman, whom we shall name Mr. X, in dire need to meet me to have an important conversation. I immediately call my good friend to dig dipper. She doesn’t disclose as much, only alluding that Mr. X has some great opportunities if only I’d be interested. We end the conversation. By the way, the text had his number. At least my number wasn’t given out without a heads up. We call that courtesy. Well, I take my time wondering what Mr. X could be having in store for me. I even start questioning, why me and not any other person. You know how fears and doubts can tread on someone? Shame on them. May these demons of self doubt die premature deaths.

This was last week….

Thanks to the temptations of thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side, thoughts of me calling Mr. X were receiving National spotlight in my world. It could be the turnaround I have been waiting for, you know! I thought. They say opportunity knocks once, meaning it should be grabbed with all vitality in our possession. In this very competitive life, one cannot afford to pull a seat and wait. By now, I was on adrenaline, my mind going wild, occasionally throwing random thoughts that probably my dreams could come sooner…my savings could grow confidence and my tight budgets could loosen. I was on a mental treadmill trying miserably to control my jumpy heartbeat and the roaming mind. Speaking of my mind, it literally downed its tools on whatever it was working on, took off the dusty apron for the day and ran after the building illusions. As for me and the rest of my body, we pulled duvets and watched in amusement. “This is it!” I mumbled to myself.

In few minutes time, I was calling Mr. X, resisting an overwhelming anxiety. I helplessly listened to my phone requesting him to pick up from the other end. My fondly gadget remained so hopeful but unfortunately it didn’t come to be. Something else interrupted in a few….My call was hanged up. How? Jesus Christ of Nazereth? How does Mr. X hang up on me? It doesn’t happen especially when you sort to reach me through somebody. Mr. X c’mon. That was a mistake which I wasn’t taking lying down. How could I? At least not when I had a whole pregnant mammoth of illusions, expectations, built castles, racing hearts, shivering hands and anxious eyes eagerly waiting for my State of the Nation address. This build up of momentum couldn’t be in vain? Surely Mr. X

I retreated to the penthouse with my very trusted confidants eager to build a counter narrative, a Plan B & C and a painful exit strategy if need be. I was here chairing a tensed meeting, clouded with uneasiness and simmering frustrations smoldering from the cracks of vague hopes. Seated with me were my Instincts on the right, which serve as my National Intelligence docket. Present too were my emotions tough to persuade not to overreact. I had to give them (emotions) a dress down speech, on how to behave and be hopeful. In our midst was my Ego pulling no stops in giving indirect subtle threats and ultimatums to Mr. X lawyers. You see you have to give it to my Ego. It’s okay to liken it with one Nkaissery. Fiery loyal, protective and gun blazing. Dare me hehe. My P.A was also present having been represented by my Personality. My lawyers were in the vicinity too hired from the enviable Kageshi Kingdom. The chiefdom was in a crisis if you may, and summons had to be honoured.

Straight on the agenda was how to prepare for Mr. X:

  • How organised and ready was he to find us?
  • If he’d ask for some commitment fee, could our Treasury be in a position to honour?
  • How quickly were we to do our maths in finding out if the deal was exploitive? He could be a cunning salesman you know!
  • What if he didn’t call or pick up our calls ………after having the whole nation after us? It’s like Obama cancelling a nostalgic and over publicised trip to Kenya. But we rode on an assumption that Mr. X was a very busy man and could be calling in no time.

Meanwhile we kept the bulging battery of journalists around penthouse guessing on what could be cooking

And he finally called. From the onset, I could sense he was a salesman all hidden by the wishy washy preambles. Keen to listen, careful with his words and bringing along, a well -oiled confidence. Make no mistake he had mastered his game and was here to pursue a target. To catch and confuse a seemingly naive soul, a gullible taxpayer and an impatient youthful employee scared of stagnation.

So the eagerly awaited deal was all about joining his establishment, for lack of a better word, that partners with hotels across the world and endeavors to bridge the space between holiday enthusiasts and holiday destinations. He is a senior official in this organisation and his work is concisely to recruit, recruiters. Don’t get twisted. He is the chief of them all and have set base across 29 countries including Kenya. From the eye infectious sandy beaches in Singapore, rolling high walls in China to one of the longest suspension bridges in the world sandwiched by a thick forest and wild animals in British Columbia, what else could you ask for. The thing is, this package comes with discounted bookings in thousands of hotels around the globe. The trick is; the more people you net in, one gets a commission but Mr. X gets a tidier sum of money. It’s like being your own boss but having to part with huge commissions for the big brother. You recall the euphoria about GNLD back in the day? It’s the same concept.

Call him Mr. X. He is defined by zero chills and the art of conviction. He is a self -believer, has a feel good effect and good at charm offense. He can sell you land in Pluto, convince you to lend him all your savings or share your wife with him. He knows nothing about uninterested clients. They never exist in his world. He has this witty smile that talks of the devil being in the details. Even without having met him you could tell he looks straight to the face with eyes that can audit your life and find out about your bank balance in seconds.Funny enough, Mr. X doesn’t understand how to end a conversation. He calls for 30 minutes with a Safaricom line with no indications of hanging up soon. He will call when you are preparing evening tea, have it ready and taken, listen to him as you clean your dishes, as you dust your carpet, as you watch the news, as you say hey to your neighbour, without him getting bothered of the background noise or of your annoying yawns. He takes no chances. The fact that one has to raise a minimum capital and pay a monthly charge if he/she fail to maintain at least 4 active members was my point of departure with him. That was too much work for me.

Meanwhile, all my imaginations came grand halting, hitting down with thunders of frustrations and salivating for my blood like the armies of the movie, Game of Thrones. The annoying part is, thanks to Mr. X’s marketing skills I didn’t know how to say No. Yes, I’m one of those who nod when they mean No. I belong to the school of thought that is afraid of hurting people with cold Nos. Haha. At this minute, Mr. X is waiting for my appointment and I have no clue on what to tell him. Anyone willing to help..Andreaders?

Surely Mr. X