On my first day of internship at a really reputable company, a lady walked into the room I was in. She greeted me coldly, went silent, and proceeded to ask, “Who pays for your nails?”
I paused for a minute, wondering if she was talking to me, or if I’d heard the correct thing. Then she repeated her question, and I had no choice but to answer.
“I pay for them myself…”
It later turned out that she was insinuating that I had a sponsor who had paid for them. She was the head of the department, and her colleagues explained why she was making such conclusions from a set of manicured nails. Nails, which, I might add, cost less than 1,000 shillings at the time. That was only the curtain raiser of bullying within that organisation.
Recently, a lady put up a tweet that sent Kenyan Twitter into an uproar.
‘We sent our office intern/pupil to serve some documents to our corporate client within town and she opted to use an Uber. AN UBER GUYS.”
You have probably heard of the horror stories that interns go through, but until you’re in that position yourself, you would never understand. The improper flirting, sexual assault, insults, blame game, bullying, overworking, underpaying, not being paid at all…
It turned out that the intern had walked from the firm to the place of service. She was carrying a bundle of documents to serve and had to pick more. To make it worse, she was rushing back to the office to finish some work that was due by the end of the day. To put the icing on the cake, the Uber was only 290 Kenyan shillings.
Yet, even with all that context in mind, the lady who tweeted still saw it fit to shame her.
So what exactly was she supposed to do? Suffer under the scorching sun with a load of documents? For what? Is there a promise somewhere that the more you suffer as an intern, the greater the reward?
What comes out clearly to me is that first, a lot of us are not willing to make the world a better place for the ones coming after us. You would assume that having been a lady in the corporate world and seen the struggle that we go through, women would be a little bit more compassionate towards the whole situation. But it’s the opposite.
I don’t like to buy into the idea that women hate each other, but sometimes, the proof is ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’ Women are constantly mistreating other younger women, not just in the workplace, but everywhere.
But it’s not just women…
It was just a few years ago when there was a debate about whether interns should be paid, that a guy came up and said that they should sell mandazis in the office to generate income. There was even another story where a pupil came out to say that she has to cook ugali for her male colleagues in the office every single day.
It’s disgusting, to say the least. Interns are not slaves. They do not go into organisations to suffer. They go to get experience and kickstart their careers. It is extremely unfair to treat them like little minions just because they’re still gaining experience.
My name is Laura Ayienga, a 25-year-old writer & marketer, experiencing the highs (not claiming the lows) of life. I discovered my passion for writing on this very blog back in 2019 and since then, I’ve been using it to express myself as candidly and authentically as possible.