People often said, I was always going to be a great salesman. I never liked that. Yet, the thought of it was never in doubt, until I arrived back from ‘Jumu’a’ (Muslim Friday midday prayers) to Enterprise Insurance, High Street Branch, sometime in 2012.
I had spent the whole week there in a quest to become one of many bancassurance sales personnel who were being trained .
Throughout the training, my idealist self couldn’t come to terms with the tactics and approaches, I believed were practically exploitative of clients. At times, I hesitate to think I must have been quite naive, especially, because I was consumed with the fire of Marxist and Lenninist ideals, with my head buried in thoughts of Kwame Nkrumah and his teachings.
My motivation was greater than the meager GHC 200 monthly stipend plus commissions. It was simple: a strong desire to earn an income and pay my fees, as a first year student at the African University College of Communications (AUCC).
I abhorred the concept of profit making, and revered mutual and collective social progress. I still have fantasies of a day when every individual can afford what they want. I sure know as well, wishes are not horses.
Anyway, despite being a fovorite of our trainer, and succumbing to the dress code, after only two days of training, insisting on going to pray that afternoon and stating my place of residence (Mamobi) set me on a path, where I clearly understood that earning sustainable income along the corporate path was highly unlikely.
I ended up in Makola, after it was explained that I couldn’t begin work the following Monday, because there was no Standard Chartered Bank branch in Mamobi (the day before, I had been told, I could work at the Tudu branch or Asylum Down branch). And if you think I was studying law at Makola, save your laughter for when the bus reaches Kejetia 😂. I became an apprentice to a friend who made beads, necklaces and other accessories. I quickly specialized in waist beads and began to pitch to prospective customers anywhere. It was pure survival.
As for waistlines, I’ll never get over my experiences with them. It was then that I considered starting a business.
Today, I seek the best in any ideal, be it socialist or capitalist. It is the way I believe to move from a state of strife, then survive and eventually thrive.
©Ijahra Larry Chibara