‘The Source’ Before ‘The Content!’

Ephrem Endale Contributer

 A year or so back this guy who has been out of work for quite a while suddenly had the opportunity of employment. The agency was only a few months into the job and has yet to make any name for it. This guy I’m telling you about was unemployed not because of any wrong on his part. In fact, he was a very good student in his field of study. But then he seems to be ‘missing’ something. He isn’t that ‘outgoing’ sort of guy who goes all the way to get whatever he wants.

Even the way this guy talked was so humble sometimes even anyone who has known him for ages at times feels a little uneasy. Indeed his humbleness comes as some kind of a fairytale in this age of arrogance which looks like the replay of primitive ages. They say his humbleness is proving to be his undoing as it’s seen by quite a lot of people as weakness. Sad, very sad! His closest friends say they have done their best to tell him about ‘the card game’ of modern day employment.

Though only they could explain what was all about the ‘card game’ thing. But the underlying message seems to be that these days there are too few direct lines to employment and it’s necessary to use the detours. Though some might think as a little too pessimistic one can’t deny it carried quite a lot of facts.

Indeed these days straight lines don’t always carry you all the way to your destination. There are detours you’re already aware of and many unexpected ones which decide your fate. One has to know one’s way around! If one falls short of such info the next thing to do is ask those close enough for advice and additional information. The friends of this guy I was telling you about tell him things they think matter most being ‘smart enough’ doing what others do like forging documents and greasing the palms. For a guy as humble as this one the advices they were giving him was no less than sacrilege! “Unethical’ would be too flimsy a word.

In addition some of the things they told him were outright illegal. By the way this guy was also very religious to a point he tries to live by the book as best as he can. Indeed, with the world changing like we never thought it would, he turned down many prospective jobs because he smelt fish. Finally he gets the offer of this job in an organization he thought was real clean sheet. It didn’t take more than a few minutes of interview for him to hear the ‘lyrics,’ “You’re employed.”

Still he sought the advice of those a couple of close relatives as he wasn’t sure he had the whole story of the organization. I mean whether it is a new agency or a new kid on the block the tendency to ask around is only human, wouldn’t you say! The things his relatives told him could scare the hell out of any steel-boned person let alone this humble guy. “They say no one knows what they really do! Everything is about them is a secret and the rumors are they’re up to something illegal.” These were relatives who he thought were in the know of such things and he never went looking for any second opinion. He turned down the job.

A month or so later another person he knows gets this same job this humble guy was offered; and you know what happens! All the doubts about the agency were crude rumors with no strong evidence. In fact he later learned that it was a sort of agency one would give a hand and foot to be join! There was nothing mysterious about it and in fact the benefits which come under various titles were simply mouthwatering! What happened was his relatives didn’t tell him what they knew first hand but the rumors they heard. The least they could have done is tell him that they were rumors. They didn’t!

The authenticity of any information we get these days depend on the sources. Yes the source makes or breaks a lot of things these days, including lives! Rumors going as facts destroy not only personal lives but also the very stability of nations!

Let me tell you another story. There is this agency which was in some kind of travel business. The owner was a man who lived close to three decades in North America and finally came home for good. Now images of a fellow countryman who lived in North America of all and returned home create all sort of dream-like images life well-lived, don’t they? Any agency whatever such a guy starts would look like all those glittering images we see in Hollywood movies where working conditions are so informally enjoyable you don’t even need a home! And the bosses according to most of those Hollywood films act as your closest relatives who’d do anything to see you win at every struggle you face.

Now this guy home from abroad advises a fellow we know to quit his present employment and join his few months’ old agency. (I think I already heard a bit of this story!) At first our fellow being a civil servant felt real itchy at the very prospect of leaving his work. At a time when even the poorly paying jobs are hard to come by and thousands of trained professionals remain unemployed resigning from one’s already secure jobs would be taken as a mental, and not a financial issue. But after some sweet-talking on the part of the business guy the fellow is convinced to resign from his job. The family man he was it wasn’t an easy resolution to make. He had to take quite some time discussing the whole with his wife. In fact one of the reasons which pushed him to decide was that his wife was supportive.

Leaving your job, especially if you’re a civil servant, could be your life’s most challenging and even ‘dangerous’ decision. For decades anyone who’s a civil servant was content with one’s place in life; once you’re employed as a civil servant you’re sure you’ve a lifetime job. Reasons for you to be kicked out are usually serious and I mean you don’t get your marching orders because the boss’s executive secretary doesn’t like your all sorts of such outrages. And here is the catch; the most important ‘aspect’ of being a civil servant was that your pensions are assured! So while everything would be chickenfeed once you retire you at least wouldn’t go fully hungry in your old age. I mean thinking about old age which would be coming no sooner than three or four decades is one real display of hope.

To cut a long story short, an expression many literary critics scoff at, the fellow didn’t stay more than a couple of months at his new job. All those shiny stories he had been told about this new job by the owner were but out right false!

Indeed these days in personal life or large issues involving many THE SOURCE of the information could make or break everything! That’s why we’re advised to first question as to the identity of the source before analyzing the content of the information.

The Ethiopian Herald March 12/ 2023

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