What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Monday, August 27, 2012


So I've been doing a fair share of research on this World Bank and Kenya situation, and things are seeming a bit ominous.  I just had two conversations with people in the industry that have both said stop, no, and don't!  That is added to the other two people in the industry that I have been speaking to that said not to as well.  This issue of "playing hardball" with the Kenyan government raises a lot of questions for me and them.  What is the issue here and why is this needed?  There are some other issues going on there within the organizations that I would be dealing with as well.  It's also coming up on an election there and will be rife with political turmoil.  This also piggy backs on violence following the last election.

This point was hammered home in a conversation tonight with an academic that works on Kenya.  She said not to go anywhere near this position, to turn and run away as fast as I can.  She questioned that if the World Bank is in the middle of turmoil there, is it something that a temporary consultant with two weeks to prepare can sort out?  Is it a position set up to fail?  When I walked out of the interview I thought to myself that this is the type of position that people with other opportunities turn down because they don't see how it is set up for them to succeed.  This was how I felt.  With the quantitative things they want of me, the support structure (not) there, and now as more information comes to light about the political and developmental situations there, it is tough to find justification for acepting such a position.

To me it really comes down to professional opportunity, and if it is the right thing for my career.  All four of my aquaintances said various mixes of why not to do it that included:
  • I'd be better suited focusing on my network within international development circles here in NYC
  • Would it be good for my career just because its Kenya?  I'd be doing impact evaluation and assessment, is this what I want my career to be?  Could be very easy to get pigeon-holed there.  Plus the World Bank doesn't have the best name in progressive circles.
  • $40-45k for a consultancy position with little support and no in country set-up?  Nope.
  • Too quick, too many problems, not enough information.... it sounds like they've gotten themselves into some trouble and are looking to throw some random consultant into the fire hoping to sort things out.  Maybe even that they can distance themselves if need be, knowing full well they're in trouble and up against a wall.
  • It sounds like you're set up to fail...
I mean, it is tough for me to think through in this capacity.  My gut tells me not to do it.  My aspiration and passion says it'd be great.  My network says no, yet my mind is back and forth.  I have to admit though that since not getting the Think Tank job I have been able to just assess my life versus this job, as opposed to job versus job.  And it is tough, I so desperately need a job, but do I need to go to Kenya to get one?  And does it need to be one that I seem set up to fail in?  But hey, I haven't been offered the position yet, and given what I'm hearing, maybe its best not to be.  It would save me from having to make a really tough decision. 


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