DEPRESSION, SEX, AND DRUGS

Ask anyone who knew me in campus or two years after that about the kind of girl I was, and they will probably tell you a myriad of stories, all of them revolving around my drinking and smoking.

This is despite how sweet and innocent looking I was. Exhibit A:

My habits were not only bad, they were excessive. I tend to be a slave to routine, and unfortunately, those days, alcohol and cigarettes were a big part of my daily life.

Whenever I look back at how I used to live my life a few years ago, I see that my habits were extremely unbecoming of a woman with a forehead such as mine (I’d like to believe that there is a code of ethics that girls with HUGE foreheads have to live by; such facial features are a gift that come with their own set of rules and morals).

But that is the girl I was back then.

A heavy smoker, an alcoholic, and a depressed little girl trying to hide herself and her forehead from the world.

Of course, with the excessive alcohol intake came the many sexual escapades, some of which were a pretty risky undertaking.

There was A LOT of sex! A LOT!

And there was also the RA (rheumatoid arthritis), most likely triggered by my excessive smoking.

Even that didn’t stop me from engaging in these harmful activities. In fact, the pain from the RA fueled my drinking and smoking because they helped me forget about the pain and also the shock of having such a condition at such an early age.

Yes, I was using drugs and sex as a way to cope with things, and I had been doing it for years without realising it.

It’s like I wanted my life to end, but I was too scared to go through with it the quick way (although, I did try once and it failed miserably. It’s crazy; after a failed suicide attempt, shouldn’t you get like an epiphany or something, that leaves you wanting to live your life better?)

The epiphany never came in my case.

And so, I chose the slowest, most painful, most accessible, yet most concealed way of ending my existence.

The drinking. The smoking. The sex.

No one knew that I was on a mission. I don’t think even I knew I was on a mission.

On the surface, I thought I was doing it because I liked it; but, on further introspection now, I can see that I was doing it to cope.

Unfortunately, I had no clue what it was that I needed to cope with, which fueled my frustration further.

So, even though I promised myself not to kill myself, I found relief in engaging in such risky activities because they had the potential to do the job for me.

There was something wrong inside; but I didn’t know what was wrong, I didn’t even know how to find out what was wrong.

So frustrating!

And so, the drinking, and the smoking, and the indiscriminate sexual activity continued.

But even the most well laid out plans can backfire, and my deep conscious’ attempt at ending this seemingly miserable life through drugs and sex, wasn’t working.

I was as wreckless as I could be, risking my life in ways that you can only imagine, and not even a scratch (okay, maybe apart from the RA, which came and went as it pleased- it wasn’t doing its job fast enough, and I wanted results).

I was tired. I was bored. Nothing was working, and so, I became recluse.

The more I spent time alone, listening to my thoughts, the more I became aware of the sadness that had engulfed me mentally and emotionally.

I had never known I was sad. I had never known how sick sadness was making me mentally.

The sadness was emanating from wounds in my past (mostly childhood) that had never healed; grief that I had never properly processed; anguish and pain that I had never acknowledged.

Bad things had happened to me, and I buried these memories so deep making them virtually non-existent.

But they didn’t go away, and I continued piling memory after memory, pain after pain.

Introspection led me to start reliving these memories instead of running away from them.

It felt like an endless horror movie each time I did these mental exercises, but they helped me gain a better perspective of my experiences. They helped me validate all of the anger and all of the pain that I felt I wasn’t allowed to feel.

For the longest time I had believed I wasn’t allowed to mourn the death of my mother, abandonment by my father, or the loss of my innocence at such an early age; they happened, and there was nothing I could do to change it, but to just move on like everyone else, and forget.

But that wasn’t right. The girl inside needed to be heard, needed her pain to be acknowledged, needed her vulnerability to be seen.

No one else could do this. No one else but me.

Bearing witness to the pain inside helped me heal. The inner me could now trust herself to be open, and I am a beautiful sight.

I learnt to love the wounds and the scars and the damage inside, and to accept them as a part of who I am.

I learnt to authentically love myself despite of how messed up I was, despite all of the miserable choices I had made.

I also learnt that there was so much more to me than my trauma.

I learnt that I am obsessed with routines, and I absolutely THRIVE when there’s a routine in place.

I learnt that I love to be alone. I love being left to my own devices for long stretches of time. I find it so refreshing.

I love to hear the sound of my laughter. It makes me laugh more.

I love to eat (alone), and to cook for myself. I find immense pleasure in spending time by myself doing normal, simple things.

I love to read. Economics is a great turn on for me.

I learnt to look deeper past people’s actions in an attempt to make sense of why they do what they do. This little nugget helped me come to terms with my mum’s suicide, and my dad’s leaving.

And, of course, I learnt more about my sexuality. What I like, what I don’t like; who I like it with, and who I don’t like it with. I’m still at the sex-without-commitment stage because I’m really into variety and I LOVE my own space. But now this is no-risk sex. It’s clean, it’s fun; no alcohol or drugs . My physical needs are met, and that, for me, is a top priority.

Maybe in time, I will learn how to share myself emotionally and mentally with someone. But, I am not there yet.

I also learnt that there are people whose regular presence in my life has been a boost to my mental health.

Wahu, my adopted mummy is number one on this list. She is my rock. We are INSEPARABLE!!

My best friend John is also on this list. And so are my nephews and niece, Justin, Jude, Aiden, and Jasmine, plus my annoying brothers.

I have learnt to follow my intuition, my own voice, and the more I do, the more I end up exactly where I want to be. Fulfilled!

Most importantly, I have learnt to value myself. To appreciate myself even when no one else does. To feel beautiful inside and also to acknowledge and appreciate how physically attractive I am.

And to learn and love people… just the way they are…

Have an awesome rest of the week, won’t you?

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BEFORE YOU GET A SPONSOR- LESSONS LEARNT FROM SHARON’S DEATH

When the news of Sharon Otieno’s death broke two months ago, the whole country froze! It was all any of us could talk or think about for the many weeks that followed.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. My parents were accompanying me to Komarock to see a parcel of land (because in my father’s eyes I’m still a baby who can’t be trusted to make big decisions- there’s also the small matter of him being a licensed land surveyor making him much more experienced in these matters than I will ever be).

In the car with us were two other friendly surveyors from the company selling the land, and the news of Sharon’s death was all we talked about to and from Komarock. The details were still sketchy but they spread like wildfire on social media, giving us a lot of material to discuss.

Her death continued to make headlines throughout October as the prime suspects were arraigned in court.

Why has her death been so captivating?

– It was the way she was murdered- it was beyond macabre; the gory details of the murder of this young woman seemed to be straight out of a horror movie script

– it was the fact that she was pregnant- 7 months no less; (FYI in Swahili, an unborn baby is known as kilenge; I just thought you should know)

– it was the fact that there were stab wounds on the foetus’ body. This is just another level of inhuman.

– and it was also because of who was implicated in the murder- a sitting governor! The father of the baby she was carrying!

That man was granted bail a few days ago after spending a month in jail. On that day, there was a jubilant crowd of his home supporters outside the court room ready to embrace their son. (Can I just point out that many of those supporters eagerly awaiting his release on bail were women- talk about being our own worst enemy, ladies..)

I did not see a crowd full of the slain woman’s family’s supporters. There were no placards demanding justice for Sharon and her late child.

The main suspect, was out. He was happy; he was relaxed.

He gets to hug his family members. That must be a relief.

I don’t understand why his wife is still with him, though- I hope I never have that level of ‘grace’.

Plus, I don’t envy her at all, woi; I wouldn’t want to sleep in the same room with such a man.

Let’s put this into perspective- your husband is accused of murdering a girl, his lover to be precise. She is young enough to be your daughter, and it turns out she was seven months pregnant, with his child, no less.

How are you supposed to be even in the same house with such an alleged monster, leave alone let him lie next to you for an entire night? What level of sanity are you required to have mastered in order to even stand to look at him…to hear him speak as if everything is normal, and that everything in the news is a bunch of hogwash?

I just can’t!

And her kids! Her kids! Jesus, they must be traumatized by their father’s alleged actions. They are probably not getting over this soon. (I am trying to put myself in their shoes-hopefully, they are good, sane kids. On the other hand, they could be horrible, entitled kids for all we know, and they are sleeping very well at night, their mother too).

He gets to resume his duty as governor because in our Constitution, you are not guilty until you are proven so by a court of law.

So guess what Migori?! You have an alleged murderer, and a confirmed sexual predator preying on young women in your universities as your county leader- you guys must have won some raffle!!!

I wonder how the murder, the investigations, the arrests have affected business and investments in Migori county. That would be a super interesting case study on why having an alleged criminal as your county governor is bad for business. Maybe then Kenyans will learn to choose leaders of good character (a girl can hope).

Okay, back to the story.

So, he has been set free on bail, and I expect he is going to move on with his life, and to do everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, to put this matter to rest (including appearing in a local church unannounced; because PR is important even when facing murder charges).

He is a powerful man, and powerful men have the means to make things happen.

Everyone is going to move on with their lives.

Everyone except Sharon….

Except her unborn baby (her kilenge)…

Except her living kids…

Except her mother and father…

I dare say that even her former husband is not going to move on from this treacherous ordeal.

This is a sad story but one that is full of lessons for everyone that it has touched.

I think the biggest lesson I have learned from this deadly love affair is one on the power dynamics of sponsor-sponsee relationships.

It is quite obvious that in such relationships, the sponsor is the one with the power, and he/she can use any means necessary to make you do as he pleases.

There is no love; they just like the fact that they can control you.

There’s no equality here, your only value is providing pleasure, mainly of the sexual kind (which is also the best kind FYI especially if there is no power play involved).

They are also deriving pleasure from how easily they can control you mentally, emotionally, and physically.

There is even no semblance of respect; you are a mere tool that he/she can discard once your purpose is done, or once you begin to appear like you are becoming a threat.

Woe unto you if you think you even have a chance to wrestle this power from him/her.

That’s when you become a threat. At this point, you need to be neutralised.

From my understanding of the case, Sharon thought that she could control her sponsor and make him do her bidding. She completely overestimated her position in this arrangement. This was her fatal mistake.

DO NOT make the same one.

Another critical lesson closely tied to the one above is that you shouldn’t try to outsmart or trap your sponsor.

These individuals are significantly older than you, almost twice or thrice your age. How in the world do you think you can outsmart them, or try to trap them?

These people have lived. They know all the rules of the game, and they already know every move your naive self will make even before you think of making it.

Don’t go playing mental games with these people because they will mess you up. Stick to your lane, sponsee, and only play such games with your agemates (although this might end in disaster as well, so it’s just best to avoid setting traps for any individual you are sleeping with just to be on the safe side).

These are not individuals to have children with- you are not trapping your sponsor, you’re trapping yourself- to a lifetime of fights, disrespect, shame, and money problems (the same ones you were trying to avoid by trying to baby trap someone).

Final lesson- Never get in too deep with these individuals. You need to leave some wiggle room so that when shit hits the fan, and it will eventually, you can flee unscathed.

That means no kids.

That means keeping crucial information about yourself secret from your blesser so that they can’t use such information against you.

That also means not participating in any illegal business with your blesser. You are only there to exchange your sexual goodies for monetary ones; not try your luck at being a crime lord.

If you are already in the mix, be careful. Your sponsor can just as easily throw you under the bus when you guys are finally caught. Woe unto you if you had been the face of the operations. You, my friend, are in shit because the only one paying penance is you, you gullible fool!

I don’t think there’s a happy ending in a sponsor/sponsee relationship. The dynamics of such relationships make them too cumbersome and dangerous to be appealing to anyone, and yet so many of us, just like Sharon, are falling into this trap head first.

It’s just best to avoid these kinds of arrangements. Period.

Only greed and blind ambition can drive you to invite all of this unnecessary drama of super old, super creepy, super dangerous, and let’s not forget, utterly demeaning sex into your life.

Simply living within your means will save you a world of trouble.

But, if you must have a sponsor (because your greed is beyond your control, and you are only thinking short term), you have to realize you are only a service provider, there’s absolutely nothing special about you.

This is a business like every other. Provide the service, receive your payment, and wait for the next time your services will be required. Never let it get to your head if you want to keep your head, you feel me?

Parting Shot:- Know your place, sponsee, know your place.

KENYAN FOOTBALLERS NEED TO INTROSPECT: LESSONS LEARNT FROM GEORGE ‘JOJO’ WAWERU (AND OTHERS)

It was the 2019 AFCON qualifiers games last week, and we were up against Ethiopia. We desperately needed to beat them in order to have a shot at qualifying for the tournament.

The first leg of the fixture was in Ethiopia, with both teams unable to score. The game ended in a barren draw, and I for one could feel my heart sink.

What if the Wallas managed to beat us in our home turf? The Stars have not always been particularly consistent in terms of performance; what if they had chosen this second leg as the perfect opportunity to drop the ball? (figuratively and otherwise).

Please don’t forget about all of the financial hardships our national team has had to endure this year. Delayed allowances and delayed staff remuneration were bound to have a detrimental effect on the morale of the team.

However, these were apparently cleared up before the second leg of the tie (thank you Jesus! But it is seriously shameful to see how poorly funds are managed within our sports fraternity)

I would have been mortified if we lost at home.

But we did not lose.

If you watched the second leg of the Ethiopia-Kenya tie, like I did, that performance must be etched in the upper echelons of your limbic system.

You, just like me, must be thoroughly impressed with our boys’ performance. We won 3-0 in a must win fixture and it was my best football experience this month, of course after our (Arsenal’s) 5-1 thrashing of Fulham earlier this month.

There has been some debate in some quarters on the financial benefits that teams accrue for reaching different levels of this and other CAF competitions, but this post is not about that.

(although a 166%increase in prize money for the winner is quite an impressive financial incentive. Maybe if we at least manage to reach the quarter finals, we can stop relying on handouts to support the Stars).

This post is about how we treat, train, and guide these sports men and women who make us so proud as a nation. These individuals who invoke in us a sense of nationhood. Individuals who make us proud to be called Kenyans, albeit for one game or one race. They are doing something worth celebrating; but most importantly, worth protecting.

Being a Kenyan is one of the most difficult roles under the sun- there is constant disappointment literally everyday and everywhere you look- but the way these individuals use their talents to put us on the world map- that is indeed something we need to hold dear, guard and guide.

But we have failed to do so… miserably!

The last time Kenya qualified for the AFCON tournament was in 2004 in Tunisia under the able leadership of Jacob Ghost Mulee.

In the lineup was a young, brilliant defender who played a crucial role in helping us qualify for the tournament. His name is George ‘Jojo’ Waweru. He is among the last generation of Kenyan players to have played in the AFCON competition.

He has won several accolades throughout his football career, which included winning the KPL title as a Tusker FC player.

Sadly, his career took a nosedive after suffering a neck injury while training for the AFCON game against Mali. He was literally abandoned and left to his own devices by the league, by his club, by his government, and by his country men.

News reports indicate that he has been battling with alcoholism for years after being abandoned, and this has had a tremendous impact on his health.

He is currently admitted in hospital owing to alcohol-related complications where his condition is reported as being grievously ill.

Unfortunately, he is not the only legendary footballer who is ailing, living in squalor, and addicted to alcohol amongst other drugs.

I’ve heard numerous stories of Kenyan football legends who have been forced to eke out a living from menial jobs such as sweeping the streets.

They are so many and it’s a situation that has been repeated year after year, squad after squad. Worse still, we don’t seem to want to fix the problem.

Remember the Kadenge story I wrote earlier this year? As I was doing the research for that article, it dawned on me that this man-this hero has been suffering financially and health-wise for several decades after hanging his football boots despite being the biggest legend in Kenyan football history.

Watching the match between the Wallas and the Stars on Sunday, I couldn’t help but feel anxious about these men’s futures.

Will they end up on the same path as JoJo and the others?

Do they know that there is life after football? Do they understand how short a football career can be especially one occasioned by injury?

Do they have basic money management skills? Have they started saving for retirement?

Are they getting paid their worth? (Doubtful especially when you consider delayed payments both at the national or club level)

Are they investing the little money they do get in order to multiply their sources of income?

Or are they drinking it away- living for today with absolutely no consideration for tomorrow; chasing a celebrity lifestyle that they cannot afford to maintain- not with their pay and not in this economy.

Do they know that their so-called friends will desert them immediately their hard earned money runs out?

What about their minds? Are they taking care of their minds? Are they furthering their education? Are they investing their time in acquiring skills that can make them an asset even after hanging their football cleats?

Do they have the mental strength and resilience to avoid the alcoholism and drug abuse trap- a scourge that has permeated to the very fabric of our nation- destroying each of us including children everywhere you look?

We live in a nation where alcohol advertisements form the bulk of adverts on TV, and on billboards, in newspapers and on social media. We’ve made consumption of alcohol so cool and so alluring that it has become a national culture. We entice people to enter into alcohol and drug abuse, but we abandon them when they are overcome with addiction, and cannot get out.

Can they withstand the pressure and not follow their peers into this death trap?

Do they understand the gravity of the fact that the Kenyan Government, their clubs, FKF, and the country they play for will not give a hoot about them when they leave the game? If it takes months for them to receive their dues now when they are active, how much worse will they be treated once they retire?

Twenty years from now, where will each of these Stars be?

If I’ll be there, will I be penning another sad story of a fallen football hero, addicted to drugs and alcohol and unable to pay his own medical bills?

I don’t want that. I don’t want to see people who once gave me so much joy, who had a chance to be bigger than we have ever imagined, and who consistently put their bodies on the line for national pride end up poor, deserted, sick, dejected, and plagued by alcohol and substance abuse.

I don’t want that.

So, I’m calling on all Kenyan footballers, regardless of club, league, or whether they play for the national team or not- to learn from the mistakes of the legends who have gone before them, and purpose to be better;

To learn how to manage their income with tomorrow in mind;

To discern that this is a short term career and they need to develop alternative sources of income now before they retire;

To shun bad company (slay queen’s are not your friends; neither are your boys if all they want to do is drink your money or invest in shady deals);

and to know that in this country, heroes are treated badly, literally abandoned, after their service to the nation.

Anyway, back to the present. Let’s wait to see if we have to play Sierra Leone or not.

Good luck Stars; AFCON here we come!!

RECOVERING FROM REJECTION IN THE FREELANCING WORLD

Rejection is everywhere even in the world of freelance, and just like in other areas of life, it sucks to face rejection as a freelancer.

If you are just starting out, it is imperative that you understand that rejection in the gig-economy is commonplace and it comes in many different ways.

I started freelancing seriously about five years ago, and I cannot count the number of times I have had the door slammed on my face, figuratively of course.

Even with the extensive experience I have gained over my career, I still hear the word ‘no’ from clients, just slightly less than before.

It’s difficult being a freelancer; there are all these perks that people tout when convincing themselves and others of the benefits of freelancing (many of which are true by the way);

– but there is the other side that people simply gloss over; the emotional and psychological pain that you will have to endure while in this line of work.

No one ever prepares you for that part!

Rejection is a huge part of this pain. That and clients who take you for granted as I wrote about here.

So, what kind of rejection can you expect as a freelancer?

Well, for starters, you can find yourself endlessly bidding on your preferred freelancing platform without a single positive response from a client and this situation could go on for weeks! Imagine bidding for hours day in day out, and not a single client has responded to your bids. The horror!!

This can be so frustrating especially if you are cash-strapped that month.

There are obviously ways you can improve your bidding game, but it takes time to understand and apply them effectively. Instant results, for me, has always been a pipe dream.

Now, let us just imagine that one of those bids has gone through (thankfully), and you have landed a client. You are now over the moon and your anxiety levels have returned to normal.

However, every time you submit the task, it comes back with a correction. It could be because the client keeps changing their demands or because you didn’t understand the instructions in the first place.

Whichever the case, constant correction of one task, to me feels like constant rejection. Trust me, you will feel like pulling your hair out every time this happens. Your patience wears thin, and you begin to panic. You are stressed out, unhappy, furious at yourself, furious at the client, and you feel like you want to give up.

But giving up is not an option, is it now? Giving up would mean losing the contract, and risking a bad rating, which adds to the strain of trying to land another client. Giving up would mean that you lose the earnings you would have earned if you had successfully completed the project. Giving up means your bills might not be paid this month, and if you have any dependants, it gets a million times worse.

However, if you continue with this project, you are losing precious time that you could have used in more economically beneficial ways.

Now, you are stuck- the true meaning of being caught between a rock and a hard place.

There is also the possibility of the client canceling the project because you are not delivering the task according to their expectations. That’s another low blow.

A few more experiences like these and you are likely to become a prime candidate for high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and a slew of other health problems.

We definitely do not want that, and that is why it is essential that you learn how to deal with rejection in this line of work so that you are able to enjoy a long and successful freelancing career.

So here we go:

My tips on How to deal with rejection as a freelancer

1. Don’t take it personally– You need to learn how to separate yourself and your emotions from the work. These are separate entities and should be dealt with as such. Client rejection is not a reflection of your value as a human being. It is easier to overcome the hurt and frustration associated with this kind of rejection if you do not peg your emotions on the bidding or contract outcome.

2. Take as much time as you need to process your emotions after facing rejection, and then move on. Don’t carry any of the pain or the frustration forward. Venting can also be good as long as you are doing so through the right avenues (alcohol consumption, smoking, pill popping are not the recommended avenues).

Talk to a friend, listen to music, or journal/blog. Do what you need to do in order to blow off some steam. This way you get to move on quickly and constructively.

3. If the client has refused the bid or rejected the work and perhaps ended the contract, seek to understand where you went wrong. Feedback can help you improve your future applications so that you definitely get the gig the next time around.

That is why it is important to always remain respectful in all of your dealings with the client, even when the contract is going contrary to your expectations. If you remain cordial, it is easier to ask for feedback on where you can improve.

4. If bidding is proving unsuccessful, or if a client cancels your contract, get back in the game by refreshing your network. Inform them of the kind of work that you are interested in doing. Ask for recommendations, and you will be surprised by how many people are willing to help you. Linkedin is the perfect platform for this; just ensure that you are using the platform correctly, and that your profile is attractive to potential clients.

5. Keep looking– don’t give up the search, continue bidding for work on your preferred freelancing platforms, and try to detach yourself from the ensuing disappointments. And even when you finally land a client, be sure to understand the instructions clearly before commencing on the task in order to avoid further rejection in form of conflict with the client.

I hope this helps and if you have any questions on this matter or any other issue as relates to freelancing, do not hesitate to contact me through Linkedin, Instagram, or Facebook.

PS: If you are looking for data entry gigs, and need help on how to pitch clients, this short video can help.

If you are looking for tips on choosing the best payment options for your freelancing career, you can read here.

Plus, if you need help getting your Upwork account approved, have a read here.

Bye for now!

Happy freelancing…

IS A GLOBAL RECESSION IN THE OFFING?

This post is not meant to alarm you, although to be honest I am a bit alarmed myself.

It seems that a global recession is in the making. This is according to Tiz Gambacorta, an investor, serial entrepreneur, and a reputable digital marketer. I subscribe to his weekly newsletters, and last week’s newsletter was discussing a looming global financial recession.

Tiz is not the only one who thinks like this. Many economists, financial market analysts, as well as big-time investors have been saying the same thing for the last couple of years, but their predictions have not come to pass ‘convincingly’.

Unfortunately, that does not mean that it is not coming. And the way Tiz put it on his website actually had me freaking out.

Here in Kenya, the perception is that the economy is always bad, so most people would not pay heed to alerts over a global recession. Well, maybe until it is about too late, and there is practically nothing we can do (except politicize the matter).

Whether these predictions become actual state of affairs is a matter of time. What I do know is that it is going to hit our country hard, mainly because of the perilous position we have placed our economy in.

For those who do not know, we are in the throes of a Chinese debt trap and IMF has backed us into a corner in regards to increasing the tax on petroleum and other basic goods. The cost of living is absurdly high at the moment, and our country’s economic activity is sure to take a hit as a result.

Let us not forget that just last week, we lost access to the IMF Standby Credit Facility, exposing us to a myriad of risks occasioned by external financial shocks. Our economy could collapse because we do not have protection from global economic shocks.

Yes, we are in trouble, and we are about to be in even graver danger if what Tiz and his fellow analysts are predicting about a looming global financial recession comes true.

There is reason to fear. The signs are there, and they are pretty convincing.

Let us start with an obvious one – the contraction of activity in major markets across the world.

Most markets have seen a reduction in activity for the better part of the year. We are talking about the Asian markets, the European markets, the Latin American markets, as well as the African emerging markets.

Most alarming are the major Chinese markets performing extremely poor this year. Granted, the slipping has a lot to do with US-China trade wars that have continued to take centre stage throughout 2018. However, the poor performance of the Chinese markets could point to a major decline in global economic activity away from its catastrophic side-shows with America.

China’s year to date market indices have continued to drop into double digits. She is currently the world’s largest producer, and its markets’ contraction means that most countries have slowed down their importing activity.

The US could also tip towards recession if it continues to escalate this trade war with China. Most of her imports come from China, and the additional tariffs on Chinese imports could crumble American businesses (it is a strong hypothetical).

The year to date market indices of the European markets is not fairing as well either. Germany is Europe’s main manufacturing powerhouse, and its markets continue to post poor results. This demonstrates that there is a reduction in activity in Europe as well.

The screenshot below shows the major markets’ indices across Europe, Asia, and America. If you look at most of the YTDs across the markets, you will see that they are red in colour, indicating a decline in performance. The Chinese markets are especially doing bad because their YTD performances have slipped by double digits.

According to Tiz, and other like-minded market analysts, the problem began in the Latin American countries, and owing to the contagion effect, the contraction of economic activity has continued to spread throughout the world.

We should also be very concerned at the rate at which global currencies are weakening, some even into double digits. This is a snapshot of some of the worst performing global currencies at the moment based on their year to date percentage change against the US dollar. Majority of the globe’s currencies are sliding in value, and not just the emerging and poor markets captured in the snapshot.

Perhaps one of the biggest tell-tale signs of a looming global recession is an inverting global yield curve. According to several financial publications such as this one, the average global yield curve is inverting, and history dictates that when the yield curve inverts, a recession is in the making.

When a country’s yield curve inverts it means that investors expect higher short term returns on bonds rather than the norm, which is higher returns on long term investments in the bonds.

Usually, long term bonds attract higher interest rates than the short term ones. However, the opposite occurs when investors perceive that short term investments are riskier than long term investments.

The flight to dollar is another clear indication that we are facing turbulent economic times. This characteristic has been a consistent early warning sign of a recession.

Investors, businesses, and other governments see the US dollar and her debt as a safe haven when the global economy is going south. Hence, there is a higher demand for US currency and debt as entities around the world try to brace themselves for an economic downturn mainly by stocking up on dollar reserves.

This flight to dollar is probably the reason the US dollar is still going strong, and its individual yield curve has not inverted yet.

So there you have it. An inverting global yield curve, weakening of currencies’ performances, declining performances in major markets, as well as the flight to dollar are some of the major signals that a global recession is in the offing.

Kenyans, brace yourselves! It is going to be a bumpy economic ride.

PICKING THE RIGHT CLIENTS

Freelancing is tough and I have not yet met anyone who can tell me any differently. It’s tough getting freelancing jobs. It’s hard work doing the research and actually creating content worth reading (my main job) or doing repetitive, dull data entry jobs.

But, for me, the hardest part isn’t finding the jobs; it’s finding the right client. A client that regards me as a professional; one that respects my time and my input. One that I enjoy working with time and time again, and I actually look forward to our next project together.

Why is it so hard finding such clients? Probably because many think they own you when they hire you as a freelancer. Majority also tend to think of you as disposable without realising how much of an asset you are to their business.

This week has been a trying one and the biggest lesson I have learned is how to pick the right clients.

I have had to fire two major clients this week because they were not treating me right. It reached a point where I felt as if I was in abusive relationships.

Please don’t get me wrong. The pay was okay and there was no verbal use. We have being working together for months and everything was rosy in the beginning.

However, I started noticing that they were not respecting my time or efforts. The goalposts kept changing and my Productivity was declining each day as a result.

I constantly told myself that I should withstand the mental abuse because I need the money.

Well, not anymore. After a small meeting with myself, my better judgement kicked in and I realized I have too much respect for myself, my talents, and my time to be in a work situation that makes me unhappy. Hence, the decision to fire these clients.

And I think that’s one of the beauties of freelancing; doing something you are good at for people who understand your value, and calling it quits when they start acting otherwise.

Well, enjoy your weekend. I’ll be working to make up for the income gap occasioned by the firing of two major clients. But I’ll be doing so with a smile and less stress.

Have fun freelancing!

USHERING IN THE 2018/19 PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON

By Lennox Kimtai

The 2018/19 Premier League season is here. How time flies! Just the other day we were enjoying the World Cup in Russia. Talking of the World Cup, I must say it was one of the best, if not THE best world cup tournament I have ever watched.

The drama started early in the group stages, where the 2014 winners Germany were eliminated. Coming into the tournament, Germany was one of the favorites to lift the trophy. They had just won the Confederations Cup with a squad that was mainly made up of under-23s. There was no doubt about their quality. The only explanation for their early exit is that they underrated their opponents.

Looking at the overall performance of teams, I must say I was impressed by the smaller teams such as Switzerland, Sweden, Russia and Serbia which had hitherto been expected to pose little threat. It is a clear indication that any well-organized team can outshine a traditional football heavyweight.

The Croatia Vs France final was an amazing one. After a 3-0 drabbing of Lionel Messi’s Argentina, we knew that the Croats were up to something great. Personally, I was rooting for Croatia in the final but they just couldn’t replicate their form against other teams in the final. Although they dominated the midfield and controlled the tempo of the game, they were too shy in front of goal.

Anyway, congrats to Les Bleus!

Now back to the Premier League. Clubs have been busy reinforcing their squads since the season ended in May. The summer transfer window has been a busy one, with almost every club making a major signing. Let’s have a look at some of the transfers.

Chelsea

Former Chelsea coach Antonia Conte was replaced by Maurizio Sarri. Antonio Conte apparently failed to meet the expectations of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who has a habit of changing managers almost every season. His lowest point was selling Diego Costa, perhaps the best striker in the premier league when he was at Chelsea.

Sarri has brought in a couple of players. The first is Kepa Arrizabalaga (goal keeper), Mateo Kovacic (defender), Jorginho (midfielder) and Robert Green (Goal keeper). Looks like decent signings. Having lost Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid, Kepa is a great replacement.

Manchester United

Manchester United didn’t really do much in the transfer Window. Only three players have signed for the Manchester club: Diogo Dalot (defender), Fred (midfielder), and Lee Grant (goalkeeper). Mourinho was unable to land most of his targets so it could be a difficult season for the Red Devils. I can picture Mourinho employing his infamous defense tactics when playing against tougher opponents.

Arsenal

The Gunners go into the new season without their former manager Arséne Wenger who has been with the North London outfit for 22 years. It looks like we are going to see a new arsenal under Unai Emery. The former PSG head brought in a number of players: Stephan Lichtsteiner (defender), Bernd Leno (keeper), Lucas Torreira (midfielder), Sokratis Papastathopolous (defender), and Matteo Guendouzi (midfielder).

It will be exciting to see what type of squad Unai Emery will develop, having had tremendous success with PSG and Sevilla. Arsenal looks ready to make a return to Champions League football.

Liverpool

If you look at the current Liverpool, you can’t help but admire Klopp’s genius. He has brought in Naby Keita (midfielder), Allison (keeper), Xherdan Xhaqiri (midfielder) and Fabinho (defender/midfielder).

Having reached the Champions League final last season, it looks like Klopp is hungry for more. With the dangerous trio of Firmino, Mane, and Salah, it looks like Liverpool will contend for every trophy this season.

Manchester City

The Premier League Champions made a few additions to their excellent squad: Philippe Sandler (defender), Riyad Mahrez (midfielder), Daniel Arzani (midfielder). With so many options for nearly every position, Pep Guardiola will easily terrorize opponents with his B team. It looks like the former Barcelona manager might retain the Premier League trophy.

Everton

Everton might look like the underdogs in this list but going by their activities in the transfer window, we can conclude that they are serious about winning the premier league. On deadline day, the Merseyside club completed a deal for Yeri Mina (permanent deal) and Andre Gomes (loan) from Barcelona. The club also signed Brazilian midfielder Bernard. With great players like Tosun and Sigurdsson already in the team, the new additions will enable Everton to fight for a top-four spot.

Tottenham has made history as the only club not to have made a signing in the summer transfer window. This means that Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino will open the club’s new stadium with the same squad that finished third in the 2017/18 season. Despite the fact that they have a strong squad, the absence of a new signing may come to haunt them.

As the new season begins, I hope the league remains competitive to the end. I wouldn’t want Man City to retain the title.

WRITER BIO: Lennox Kimtai is a content writer who is passionate about football. Apart from football, he writes on a wide range of topics such as self-improvement and productivity. Check out his blog here and here.

 

LESSONS LEARNT FROM MY UPWORK-PAYPAL ORDEAL

I have had a nightmarish episode with Upwork and PayPal recently (see below), and it was a mind-altering experience. Somehow, during a routine transfer of my cash from my Upwork account to my PayPal account on Tuesday morning, the funds got lost!!!!

Can you believe that?

The funds got lost in thin digital air, and no one seemed to know how to fix the problem. No one!

And it is even more exasperating that all communication from Upwork had ceased completely for nearly 15 hours. And before that I had to deal with PayPal customer care platforms, which turn out to be almost non-functional (it took nearly 14 hours for them to get back to me via their Twitter customer care platform, which by the way, is supposed to be the fastest way to reach out to PayPal).

Woi, woi, woi, woi!!

When this world decides to hammer you, it goes all in. There is literally, no energy spared in making your life miserable. The anxiety itself can cause you to develop ulcers and an eating disorder within minutes.

I even found myself looking back on how I had lived my life in the past week trying to determine what I did wrong to deserve the wrath of the universe.

I am a firm believer in cause and effect. You do something right, the universe finds a way to pay you back in kind. You do something wrong, it leads to other bad things happening to you.

However, I sense that cosmic injustice is involved in this scenario. There’s nothing wrong that I did……..as far as I can tell (maybe there is, I’m a naughty girl, y’all).

Fortunately, the entire mess was solved on Thursday morning, and it involved Upwork transferring back the cash into my account. They told me the problem was with PayPal, which PayPal obviously categorically denied numerous times, and blamed the entire problem on Upwork.

Anyway, I opted to use the Upwork-Mpesa direct route as I could not risk using PayPal again and ending up in a similarly horrid situation. The funds were in my M-pesa in less than 30 minutes, and I could immediately feel all of the pent-up tension slowly leave my tiny body. What a feeling!!

So, what lessons have I learned from this excruciating experience?

  • Before withdrawing from a freelancing site using PayPal or another digital payment platform, check the Internet to see if people have been complaining of delayed services in the last couple of days. For instance, you can search Google for ‘PayPal payment delays recently’.
  • In addition, visit the company’s social media pages to see what customers are currently talking about and if several of them are complaining about delays in payment transfer.
  • Go through some of the major Kenyan freelancing groups on Facebook, and try to assess if any recent posts concern delays in payments from one of the major platforms we use including PayPal, Equity, Skrill, Payoneer, etc.
  • Always have an alternative payment option on the freelancing website you are using. For instance, on Upwork, we have PayPal, and now M-pesa. There are also sites that offer direct to bank transfers, or Skrill, and Payoneer. Ensure there are enough alternatives on the freelancing site you choose to work on for worst-case scenarios. In addition, please ensure that you have set-up more than one payment option on these sites.
  • These payment transfer systems can fail at any moment, and it is usually at the worst possible time. Hence, please ensure that you always have cash somewhere that you can access directly as you wait for these systems to resume normal services.

As a freelancer, always be prepared for a potential crisis. It is the only way to ensure that you survive and thrive in this business.

Making Sense of My World, One Post At A Time

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