There is a Jungle Out There: The Answer is Strategy from the Home Front

There is a Jungle Out There: The Answer is Strategy from the Home Front

When one gets married, it may not be so apparent how important it is to ensure that one’s relationship at home needs to be more important than work or career success. It is called strategy from the home front. But before you realize, you may find yourself joining support groups that help you deal with how to ensure stability in the family. You may laugh when you hear that some people do attend marriage classes after getting married. But I am told it is only in marriage that you graduate before attending the classes or taking an exam.


It has been said that ‘a man who hasn’t conquered his home couldn’t even conquer his place of work’. These statements may not make sense until one is faced with work-related challenges that create a need to unwind. When one realizes that things will at some point get tough in the place of work, then one easily discovers how precious it is to maintain stable relations in one’s family since that could be the only place one could actually run to for emotional support. In this regard, it’s worth acknowledging that we live in a jungle and that there is need for us to reflect on the kind of society we live in.  First we shall consider the place of work and secondly think of society as a whole.

Observe this in your place of work. When things are great in your career, your inner circle colleagues are so close, warm and they give you all the encouragement you need while those who are not so enthused with how things are punning out for you remain distant and their greetings can be very cold. When you are facing a hard time in your career, you find that this equation contextually changes completely. Your inner circle move to the relevant centers of power since your value is seen to be dwindling and you may not provide the carrots that kept them around you. And for those who used to be distant come closer not because they are becoming friendlier, it is because they want to notify you that your world is crumbling. This is one of the reasons why I have always thought of adding Corporate Politics as a unit in the MBA program since studdnts need to be more equipped with this than sometimes knowing about the balance sheet. This demonstrates the need to create an arena that remains a constant source of inspiration and consolation. This arena is mostly family. That’s why Pope Francis has made it a center of emphasis in his exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ or ‘On Love in the Family’. Without a stable family where there is love, when things get thick from your work place, there is nowhere to go

This can jolly well explain why our bars are full and they are mostly located on your left going home since some people need to hide from work and home-related issues. It does not mean that going to the bar to take ‘one or two’ is bad but when it is done as a way to deal with a depressing work environment and a chaotic home then it leaves a lot to be desired. In fact some people leave work on Friday and drive directly to a bar and show up at home late on Saturday night, just to catch up with enough sleep to go to church and back to work on Monday. According to Samantha Boardman, there are nine things you can do to live a long and happy life. She believes the world’s longest living people emphasize family and friends. Great grandparents, grandparents, parents and children often live in close proximity and contribute to the household.  Now wonder Centenarians, those who live long life, commit to a life partner and invest in their relationships.

After writing well over 100 articles in The Standard Newspaper for the public and trying to make them available to my students and generally my followers, I discovered that some of my best pieces have never received the kind of attention some of the personal Facebook posts have attracted. These personal rumors seem to trend like wide fire. I don’t know why?

The other day, I posted on Facebook an episode in one of my classes, in which the key message was that things are hard on all of us as individuals out there so we need a soft landing. That is, the place to let our head be at home in a family environment and recover. While one can assume that the attention the post received was good, it was utterly unnecessary. The core message got lost as it was over-circulated by folks who took screenshots and sent it to WhatsApp groups to those who commented and shared it further in different forums. It is interesting to contemplate a situation where chaps repudiate creative reasoning only to emphatically embrace a demeaning demand for an apology. How do you possibly say Mea Culpas when no one can ascertain that you made specific reference to them in any context whatsoever? The main question is whether there is something wrong with these students, their lecturer or society in general.

To be honest, that is not even the interesting question. The truth of the matter is that we are living in a world where a society tends to focus on the useless part of the story and leave the gist of the information. This is why our society is spending more time on Facebook posts and WhatsApp forwards especially on rumors of people’s lives forgetting very educative material that could transform their lives. Someone once said, if you want to hide something from an African, put it in a book. I think he needed to add that if you want to hide something from the world, introduce social media with rumors about personal lives.

Imagine if there are rumors about a couple that is going through rough patch. Folks would read such posted rumor more than they could read a post on how to turnaround their businesses. Taking this regard, I believe that our society needs to think about what to rely on for the challenges we face in life and see their family as the fundamental building block of success, the cornerstone of their life’s strategy, not the capstone. The strong lesson here meant for men like me is to appreciate the family. This was inspired by a message I stumbled upon. It read:  “a good woman that is faithful, ambitious, family oriented, honest, educated and loyal. Who supports you at your worst and is there to celebrate with you at your best…” is hard to come by nowadays so when you have one make sure you appreciate and cherish her cause entertainment clubs and bars are full of dudes wishing they had the girl you left at home. So don’t drive from your place of work to the bar just because there is chaos at your place of work and trouble at home, create a homely environment that you can run to. You ought to do this proactively not to wait when already in trouble. This must have been the basis for the shortest speech by Coca-Cola’s CEO:

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these; they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it. Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest. Value has a value only if its value is valued.”

Written by:

Dr. Fredrick Onyango Ogola ,
Senior Lecturer- Strategy and Competitiveness
Strathmore University
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