BY THE WAY: How to be broke at work

Sunday May 13 2012

By Peter Kakoma

How does one get through difficult financial times? How should you cope when you are broke? Crying doesn’t help. Wailing will only bring the inquisitive gatekeeper to your bedroom window. I know it is still early in the month, so you will not need much of the advice I have spent these past three years collecting.

The beauty of this is that in the digital age, you can bookmark this page or you could just keep the newspaper till later this month when you are stone broke and can re-read some of these priceless tips that only years of pain-staking research can produce. So how should you cope when you are broke?

The first meal at work is usually an indicator of how things are down south. “Down south” being your wallet my friend. Yes, even you my lady friend. You do have a wallet too no? Good leather, burgundy in colour, five zips in places you cannot reach and two pictures of smiley children in them. But it will be empty at month-end. Yet, at breakfast, the people you work with are doing not-so-silent justice to pieces of pizza (that is not counting Buyos who is silently munching what looks like cold Matooke.

Let’s leave him out of this). So how do you cope? Well, remember how you have always wanted Jane to explain to you what Legacy Loans are? Now is a good time to ask. Walk over and ask away and while the conversation flows naturally, let your hand, just as naturally, reach into whatever she is having for breakfast.

Do not break eye contact-doing so is considered rude in many cultures. Why would you want to be rude to someone taking off time to give you information? Have your poker face on during the entire act. Eat to your fill then ‘receive a call from your other businesspartner in Shanghai’, pick it up and walk away.

With the advent of a health-conscious generation, there is no harm in jumping on the bandwagon when it suits you. Leave several tabs on your computer open whenever someone approaches your desk. Anyone within a ten meter radius of your workstation should only see you reading articles like; “Fitness. Fit life”, “Live like a health freak today. Or just a freak. Or just a health freak”, “Exercise. Diet. Good life”. Then at lunch say you are on a diet.