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I rose from being a hawker to a shift supervisor - Steve Sitati, Big Square.

I have gotten to realize when you do what you are required to do, you’ll go far. So be patient, get the experience and be curious to learn.

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I have gotten to realize when you do what you are required to do, you’ll go far. So be patient, get the experience and be curious to learn.

There is nothing about Steve Sitati’s warm and affable personality that gives away the amount of adversity he has been through. His hardwork and resilience has seen him grow from being a hawker to a shift supervisor in Kenya’s leading restaurant chain- Big Square.

Steve shared the story of his career journey leading up to his role current role as the Shift Supervisor at Big Square in an exclusive interview Fuzu. His story will leave you with a renewed respect for hardworking people who do menial jobs.

Who is Steve Sitati?

Steve is a born again Christian and one of the main men working in Big Square Lavington Branch as a shift leader. I’m in a team of a about 30 people. I do stock management, cash management and staff management.

What makes you wake up early in the morning psyched to come to work?

The need to grow my career and facilitate payment of my school fees to continue with education. I’m still a student. I stepped aside for a while at least to enable my siblings to be educated too. yeah, that is it.

What did you aspire to be while growing up?

I have always hoped to be a Manager. I am therefore hoping to become one of Big Square’s Area Manager one day. That’s what is always on my mind. Hopefully I’ll get a chance.

What attracted you to Big Square?

To begin with I was introduced to Big Square by a friend of mine who used to work for a cleaning company called Parapet. I didn’t have a job then. At first, I thought I couldn’t qualify for a job here because it seemed to be a big company. But after doing the interview, I was successfully hired. I thought things would turn out to be harder. However, Big Square knew how to prepare me for what lay ahead.

I was trained on different functions across the business and that enabled me to understand how things work. Everything that has been happening ever since has been a motivation for me.

How has your experience been in Big Square since you joined?

I joined Big Square in May 2016. I must say I have had a great experience. I have met people whom I could never have met, and I have grown. For example, I wasn’t courageous enough to speak to people. If I met a mzungu here, I could not have been able to communicate with him or her (chuckles). I have also grown in terms of work experience; I can be a waiter and cook in the kitchen.

What were your expectations when you were joining Big Square? Good salary? Good culture?

I had already been told what the salary would be, but I never thought I would work at Big Square for 3 years. Rumor had it that people don’t work for long at Big Square. But when I officially started working, I realized that when you are positive and stick to your work, things just work out. When you do the right thing nothing bad happens. I got used to the money, I don’t even remember saving up (chuckles).

So... for you it wasn't really about the money?

Yeah, I just wanted a job because I had stayed at home for quite some time. I just wanted to work.  

What do you miss about working as waiter now that you are a shift supervisor?

I miss the interaction with my customers. As a waiter, my contact with the customers was on a personal level and I could get to meet many different people. At the moment I’m not that free as I was as a waiter to go around and interact with customers.

Looking back to 2018, what were some of your highest and lowest points in your career?

I was promoted in 2018, that was a win for me. The lowest point was during the last quarter of the year, we performed poorly in terms of sales compared to previous years.

Moving into 2019, which habits are you letting go and which ones are you taking with you?

Being so casual and close to staff is a good thing but it affected my working relationship with the team. It affected how I was managing them. Some guys would come in late. But I have improved on that this year. My social and management skills have improved.

If I’m looking for a job, why would advise me to join the team at Big Square?

This is a rapidly growing company and I can tell you that when you come here, there are lots of opportunities for growth.

You seem to be a fairly young guy for a supervisor. For how long have you been working?

I have worked for approximately three and a half years.

What would you say you have learnt in those 3 years?

I’ve learnt that it’s a journey and that pushing isn’t easy. Before I joined Big Square, I used to sell raw bananas. Initially I thought I would only last at Big Square for a few months, but I have gotten to realize when you do what you are required to do, you’ll go far. So be patient, get the experience and be curious to learn.

Written by

Kelvin Mokaya

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