Dr. Mercy Korir is currently a health & science editor at The Standard group where she produces health & science content across TV, print radio & digital. She is a trained medical doctor from the University of Nairobi and also has a background in communication at the School of Journalism from the same institution. The first born of two, shares her journey with us.


How did the switch from Medicine to Journalism come about?

Well I have always been interested in media from a very young age, though just as a hobby. Health on the other hand was always a path that I wanted to pursue professionally. However after working in the public hospital for a while, I noticed huge disparities between them and private hospitals, which I felt were not being highlighted enough in the media. There was a serious knowledge gap in the health care sector on some of the most basic health issues and I felt a lot more could be done to solve that. I could do more.

What was your first ever job and how did you get it?

My first job was just after high school. I worked as a cashier at Gilanis Supermarket in Nakuru. They had a program running, where they would give opportunities to top scoring students to work there after high school. I was fortunate enough to get into that. I worked there till I joined medical school.

Have you ever had trouble finding a job ? How was that whole experience ?

I did but only when I was trying to get into media. It was difficult trying to convince people why a trained doctor wanted to be in the newsroom in the first place. I remember, offering to intern for free just to show that I was perfectly capable of the work. My priority was getting a platform to prove myself and I didn’t mind all the free work I did. It all turned out to be worth it.

Could you share with us what a typical day looks like for you?

I get up at 6am; have my usual morning routine which includes scanning through the web just to get wind of the current affairs before my 7.30am editorial meeting. After that, I have my usual tasks plus other meetings which goes on till 4 pm. I have an evening training afterwards at 5pm which runs till 9pm.Sometimes I find it difficult to attend the classes because I may have abrupt news stories to do. It’s definitely a tight balance. In addition, I am the vice president of our Sacco and always have Sacco meetings every Friday. I get most of my extra work done in the evening then I sleep around midnight.

How do you juggle your time between everything?

Well..I wouldn’t say I have hacked the balancing act. I don’t always get to do everything as planned. However, I try to single out my major priorities and plan for them. The rest is usually dynamic, more so those that are newsroom related. I try to leave my time fluid for such occurrences.

What advice would you give someone who is struggling between choosing career paths?

Do something that you love; something that you’re comfortable in. Money will follow. I find myself doing extra hours in my job simply because I enjoy it. Ps I’m also a workaholic. I don’t mind the sacrifices that come with it.

What career growth tips would you recommend?

Talk and hang out with people who are already where you want to be. It will get you a first-hand feel of the situation. If it’s a company or a particular position that you want to work in, research on what it entails and what exactly it requires of you.

Invest in yourself. Take courses. Read up on the field you’re interested in so that no one ever catches you off guard.

Lastly, this is one of my favorites. Be open minded and be willing to change whenever need be. Just because you graduated with a law degree doesn’t mean you have to be a lawyer. As long as something interests you and is a great opportunity, I say, Go for it! Having an open mind will enable you to see a lot more opportunities than a fixed one. Don’t let yourself be boxed into spaces you’ve outgrown.

Tough boss? Tough work environment? Any tips for dealing with that?

First of all, your tough boss most likely has an even tougher boss over them. Practice a little empathy and always make sure that if there is a problem, it’s not you. It’s them. That’s to say that you should aim to do whatever you’re supposed to do and leave the office politics. There is no easy job and they all come with deadlines. You should find ways of managing them. There are no short cuts. Work hard and do what you’re supposed to do. The rest are non-issues.

What are some of the most important lessons you've learnt about money?

Money is never enough. That’s why it has never been my focus. If it was, then I would have still been a doctor. If you have enough for your basic necessities, you’re good to go. The rest is about living life to the fullest.

Have you found your purpose?

Having a purpose in life should be our biggest driver in whatever we do. I am not sure if I have found mine but I know for certain that I find great satisfaction in tending to people & making a difference in their lives any way I can. I got that every day when I was a doctor and could see patients’ every day. I still get that now in the newsroom when I get reports over how my stories have either informed or influenced peoples’ health decisions.

What advice would you give your 25 year old self?

Slow down on work and travel more.