By Agie Opondo (Guest Blogger)
I heard her coming towards my desk, I knew it was her even without looking because of her inconsistent walk in those noisy heels that made her feel like the epitome of the corporate woman. She stopped at my desk and without asking, took my sticky note pad and pencil. I was clueless on what she was doing because the last time checked, verbal face to face communication was the easiest way to communicate to someone near you, right? After using my stationery and without my permission, she left as if she had just delivered such an important message. That was the one week and three days old marketing executive.
Let me tell you where it all started. I got into the Monday staff meeting late (as usual) because when you are the youngest in the office, your job description is wider that what is stipulated in the contract. This day I was late because I was dealing with a reprobate of a client on phone who had balls of steel and wanted me to hear them clanking. The call lasted a bit longer than expected. On walking in, I noticed the new face and figured that could be the new marketing executive that conquered the rigorous interviews carried out the previous week by the no nonsense marketing board. She would be the first woman in this position as her antecedents were male. Girl power! After introductions and pleasantries, she outlined her big marketing plan which was really impressive. I mean marketers are sales people, they make such good pitches.
I’m such a good judge of character (I am not swanking, it’s a scientifically proven fact) and by day three I had already noticed something I didn’t like about her. For lack of a better word, she was a tad bossy and bitchy especially to those in the lower ranks of their respective departments. She would always ask for help from the heads and avoided subordinates. Seriously, what could she have to discuss with junior officers or the cleaner when she is an executive? On her fourth day, she made me get her brochures from the basement store only to ask me what she would need them for. Do you know how dusty and scary our basement store is? For Christ sake it has been the maternity ward for all the pregnant stray cats whose water broke around our office compound (I am not sure if they have labor pains and stuff because you see am not a cat). Anyway I did it because she is was the executive and I, just but a mere officer plunging deeper into the quarter-life crisis age and still wading through the turbid waters of the corporate dungeon.
On the following week she was to handle her first ever event and this needed the guidance of staff from my department. It was an onerous four day event, but because she only deals with those from the top of the chain, she ran to my boss for literally everything and anything. I understand she wanted to nail it this being her very first, but even those of us from the corporate gutter can give useful insights at times. Is it only me who thinks that to learn how to multiply you should know addition first? Huh? So she kept on ignoring me and shutting me down during the planning meetings. Lord! I felt like a statue, I was used to getting attention being the youngest at the office. Damn it woman! What did I do to you? All I ever did was say “Hey I’m Agnes, the client relations officer” Even Jesus still has haters after dying for the sins of human kind so who the hell am I to wonder why someone would hate me for no apparent reason?
On the eve of the event, I stayed late at work to finish up on pending matters because whether she liked it or not, my expertise, (which I say with a lot of pride) was needed in this event. I was attending!!! Unfortunately my little moment of importance came to a sudden halt when she left that sticky note on my desk. It read, “I have talked to your boss (insert his name) and he said he will be attending. But just come ready just in case he might need you there” Really!!!! What the hell!!!!! This sticky note was written in my presence, I was not on another call or talking to someone else, I was staring at her as she wrote the damn thing! Never had I come across sticky notes as form of communication not even in my four years of studying communication. Did I miss the memo? Is this the new age mode of communication? Did she just use the word ‘just’ twice in one sentence? Just in case? No one is indispensable, but is my expertise an option to this organization? Did she just insinuate that even after working in this place for more than 8 months I still wasn’t aware of my boss’ name or I didn’t know that the person whose name was on the sticky note was actually my boss? The undertones on this sticky note were very unpleasant to say the least.
There are many irksome things I can deal with when at work like: the grumpy old man at admin who stares at me as if he has ever caught me in the act with his son or even worse performing cunnilungus to his daughter. The eye straining Arial Narrow font which I have to use because it’s the official font. Rogue clients who want me to kiss their asses because they imagine their butt cheeks are so kissable. The cute guy from finance who I’ve had crush on since day one but has never looked my way. Obtuse clients who do not know which figure on the KRA pin certificate is the KRA pin yet know how many cc Kim Kardashian’s boob implants are. The faulty audio jack of my laptop which goes mute whenever I want to listen to B3nchmarq (dope Hip hop from SA), but sticky notes as a mode of communication when am right next to you? Hell to the no missy! Ndigehota! Haiwes! Okanyalre!
I was a scorned expert and this executive had to learn a lesson. So that night I swore to report to work late the next day, which I did, but it was not purely intentional tardiness. It was a morning full of drama. First, my phone went off during the night so the alarm did not ring and there was no power. Secondly, (read this like a Nairobi chic) imagine my shoe katikad as was rushing to get a mat. So I had to hobble to the nearest shop where I bought blue bathroom slippers (which I thought sort of matched with the blue dress I was wearing). Thirdly, the cobbler I normally see every morning was nowhere to be seen so I proceeded in my blue ensemble to work. At this point I asked God to forgive me for hating on the executive among my many other sins. Maybe the universe was hell-bent on proving to me that sticky notes are actually a certified mode of communication. If my phone was on, I would have called the executive and told her that I was experiencing some mishaps … just in case she needed me (humans, how we love to needed). But because of the failure of my battery I would have to get to office and write her a sticky note explaining the situation I ran into, great, Right?
I did manage to get to the office, late. I would have told you in excruciating detail how I walked into an office full of stares and frowns… well you know why. Turns out these guys needed me at the event. I would have told you whether I attended the auspicious occasion or not. Maybe added details of the chain of not so good emails that I received from the executive and my boss on my doltish act of rebellion. I thought my expertise was optional, well … at least for this event but because this story has a moral lesson and those details would dilute it, I would rather not delve into that. Moral of the story: Sticky notes are indeed a form of communication.