Becoming: Episode 8

Kassy: Holiday is Coming

Kassy entered the room dragging her feet and looking worn. Aghogho looked up from packing when Kassy entered.

“Ahn ahn, wetin do you?”

“Babe, you can’t even begin to imagine what I went through with those children today”

“Eeya, sorry. You should have come with me when I was leaving”

“I should have, really.”

“If you want to leave early tomorrow you know you have to start packing now”

Kassy had just dumped herself on her bed when Aghogho said the bit about packing. When she heard it, she groaned. They were both travelling for the Christmas holidays. Kassy was looking forward to going home, but she was more excited that by the time she would come back from the holiday, NYSC would only be a few more months – two to be exact.

She dragged herself to a standing position, looked around sadly for a few minutes, then suddenly remembered something and sprung to action. Aghogho saw the sudden movement and asked: “What made you start packing frantically?”

“I just remembered that I have to pack a lot of things, and say goodbye to Efe this evening, then we have to leave early tomorrow morning to avoid that pesky Honorable.”

“I still don’t get why you don’t want that man to give us a ride to the bus stop. You be suffer-head? Person dey offer you free, comfortable ride, you no gree enter. I keep telling you, this guy has a lot of money to throw around, let us help him spend it, you say no.”

“Na you sabi. Efe will take us.”

“Efe get car?”

“He’ll find us a cab or something. He’ll take care of it, don’t worry”

“Ok o. Mrs. Efe. And by the way, are you dating now? ‘Cause you know, you didn’t tell me when he asked you out”

“Aghogho, please, can we not talk about this right now? Please. Let’s just pack in peace.”

“Alright, I’ll lay off, but you know I’m only looking out for you.”

“I know, and I appreciate it.” Kassy said with an affectionate smile.

“So, you’ll come visit me when we get to Lagos, right?”

“Of course I’ll come. And you’ll also come to my place, right?”

“Yes o! I gats meet your mum”

“Maybe Dad will come home this Christmas too, I’m not sure, but let’s see sha”

“Ok.”

 

Yinka: Consequences and Second Chances

“Young man, how are you doing today?” Mr. Okunowo said with a wry smile.

“I’m fine, sir.” replied Yinka.

“Very good, very good. And what would you have to say about your time here at our firm so far? Rewarding? Stressful? Not what you bargained for?”

“A bit of everything sir, but mostly it’s been a learning curve. When I came here I was just a graphic designer with limited training but in a short space of time I’ve had on-the-job training in all forms of media. I’ve had late nights, ridiculous deadlines…

“Over-demanding bosses?”

“Uhm…not necessarily sir”

“Not necessarily?”

“Well, that’s their job sir, as I’ve found out in the last couple of weeks. Supervisors, unit heads, managers and creative directors are supposed to push those on their team just like a coach pushes his players to get the best out of them. I realise now that there’s really nothing personal about it. They’re just trying to do their jobs sir. Nothing more.”

“Impressive. Nice to see that you’re finally management material now.” Mr. Okunowo said with a chuckle.

“We’ve been monitoring your progress and we like what we see but (pause) there’re a few things we would like to clarify first, and by ‘we’ I mean the board of directors.”

 

“Okay sir” Yinka managed to respond.

“Have you been approached by any member of staff with any offer that you might deem inappropriate?”

“I don’t understand what you mean sir.” The room suddenly felt hotter, his chair more uncomfortable. He stared at the air-conditioning, surprisingly it looked like it was still on.

“Hmmm….okay. Let me rephrase that question. Has anyone on our staff offered you a job with any strings attached to it?”

“I still don’t understand what you mean sir.” He had decided to play dumb unless called-out.

“Okay, let me cut to the chase. There have been rumours that Mrs. Ogundipe-Davies has been involved in some inappropriate activities, using her position for sexual favours. Do you know anything about that?”

“Not at all sir, I haven’t heard anything of the sort. Then again, I’m not one to listen to office gossip. Could be that the rumour mill skipped me.” He lied once again.

“Good man. Normally we pride ourselves in not listening gossip as well, but when the firm’s reputation is being jeopardized we have no choice but to investigate these matters. Now, what I am about to tell you should not be repeated outside this office and shall not be spoken of ever again, even to me. About five weeks ago, Mr. Ogundipe-Davies stormed into my office quite livid. Apparently he had come home one weekend to find a certain Mr. Ifenkwe at his house parading around his kitchen in nothing more than boxer shorts claiming that he had come to drop over some work from the office. He had proceeded to forcefully evict him from his house and tossed his clothes over the gate after him. He had come to me as a friend and asked me; actually ordered me, to fire Mr. Ifenkwe.

Now this firm has no policy that dictates what its staff can or cannot do with their spare time but I promised to investigate the matter nonetheless just to pacify an old friend. It would have remained in the archives of my mind but for the events that occurred last week. I received two letters from Mrs. Ogundipe-Davies, one was a letter of resignation and the other was a letter of recommendation for her replacement. Imagine how intrigued I was to discover that her recommended replacement was none other than Mr. Ifenkwe. It is for this reason that the board has chosen to reject her resignation and fire not only her but Mr. Ifenkwe for their improper conduct.

Since then we’ve been left with the not so easy task of finding her replacement. Most of the senior managers or unit heads we currently have are good at managing people but are bit lacking when it comes to creativity. We also have a policy of vacancies at the top by promoting from within rather than hiring someone from a rival firm who does not understand our methods of doing things. It is for that reason that we have decided to take the rather risky but hopefully wise move of offering you the job of creative director.”

Yinka opened his mouth to speak but Mr. Okunowo raised his hand to object.

“Let me finish…

I am not convinced you have what it takes yet, but I do believe you are capable of learning on the job and you’ve adjusted so well in your new role in such a short time what we believe you could the same with this job.

I am not asking you to say anything now, all I ask is that you take the week off, go home and think about it. Talk to your family, your girlfriend, your priest, your shrink, whatever. Just get back in a week and let us know your decision.

You may go now.”

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