Hi all, sorry for my long absence. I had become emotionally and physically drained and went into a self-imposed exile, and decided to take a break. That and the 3 day light off followed by weekend lights off ever since I just had to take some time off from everything. So the next few blogs are going to be more of an electronic journal.
So why the exhaustion. The project took a lot out of me. In the beginning there was lots of people, lots of ideas very extravagant ones including a walk, a float, ribbon cutting and an opening ceremony. This wasn’t about packaging things into a box and turning up on Monday at the new location, no this was going in style. Which was fine, except when it came to execution, people were on leave, sick or just missing in action. Some felt that they had done their contribution so didn’t need to do much more and others were just way too busy because they obviously were the only person in the whole company who had work to do.
I being named project manager had no choice but to coordinate. Even if I weren’t, I am the kind of person who once has committed to something I just can’t back out anyway, I think its just because of where I have grown up, it is always the ones that do that little bit extra that go the furthest, its an unwritten rule that everyone knows. Here most (not all though) have the attitude that “I’ve done my job”, what happens after that, whatever happens they have done what they were paid to do. Its something I am getting used to but something I will not compromise on, so while I pushed to get things done, the rest I did myself, fighting about it would only delay the matter (although I did have some great fights).
A lot of Ghanaians (not all) would rather just be given direction, especially those down the food chain, this is why as they rise, they tend to fumble and/or simply emulate the patterns of their former boss. It is not really their fault. There is this heirachy here and you are not suppose to challenge your boss. Whether he is right or wrong you go with it without question, so when they are given such an opportunity, they would just prefer you to tell them where to step, where to sit. They will do it without question. I had a lot of arguments with the procurement guy, it felt like he wasn’t contributing when in fact he had done all the purchasing, but it was like he’s done his part and now over to you.
There is also an issue of communication. Nobody talks, they just do, just to tell me x, y and z has been done is a problem so you have to be a clairvoyant or a mind reader or just ask 20 questions (you will only get a basic answer to any question so you will have to ask leading questions to get to your final destination).
So for the month of June, I didn’t sleep. Bouncing from meetings with the logistics company, confirming food, making sure everyone had boxes, stickers, and then making sure that tables were marked, logistics company put all boxes in the right place I can’t actually pin point what I did on any particular day but I do know that I was running on adrenaline. But it wasn’t all me I have to admit, the HR manager was the overall project manager and he was my sounding board, we had never really spoken before he just seemed like someone who was always hurrying up and down the office one of those busy for nothings, but he is actually a great guy and has become a good friend.
Well anyway, it was the day before the moving day when one of the girls who had promised to decorate the ceremonial area with ribbons and balloons calls me to tell me that she couldn’t find any material. It was a Sunday, in Ghana Sundays are for church. You get the market people and if you’re lucky the hairdressers might be open but ribbon and balloons there a rarity at the best of times let alone on a Sunday. I had to call someone in, we arranged to set up before the people set off on their way, they arrived naturally 30 minutes before and well I thought I was going to have a heart attack as we raced against time to set everything up (the black man and time keeping). A bit of ribbon, tape and a couple of balloons over a small part of the door cost 800GHS, not bad for a 30 minute gig, I am so in the wrong occupation. The owner was really sweet though, she said she would give me a discount on my wedding decor, when the time comes, no pressure.
It didn’t stop there, while the people were on their way to the new office, I got a phone call, the big boss had not printed out the speech, and could I print it out as we had not been set up to the printer yet, so I had to write it out by hand, in big font as the boss forgot his glasses. Looking back it was laughable but that day it was stress with a capital S.
But all in all it was a success, I am really proud of the achievements, there were a lot of tears and tantrums, that was mainly from me kicking peoples buts. I had a big bust up with my guy in procurement but we made up in the end, 99% of the staff got their things (apart from the few that decided to not pack because they thought the elves would do it for them), and I got a pat on the back from the big boss (I love compliments what can I say).
That was between 1st June and 22nd June, I didn’t take my leave until 1st week in July, the last week in June was when my high turned into a low and how I’m slowly coming back up and then I can continue with more topical issues. But I will fill you in on that in part 2 as I have a bottle of wine chilling in the fridge and a casserole in the oven.
Until the next time…