I was speaking to one of my bosses the other day. He said that Africans see time as circular whereas we who are from the Western world or have lived there for a significant period of time see it as linear, thus Africans treat time like there is no end and so they take the piss.
I am annoyed today. I should have been enjoying the new year and making new years resolutions but instead I am waiting on an email for which I need to analyse the data and present tomorrow morning. The person who was supposed to send it to me promised me I would receive it in the morning. It is now almost 9 and I am still waiting. I don’t think this person will send it now until tomorrow purely because I sent an email to the boss saying I am still waiting on the information, so he is obviously mad at me for telling tales. He will not see it as he failed to meet his obligations and that this is a total disrespect to me. He will go around saying that I went to send a message to the boss that I have not received the data.
He will then tell people to be cautious of me rather than think that had he not been a selfish ass and sent the data when he was supposed to I wouldn’t have had to go to the boss.
This person is called Olu. A nigerian who has been expatriated to Ghana to work as a sales manager. During the first few weeks of me starting at the new place I had to go round the different regions in Ghana to see how they sell and he seemed like a nice person. Over the christmas period as he was home alone I hung out with him once and he spent the christmas at mine as I had already invited my friend Lew and her daughter. I don’t know from this if he thinks we are best buddies but I think he is getting somewhat familiar. In England, normally when you are friends with your colleague they are more likely to go the extra mile when you need something. From my experience in Africa it is the other way.
I remember when I used to work with my best friend P. One day she was really under the cosh and I had been in her office chatting for a while. She told me off that day basically telling me she had work to do so I should push off (she did say it much nicer than that though), I couldn’t be mad at her afterall we were friends but this was work and there is a time for everything and I respect her for setting that boundary. Even though I have a mouth on me, I am not usually so straight up. A lady in my office who I have gelled with (probably the only person who has a serious worth ethic but I will talk about my colleagues in depth another time) came to my office. Because it was during the christmas period the office was a bit relaxed but I had a report to do. I ended up coming home to work because she could have talked all day had I stayed there. I should have told her to get out but I just let her go on.
But I digress. Olu is on leave. He was supposed to travel to Europe but his visa was denied but his boss had given him a few days off so at least he could have a little break while he re-submits his visa application. My boss said that I could present on his behalf (thanks). So then he tells me he can’t give it to me today (being yesterday) but will send it this morning. I don’t know if I was supposed to chase him but if after a text message and a skype message I still don’t get what I need, I email the boss so I don’t get shouted at in the meeting tomorrow.
So he (Olu) calls me to say “I’ve heard that you were looking for me I am quite surprised”, I ask for the email and he replies “there’s more to life than the job”. Now my boss, he likes the sound of his own voice and has slammed every idea I have come up with for this new role and has basically told me to come up with a way to add value and that if by the end of my probation period he doesn’t see the benefit of me it is likely the position will be scrapped. Coming to a meeting unprepared (which I certainly will be now as I will see the damned email at best 5 minutes before the meeting) or without one at all is really going to make me look good. So I raised the alarm first, its not about arse covering its about protecting my image. If he thinks that because we are “friends” I will take a bullet for him then sorry that protection is for my family and my friends who are basically like family, not for someone who purposely antagonises the one holding the loaded gun!
But I will not let this put a dampener on my new year. It’s even given me my first resolution, that is not to let anyone take the piss.