My biggest frustration here is getting a question answered. Now with someone who is illiterate, you can kind of understand. English is not their first language and Twi is not mine so whichever language we are talking in, somewhere along the line, something will get lost in translation. However, when I am talking to someone who has graduated from high school, university and possibly done some further course, I would expect them to have the good sense to understand my question and answer accordingly.
Since I have joined this company, I have had a few run-ins with my fellow colleagues in the shared services (IT, HR). The first one was with Mary or should I say scary Mary.
Mary, prints the security cards. Now I know it will take more than a few minutes to get it printed but it is not going to take a year, but this is how the conversation went:
Me: When will the card be ready so I can collect it?
Mary: I can’t do it today, I am too busy.
Now at this point I don’t know if it is the accent or if I am slanging, or if I am speaking Swahili even though I think it is English. So I continue
Me: I said (very slowly) When-will-the-card-be-ready
Me: Morning or afternoon
Mary: I can’t do it in the Morning
At that point I could feel the blood rushing to my brain, so in order not to continue the prolonged banal conversation, I asked the one person in HR who had a personality and could understand me above my slangs.
I had a feeling that this was not going to be a one off and that feeling didn’t disappoint. The second run in was with IT. Now where I am from, if you had an issue with IT or if you wanted to speak to IT, you just go down and speak to them. My manager had put in a request for my laptop, so just out of curiosity, I went down to find out how long it would take.
Me: Hi I am a new starter, my manager has requested a laptop for me, just wondering how long it would take
Gemima: You should go through your HR BP or line Manager, then proceeds to tell me the process for ordering a laptop
Me: I know, just wondering how long the process will be
I stopped listening to the conversation, said alright and walked out.
What I don’t understand is, is it that people don’t understand what I am saying, am I slanging or they just say what they want. Sometimes it feels like when I talk, my words take a wrong term somewhere between my mouth and there brain and it gets lost in distortion town. Or they have just made up their mind to close their ears so answer from the one or two words that they actually heard.
There is another girl, Vera, I really don’t know what is her problem, bitch is actually getting on my last nerve because simple etiquette says look in someone’s face when they are talking to you but she never does. Scary part is that she is a brand manager, not being funny but isn’t a big part of the job forming relationships with different functions and stakeholders.
On the opposite end there are those that you ask a question and they give you a really long winded answer. They tell a story that by the time they have finished you even forget what question you have asked.
I remember last year, I asked a particular Sales Man something like why he didn’t collect a customer’s cheque. 5 Minutes later he was still telling me his story, his wife was sick, they had to take the dog to the vet, then there was traffic so by the time he got to the customer blah, blah blah.
What he said really lost me, he was talking a load of bollocks, he probably hadn’t even left his bed yet but he decided he was going to bullshit me anyway. So I said to him, could he please answer me in a few sentences because what he is saying was making absolutely no sense to me.
An hour later I get a call from a colleague, that this gentleman was crying on the phone, that I said he was talking nonsense. He is a grown man with kids and just because I am the boss doesn’t mean I should talk to him like that.
One guy said I was slanging too much after a presentation. I’m from East London, if I was slanging, and I brought out me cockney accent. Trust me you would not understand a word I was saying. In fact, I have slowed down and Africanized my accent since I got here, which is bugging me because I do actually want my British accent back…lol
So this is the challenge I am facing, I don’t know if it is the difference in accent or if my questions are not clear enough or if I am just surrounded by dumbasses. I do honestly think it is the latter, else I would have this problem with everyone in Ghana, but it only seems to be a select few. Mainly women, may be a coincidence, probably not. I think they are dumbasses, who hear what they want to hear and answer what they think you should know.
But here is a small piece of advice, if you didn’t hear me well. Just ask me to repeat. It is no bother, and it would irritate me far less than to know you had not listened at all.
It’s a challenge.