March 2, 2012
I bravely walked into boss’s office to remind him of our salary cheques that were due already. My confidence neatly tucked under my armpit, I stood at the door and muttered my requests. He sat still scribbling something on his notebook and when my mouth started moving, so did his pen stop. He held it firmly in writing position, though slightly lifted from the paper and tilted his head at about 15degrees, barely enough to see my feet alone.
And he did stare for a moment that seemed like eternity. I stood and followed his gaze. It seemed to me as though he was stuck, that he actually wanted to turn and look at me while his mind was still occupied in what he was writing. It had engrossed him to a point where he was no longer in charge of his very own movements. He tried, and managed to at least shift his head to my direction.
Suddenly he snapped out of it. He looked straight at me, suddenly beckoned me and showed me a seat.
I sat me down, puzzled. ‘Yes?’ he asked and I realised he had not heard any of my mutterings earlier on. I redid them. ‘Oh, yes! Indeed I am working on your salaries’ he changed, ‘And have we reviewed you performance yet?’ I squirmed in my seat. ‘Not yet’ I answered totally lost by his actions. ‘Go get the review so we go through it now’ I walked out without a word and headed towards the staircase, pausing for a moment to replay what had just happened in his office.
‘What did my performance have to do with the cheques? what urgency did it have that my salary just had to wait?…what did it have to with anything at all? Why was it suddenly an obstacle to my having smiling pockets? I was back in his office a few minutes later, hugging on to the performance review documents for dear life. At that moment, I had every reason to value that document much more than anything else. It felt like with a Midas touch , it would suddenly transform into a white stallion and race off or disappear with me only to reappear in a backdated time, probably in 1796. I would be caught pants down dressed in a tight Lillian Muli skirt, and a matching tiny top standing on cow dung and next to a borehole, somewhere in the Spanish Prairies. I love those stories on the Spanish Prairies. C’mon on they were really cool! OK, fine, it’s way out of place. I agree. My imagination sometimes scares me too.
We discussed everything I had and hadn’t done, adding and deducting marks here and there. Every deduction seemed a demeaning deduction of Kshs. 2,000 from my pay cheque. Unnoticeable streams of sweat cascaded down my face each time he shook his head with disapproval and I felt worse than a cat that just misses a fat rat. Of course I got approvals too. In fact looking at it now, the approvals made up a confident 93% of the whole discussion.
However like every other normal human being, I chose to hang on to the negatives. For a moment there I collected all these negatives, created a nice mound and named it ‘My Foundation’. I then picked up my life long experiences and qualifications and stuck them neatly on top while admiring my piece of work. I went on to pick the confidence I had earlier dropped and tried to balance it on top of everything else. For a moment there, it stood, nicely done, but a second later everything crumbled down. I had clearly been wasting my time.
Friends, do I really have to tell you where I went wrong? Good. I thank God for your wisdom. It was not the first time I realised I was being silly, but indeed the first that it actually hit me that this funny habit is quite common, at times even to those with great wisdom. Right before you get up, dust yourself and try again, those horned little demons pay you a visit and make most of the moment.
They try to remind us how we are failures, how we constantly make typing errors and forget to include subjects to emails. They drill it in our minds how even with Things-To-Do-Today books, we still forget and end up as great disappointments. Today I have decided to be blind to little demons. I will not build my courage on a foundation of negatives and I will live each day trying to be better than yesterday.
Time celebrate my new discovery with a glass of Baile…um sorry. I don’t drink. Great weekend friends!