Man about town

Anxiety hits Josphat after CEO discloses layoffs bid


The CEO told me that he had a “major fallout on strategy with the board”. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH

This interviewing process has become quite the process and I am hoping that at the end of the day, it will bear fruit.

I was starting to feel somewhat frustrated because three weeks after the initial interview, I had not received any feedback from the recruitment agency.

So, when I received the call from the agency, I was waiting for the worst, so I imagine my shock when the guy said, “I am so pleased to inform you that you have proceeded to the next level of the interviewing process.”

I tried to hide my excitement as I said, “what does the next level involve?” He proceeded to share that I am scheduled to have three phone interviews with senior managers who will determine if “you are a good fit for the role and the company”.

The challenge with this set-up is that I was not sure how to take calls without arousing suspicion. I had to ‘fabricate’ some reason for leaving the office early so I could take the calls.

One of the interviews was quite pleasant, but the second one was quite intense and hard to read.

To start with, the interviewer had a strong South African accent that I struggled to understand.

I found myself having to constantly ask her to repeat the questions. I hope that will not be used against me. For now, all I have to do is sit and wait for feedback.

I have chosen to keep quiet and not share any updates with Shiro lest it creates even more anxiety.

Things in the office have been a bit weird. You see a few weeks ago, we received an email informing us that the CEO will be leaving at the end of August to “pursue other interests outside the group”.

Of course, the rumour mills started churning with everyone providing a reason for his departure.

Some colleagues claimed that the government refused to renew his work permit while others said he had a huge argument with the board.

I was a bit irritated by this turn of events for this will be the fifth CEO change.

Despite his weird requests for me to spy for him, I did actually like the current CEO because he is not a micro-manager plus he has introduced some interesting changes to our working environment.

I was mulling what life under a new boss will look like when I received a call from the CEO.

I expected him to summon me to his office but instead, he asked me to meet him at a certain golf club that evening-this sounded interesting.

After the usual small talk and the first two drinks, the CEO got to the heart of the matter by saying, “Josphat, I consider you to be my colleague and friend, so I felt I owed you some truth about my departure”.

I leaned back and let him spill the beans about his exit.

The CEO told me that he had a “major fallout on strategy with the board”.

According to him, the board wanted him to “conduct a major restructuring exercise, which would have meant laying off more than 50 people.”

He went on to say, “I could not do this in this economy and I suggested we offload some assets instead, but the board would not hear of it”.

He said, “from there on, my fate was sealed, and they did not renew my application for my work permit- so I have to leave”.

This was some heavy news and I ordered another drink to process the information.

After he had shared the big news the chief executive went on to tell me about his plans which include “setting up a consultancy after taking a big break”. His words of advice have not left me since “you better have an exit plan, these guys will lay off everyone — you included.” This other job had better come through soon.