It is the second week of working from home and I am not sure what my feelings are about the situation. At the end of last week our boss walked into the office from his two-week quarantine. We were shocked to see him because his personal assistant had told us that he was travelling back to Europe to be with his family.
Rumours started flying as to why he did not travel. Some said that his extended family advised him against it while others said that the Board told him that it would appear as if he was abandoning the team when he was most needed. Whatever the reason, his visit was unexpected and changed a few things.
The CEO walked into the building and before he could get into his office asked loudly, “how come we have so many people in the office?” It was not clear whom he was directing the question to but the HR manager answered, “these are the critical staff based on what each department submitted and their operating schedule?
He burst out laughing though we could tell it was an angry laugh. “Oh really! People whose main work is to do slides and write emails think they are critical? That is nonsense.” I could see the HR manager was getting nervous and a bit embarrassed as she said, “we can discuss this further in your office.”
He seemed to ignore her suggestion as he proceeded to ask yet another question, “of all the people here, how many are using matatus? How many are living with old people or young children?” She said: “ We would have to ask. We are not sure.” This set him off and he launched into a tirade using expletives. He accused the HR manager of “putting all of us at risk by not doing your job.”
He then shouted, “Listen up everyone! I will not call you to gather around me because we must maintain social distance.” I was tempted to tell him we had been listening to him all along.”
He said: “No one should think they are critical in in this corona situation. I want you all out of this office within the next hour.” He then added, “you can follow up with your bosses on how you will manage affairs while working from home.” He then turned and headed into his office with the HR manager trying to catch up with him. He turned around and told her, “ Even you, you go home now!”
I could see some of my colleagues trying to hold back their laughter because we really do not like the HR manager, understandably so since she never fights for staff but to promote her career. I had no choice but to head home and work from there- though I was not looking forward to the kids wanting to play and for the endless calls from Shiro.
When I got home, I found that I had been added to a new WhatsApp group titled Corona Vibes. I was shocked to realise that some folks had recorded the conversation between the CEO and the HR manager and were using it to make jokes and memes. I was not sure whether to be annoyed or to flattered by this addition. To be honest, the memes and jokes were funny and are bound to keep us entertained.
However, I have learnt that there is always a snitch when it comes to such groups and so it will be a matter of time before people know about this group. Yet the allure of the group is real- I will see how it goes for two more days before I decide whether to quit or stay. Just as I was thinking of what to do, the HR manager called me in tears, “Josphat, I need your advice on how to salvage today’s situation. I cannot afford to lose my job.” Now I was in a real dilemma.