Man about town

I have no idea how I will play office politics


Last week, I met with Amisi my life coach. We were meant to meet with him a few weeks ago but he pushed our appointment to two weeks away since he was busy with “many requests from his clients”. I did not realise that this life coach stuff has become big business.

At the start of our meeting, I asked Amisi, “you seem to have so many clients? How many do you have?” He said, “about 20 at the moment.” He then laughed and added, “do not ask how much I charge, you want to make a guess at how much I earn.”

He read my mind but I told him, “well you know I am a finance guy and so like to know the numbers up front.”

“I will only start charging you when I see your commitment to doing the work, so let me see you work,” Amisi told me.

I felt somewhat embarrassed showing him ‘my work’ since it looked like some very funny doodles. Amisi had asked me to just create a random drawing. This request took me slightly aback.

“You will be amazed what doodles say about someone,” Amisi said as he gazed intently at my drawing and made some notes on his notebook. I did not know what to do with myself but after a few minutes I decided to read the paper.

It is while I was scanning the paper that I noticed a rather interesting news article. The article read,” Company to move regional office to South Africa.”

Ordinarily, this would not bother me but this article was referring to Shiro’s company. This puzzled me because Shiro has made no mention of any potential move.

Just as I was getting into the juice of the story, Amisi coughed a bid to get my attention. I put the paper aside, took out my notebook and listened to what he had to say.

He got animated as he said, “you are an interesting character. From your homework I can tell you are more of a loner, are a diligent worker and have a creative side like art or music.”

Amisi’s analysis was nearly accurate. “How did you know?” I asked. He refused to divulge his secrets and laughingly said, “well, you need not know how I did it, I just want to know if I got it right.”

I ate humble pie . “Yes you did, and so what happens now?” I asked.

Amisi got serious and said, “based on this, you need to work on your office profile. You need to become more sociable and learn how to play politics.” “But I do not like playing politics and I socialise with people,” I quickly responded.

He was undeterred: “If you want to get ahead in your company or in any other company, you have to stop shying away from office politics. We can work on that.”

He sounded so convincing and so I stayed mute and listened. He continued: “In our next session, you need to come with a list of the key decision makers in your office, what you think of them and what you would like them to think of you.”

“You also need to tell me about your past hobbies and why you are not doing them anymore.”

So, I told him about my past life. “I sang in the church choir and played the guitar,” I said.

“ Why did you stop singing?” Amisi asked.

“Well life happened, I got busy,” I replied.

Amisi proceeded to lecture me for half an hour as he told me that I need to get back to my music so that I can find fulfilment.

“I need to leave, let us meet in two weeks with the completed assignment, then I will tell you what my fees note is,” he finally said.

As he walked away, I could not help but wonder how I was going to navigate his instructions on office politics and my love for singing. First things first, I needed to call Shiro and find out about the news article.