Man about town

Josphat’s dilemma after side business collapses


I have been thinking about what to do regarding the premises of my shop — the one that served as my side hustle. I shut it down last year and thought that in a month or so, I would figure out what to do with the premises.

Our discussions with Shiro have not been very beneficial. According to her, I am not that “good with that kind of hustle and I should maybe look at more passive investment options”.

There is a part of me that thinks she is right but there is no way I am going to just give up without a fight. I was thinking that I might need to soon spare some time to review my current options around the business.

This was my thinking until last week when I received a call from the landlord of my shop. I was taken aback by his call because since he hardly calls me unless I owe him arrears. I hesitantly answered the call only to hear him, “Josphat my son, why have you abandoned your father?” This is a first — him calling me son. I told him, “no, I have not, I have been too busy at work”.

He then proceeded to give me a rather lengthy chat about how our generation is too busy and how back in his day, they never worked such long hours. I told him,” if you want to survive today, you have to put in the hours.” He did not seem to recognise that I was at work for he proceeded to give me a full family update on his children and grandchildren before he finally got to the point.

It seems that my landlord has found someone interested in renting my house. He said, “this fellow has been wanting to rent the shop, but I told him I cannot make a move without discussing with you. What are your plans?” I do not know why but I found it hard to tell my landlord that I had no plan. Instead, I chose to gift him some more lofty-sounding reason and said, “my wife and I are discussing since it is a joint family investment”.

This provoked loud laughter as he once again reminisced about how men of “today are such cowards, they can never make a decision alone.” To end the conversation, I told him that I needed to go back to work and would revert to him by Friday on what to do.

Speaking of work, I am very pleased that we have finally closed the books for 2017. We are very relieved that the process is over though we are not pleased with how the numbers are looking. For starters, our revenues were down by 15 per cent and our costs rose by 20 per cent.

The CEO has been in a very lousy mood since and he has been asking me,” how am I supposed to explain these figures to the board?” It is interesting to see the CEO scared of someone for a change. I offered to help and said, “well everyone knows that last year was very hard surely they will understand”. He smiled and said, “that is why I like you Josphat, you always have smart ideas. Do you think mind pulling together a few slides that show our business performance?” Just like that, I found myself with even more work to do.

Despite my inner misgivings, I said, “sure, glad to help!” He patted my back and said, “well you might have to burn the midnight oil because we need the slides for the meeting day after tomorrow”. My only recourse was to let out a nervous laugh — once again I am saying yes when I really would rather say no.