Early this week, I had my confirmation review session with my boss. I can now breathe a sigh of relief because I have been confirmed and I have a letter to prove it. I had gone to great lengths in preparing for the review session, making sure I had sent pre-read before and giving actual milestones against what I was expected to achieve. I had read somewhere that multinationals are huge on such things and so I had done extensive research on how to have a good confirmation review.
Imagine my shock when I walked into the office and found Raphael, my boss looking rather laid back. I had hoped he would have a print out of the pre-read with him, but his desk was quite clear. I had an extra copy, so I gave it to him and said, “here is the document for our discussion.” He pushed it aside and said, “fear not, no need to get worked up about such things.”
He said, “ there is no rocket science to these things, either we like you enough to keep you or we decide that we do not want you.” This had me nervous because I did not know what to read into this. He said: “ Relax Josphat, the bosses think you are a fit, so I will be confirming you. I have even forwarded my approval to HR for next steps.”
Raphael went on to say, “but I need to give you some feedback on way forward.” He said: “Let me tell you something about these so-called multinationals. It is all about visibility and being seen.” He continued, “I noticed that you rarely speak up in meetings but in private you give me very good insights. You need to speak up a bit more so that people know you do not have cotton wool behind your ears.” He seemed amused by his own feedback and said, “ you need to also get a posh hobby, like play golf or take up squash. It gives you bonga points.”
I was not sure what to make of this advice, so I just scribbled furiously on my notebook. Raphael then proceeded to ramble on about his career and ended it saying, “ you see, I am leaving at the end of this quarter, I really do not care.” This was news to me. He said: “Everyone her is now jostling to take over my job and they will do anything they can that a newbie like you does not take over.”
This was so much information. For starters I was not aware that my boss is retiring, and now I am in the running for his job. As I was absorbing this he asked, “do you want to take over from me? I can help you manage the process- the politics and everything- so you get promoted.” This offer sounded so good and I did not want to appear excited, so I said, “surely, I am too new to fill your big shoes.” Flattery always works with bosses as he used the line to start talking about his “extensive career in Kenya and beyond.”
He said: “I can show you the ropes-so you think about it and revert.” As I walked out of his office, he threw a spanner in the works and said, “ by the way, only the leadership team know about my departure so do not share this with anyone. I only told you so that you take advantage of this opportunity.”
Three weeks later, I have not had the conversation with Raphael since he has been travelling. To make matters worse, I am yet to get my confirmation letter from HR. Last week, I asked the HR manager about it and she said, “we are waiting to hear from your boss-he has not sent me written confirmation.” This has me confused. How can the same guy who wants me to take over his job fail to do the basics?