Man about town

My reputation needs redeeming after first office meeting


I have been receiving a number of calls from my former colleagues. One called me and laughed and said, “Josphat my guy! You must have known!” I was taken aback by this and asked, “known what?” He said: “Stop pretending. About the restructuring.”

This was news to me and so I told him, “you need to tell me what you are talking about.” He then went on to tell me about a recent announcement about how they are “reorganising the business, which as you know we shall have no jobs.” This was definitely news to me since I thought the board had been abandoned. Even before I could process this he said, “and we have a new CEO.”

It finally made sense. The new CEO must be flexing his muscles. I had conflicting issues. On one hand, I wanted to get the gossip about my former employer, but I also knew it would not be that helpful to my efforts to settle with my new employer. So, I had to diplomatically tell my colleague, “companies these days are about change, so this was bound to happen.”

He said: “Anyway, I was calling to tell you, if something comes up in your place please tell me- I want to be prepared.” Since I did not want to sound uncaring, I said, “sure, If I hear anything, I will tell you.” Before he hang up, he gave me some more gossip on the office, which frankly bored me because I had other things on my mind.

The other thing on my mind was how to redeem my reputation after an incident at work last week. It was a Wednesday morning and I was all set to attend the office meeting to discuss “strategy and insights.” The meeting happens every month and all senior managers attend. Since this was my first one, I was keen to make a good impression. When I came down to the parking, I realised that someone had parked in front of my car making it hard to exit. I did not recognise the car, so I called the watchman and asked, “who is the owner of this car? I need to leave.” The watchman gave me a clueless look and said, “I would have to consult the watchman from last night, I was not here, I do not know who the owner is.”


I tried to stay calm as I told him, “then call him right now, I need to leave.” The watchman responded, “but boss, I have no credit.” I asked him for the other watchman’s number and said, “ let me call him myself.” He gave me the number, but imagine my shock when I got a message that the user of the phone is unreachable. Looking back, I should have made an instant decision for plan B, but I continued to try to reach the watchman for the next half-hour.

I crafted my plan B almost an hour later when I called for an Uber ride. By the time the car arrived and by the time we got on our way, traffic had really built up. In the end I was 45 minutes late for my first and most important meeting. To make matters worse, I had to take the only available seat which was next to the CEO who was clearly not impressed with my lateness.

I looked for an opportunity to apologise, but none was forthcoming for the meeting was pretty intense. I decided instead to concentrate on the meeting and take copious notes though I dared not ask any questions lest I appeared ignorant.

I noticed that only two managers dared hang out with me at lunch break. I felt like such an outsider especially when one came and tapped me on the back and said, “boss, wasn’t your watch working?” On Friday, I received an email from the strategy director asking me to share my “90-Day Vision” which he said would be-“what you plan to focus on.” I feel like this is my chance to redeem my reputation. I hope I ace it