Man about town

Shiro thinks corporate affairs is not my forte


How will I tell CEO I don’t want this job without offending him?

Last week, I had a long conversation with Shiro about my discussion with HR where they want me to move to corporate affairs. I wanted to hear her views since she seems to always know how to manoeuvre the process. She was very clear, “babes, you would be lousy in corporate affairs, you suck at schmoozing and hobnobbing.” I was a bit offended by her comment and told her, “surely, you have not faith in me! how can you think I cannot do these things.” She laughed and said, “corporate affairs is about managing egos, if you do not manage the egos successfully you are out of a job.”

To be fair to her, Amisi my life coach said the same thing: “I do not get the sense that you have ever considered a career in that direction.” He went on to say, “is it possible that the HR guys are offering you this job because they see you as a pushover given how they have treated you in the past?”

I hated to say it but the same though had crossed my mind. You see I had heard through the grapevine that the company was struggling to recruit for roles in corporate affairs, but I was not aware that this would end up becoming my problem.

In all honesty, my conversation with Amisi and Shiro just confirmed what my heart knew; I did not want this job. So, I had to confess to both of them so that they could help me manage the bosses.

I told Amisi, “I am sure the bosses will not take it kindly that I have rejected this job, they never do.” He laughed and said, “why are you behaving like your employer is like a lover, like they will not take rejection kindly. You work for a faceless corporate. Get over your feeling of self-importance!”

Sometimes, I find Amisi somewhat utopian and naïve in his analysis of things- surely, he has been out of the corporate world for too long.

I decided to ask Shiro for her opinion on managing my decision. She agreed with me, “you can be sure that they will not take it kindly that you are saying no especially considering the fact the CEO must be in on it.”

She gave me some tips about how to manage the conversation, something around saying that I “feel sufficiently challenged and utilised by my current roles and I am therefore not looking to change at the moment.” She also provided a caveat, “however, you need to know that the bosses will find a way of ‘punishing’ you for saying no, so watch your back going forward.”

The next day I arranged an official meeting with the HR manager to notify her my decision. As predicted she did not take it kindly and tried to give me reasons to reconsider. She said that I needed to see the role “ as an opportunity to stretch and grow.” Her reasons did not resonate with me and she finally realised I was not budging as she said, “I guess the CEO will be disappointed, he really likes you.” My natural distrust of HR people meant I could not believe what she was saying. As I walked out of her office, I was not sure if I had made the hugest career blunder of my life.

A few days later, I bumped into the CEO in the lift as I came into the office. He made some usual chitchat and just when I thought I was off the hook he said, “I hear you rejected my job.” I laughed somewhat nervously and gave him the same story I had given earlier. All the CEO said was, “I see.” Once again, as I walked out I was not sure what to feel, whether what I was doing was right or horribly wrong.