The CEO is back in the office and I am not sure whether I am happy or sad about his return. He did not announce he was coming back, so you can imagine my shock when he called me from his extension and said: “Please come to my office.”
I hurried to his office to hear what he had to say. As soon as I got in, he rose from his chair and came towards me, giving me a “buddy hug”, which I must say, felt very awkward. I saw a slight grimace on his face as he tried to stand up and I noticed that he had lost some weight.
After the pleasantries, I pretended to want to get down to business as I asked him: “ What can I do for you?” He seemed to ignore my question as he started to tell me about his time away from the office. He revealed that he had been away nursing a chronic back problem and that he underwent surgery to rectify it. I told him: “At least they have found the problem, and you are now on the path of recovery.”
He laughed and said: “I am an old man, these things take a while so I will be taking it easy going forward.”
He then proceeded to talk for half an hour about how good his doctor was and how great the treatment was.
I was tempted to say: “With the kind of expensive medical cover you have, that is expected.”
His demeanour changed and he looked more serious as he said: “I need your help on a serious matter.”
My face dropped as I recalled how the CEO got me involved in sorting out his immigration and tax situation a few months back. My college-mate helped him sort out the issue by deploying what I suspect were dubious methods that I decided to ignore and not discuss. I decided to listen to what he had to say.
It turns out that while he was away the company received a “ huge tax demand.”
According to the CEO, “the revenue authority was being unreasonable, though we took advantage of some loopholes in the system.”
I had to ask: “How huge is this tax demand.” He said: “ I cannot tell you the figures, but it is enough to wipe off our profitability. If we pay this, we will have to close shop.”
This sounded ominous and I said: “Well I am sure our tax team working with consultants can sort this out.”
He chuckled and said: “Therein lies the problem. I am not sure they can. They tend to do things too conventionally and too slowly.”
I was intrigued and said: “What are you proposing.”
He looked a bit uncomfortable as he said: “I hear that the boss of the revenue authority is a close uncle to your wife. I want you to help arrange and informal meeting.”
I was somewhat annoyed that he was privy to such personal information and I asked him: “How did you come across this information?”
He chuckled and said: “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
He opened his diary and said: “I am available to meet him anytime next week.”
He then gave me an earnest look and went on : We really need this win, you have to make it happen.”
I did not want to give him false hopes so I said: “I am not really that close to him, I would have to run it by my wife who as you know is away.”
As I walked out of his office, I was not sure what to do. It is a bit unfair for the CEO to assume that I could use my family connections to help solve a business issue. I, however, stand to gain a lot of mileage from helping sort out this matter. I decided to call Amisi my life coach. I am sure he will tell me what to do.