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Man about town

CEO’s ‘sick’ leave rumours spread

A woman whispering to a mans ear
A woman whispering to a man's ear. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

I always marvel at how nosy people are in the office. Take Leah for example. She is the lead admin assistant but behaves like the lead office spy. Last week, she came to me and said; “where is your boss?” I asked her; “which one?” I am often unsure who my boss is at times because sometimes I have to do work for the CEO, other times for the board and occasionally for the finance director. She chuckled and said; “stop pretending, the big boss, the CEO.” I told her he was away ad I didn’t know where he was. Perhaps, I offered, he had travelled. Leah laughed and said; “stop lying, we know where he is.”

In all honesty, I really do not know where the CEO is. He only came to me and told me that he would be away for a month on a “private matter” and should not be disturbed. He also let me know that the Finance manager would be running the show in his absence. I have not interrogated that conversation since I have been very busy working on the numerous demands from the finance director. He was only appointed in January and he seems to enjoy the newfound power and status. In fact, he has taken to parking spot reserved for the CEO. I have no words for him, so I just let him be.

Back to Leah. She continued with her fishing trip as she told me; “your boss is sick, he is away on treatment.” Now this was very bizarre, and I told her; “you need to stop spreading strange rumours.” She then proceeded to tell me about how she came across this information. It turns out that her cousin works for the insurance company that provides services from our employees. Her cousin shared some details about some clearance provided to the CEO for overseas medical treatment. This was juicy information, but I was not going to let Leah know. I told her, “you could get into a lot of trouble for sharing personal and confidential information.” She was unfazed and said; “she thought the CEO had told us that is why she told me.”

I needed to end this conversation and therefore said: “well, I do not know where he is because it is above my paygrade.” She was not pleased with my comments and said; “no wonder people say you are aloof.” If she thought that this comment would annoy me she thought wrong. I have become accustomed to my colleagues saying I am aloof and do not like to gossip and frankly it does not bother me.

After Leah walked out of my office, I decided to get back to my work. The finance director had given me instructions to work on yet another presentation for the board. I was feeling pretty smug about my diligence after sending the work ahead of the deadline when my phone buzzed. It was the finance director who said; “please come to my office.” I was a bit ticked off because it was already past 5:30pm and I needed to get home.

He said: “I think you have really improved, your presentations are very solid, I have nothing to change.” I was tempted to tell him; “then why are you messing up my evening.” He seemed nervous and asked; “what are employees saying about the CEO?” This took me aback and I said; “I have not heard anything, what are you talking about?” He stared at me and said, “are you sure you have not heard anything about his whereabouts?” I wanted to tell him I may be aloof, but I am not stupid. Instead I told him; “I just know he is away for some time.”

He tried to hide his annoyance with my response as he said; “I hear he is unwell, did he tell you anything?” I laughed and said; “What makes you think he would tell me?” He said; “you and him are close, surely he must have told you.” I told him; “I do not know where people got that idea from, I am just another employee.” He had no choice but to give up as he said; “well if you hear anything, let me know.”

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