Man about town

Job woes and growing worries about my old folk

An old man. file photo | nmg
An old man. file photo | nmg 

Things are back to normal in the office and I must say the General Election seems like it happened a long time ago. On Monday, my boss sent me an email requesting that we meet to discuss “numbers”. I was taken aback because we had updated him before the elections and surely nothing had changed.

I learnt a long time ago that there is no wisdom in questioning the boss. So, yesterday we had a long meeting with the CEO to discuss the “numbers.” He seemed very agitated and anxious and I could not help but ask him, “is everything okay?” He chuckled and said, “how can everything be okay?”

The world is not looking good at all! I figured out that he wanted to vent so I stayed mute as he went on and on about how the “business has not picked up and this election business is not helping and now the board is not happy.”

He spent the next 20 minutes going on about how things needed to change soon because according to him, “at this rate, I will have to fire people and I do not want to be known as the CEO who fired people.”

Sometimes, I really wonder about these bosses. They get paid the big bucks, they get all the benefits yet they like to keep complaining about their so-called challenges. I wish they would get a peek into my life and see the many things and issues that I have to deal with outside the office.

Speaking of issues outside the office, my stay at the village was quite eventful and full of surprises. I realised that it is the first time in a long time when I have spent a sufficient time bonding with only my parents.

One of the things that struck me was that now they look a bit older and more frail than previously. My father who has always appeared so strong and invincible now has a full head of grey hair and I noticed that he has a persistent cough. My mother has a slight limp though she told me, “it is nothing serious, you need not worry.” 

On one hand, I was worried about my parents’ health now that they are older, but I also was concerned about the possible financial impact should they get sick. Since only two out of my five siblings are employed, it was quite clear that any illness would hurt my wallet badly.

I decided to act and talk to my brother (who was also in the village to vote). We went to the pub after voting and I decided to broach the subject as we were having our second beer. I asked him, “Thomas, have you looked at our folks of late? Have you seen how they have changed?” He laughed and said, “well they have changed, they look tired.”

I was glad that he too had noticed so I told him, “they are growing older and becoming sickly. Have you sat and thought about how we would deal with any medical bills?” He was a bit emotionless about it as he said, “no, I have not since you are the one who always deals with that kind of stuff.”

I was taken aback by his view and I said, “though that might be the case, we need to get them insurance so that we do not bleed too much money.”

My brother spent the next few minutes giving me reasons why he cannot contribute towards any payment for my parents’ insurance cover. He said that he has “a new family, is studying for his MBA and is yet to finish paying his car loan.”

I tried to make him see sense and said, “you surely must spare some money for our parents- we owe them that.”

His final response shocked me as he said, “why are you being so mean? We all know you and your wife make lots of money, we have seen how you live. Are you telling me that sparing a few coins will make you broke when you drive such a big car?” This statement hit me deep and I thought to myself, “I wish these guys knew the truth.”