Shiro’s Dubai posting leaves me in shock


It is that time of the year when  HR sends us many messages regarding our mid-year review. To be honest, I really do not like them since they force me to have tough conversations. For starters, I really do not know what I will be reviewing.

Somehow, my yearly objectives have never been sorted since the new CEO took over and then you have the major issue of the duplication of my roles.  Last week, I tried to introduce the subject with the boss as I said, “sir, I was hoping that you and I can have a discussion around the mid-year review.”

He did not seem too keen to have the discussion as he said, “well, I am very busy but you can set some time in my diary.” I therefore decided to do as he requested and to use the template from last year to guide our discussion. On the material day, I showed up with a Powerpoint Presentation that showed what I had achieved against my objectives. The CEO seemed to be responding well to my presentation up until when I got to the fourth slide. According to him, I had prepared too many slides and he said, “this feels like death by Powerpoint. You have too many slides yet all you are doing is talk about what you achieved in the last six months, not the last decade.”

I told him that “this is how we have done it in the past.” This opened another lecture where he told me that I need to “lean out.” He said I needed to narrow my goals to three and only have three major achievements that demonstrate my “contribution to the business.”

He ended up reworking my review and in all fairness I felt that it sounded more professional at the end of it all.

He set some stretch goals for me and I had to reluctantly admit that  this was a more improved way of looking at things.  I decided to log in the review and discussions  soon after this discussion lest I get overtaken by events and lest the CEO changes his mind.

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself  when I received a call from Shiro asking me, “babe, where are you?” I said, “still in the office.”

She said, “I have been in the gym playing some squash and think we should have a drink.” I must say I  like this club thing and I have noticed that a lot of people look at me differently when I tell them that  I am going to the club. One hour later, I was seated at the counter with Shiro enjoying a drink and I was feeling on top of the world. After her second drink, I noticed that Shiro was getting more affectionate, something which she rarely does in public. 

I was not complaining about the situation until about half an hour later when some gentleman joined our table. He introduced himself as an engineer and then proceeded to brag endlessly about how much money  he had made from the SGR project.  He appeared reluctant to leave our table but finally he had to because someone came and asked him to have a side chat with him.

Shiro seemed to exhale about this and said, “Thank God he left, I have been dying to talk to you.” I asked her, “about what? Please tell me you are not pregnant!” She said, “no way!” I told her, “you know I do not like surprises so spill the beans.”

She took a few breaths and then proceeded to tell me her story. Her company is offering her  a job abroad in Dubai and she thinks that “we should take it.” I was not sure what to make of this after she said, “well you can find a job too or be a stay at home dad; the posting will be for just two years.”

Suddenly this did not seem like such a good evening after all and I said, “let me think about it and we can discuss.” I ordered another drink because this was too much for my heart.