By Joy Nyabongo, 3rd August 2010 @ 00:00, Total Comments: 3, Hits: 4071
DRIED my feet on the aging doormat that marked the entrance to Stella’s house. It had been raining heavily despite the steaming hot temperatures that had victimised city dwellers during the past few days.
Being early March, such erratic downpours were not uncommon. Sadly, the gloomy weather could only serve to accentuate the deep concern that I felt for my friend Stella, whose recent past had been tainted with a mosaic of misfortunes; the most recent one being her summary dismissal from her job as secretary for a well-known city tycoon.
In fact, Stella had called me late the night before, pleading that I come to her rescue. A few knocks; and the door opened to reveal my friend’s teary face. No sooner had we settled down than she started narrating the circumstances that had led to her plight.
Apparently, a month prior to the fateful day, her boss David had completed the Conference Centre that had been his dream since launching the ‘Events Management’ business. The well-travelled executive had employed all his exposure and resources to put up a facility that would be a landmark in the region.
Stella still remembered the day that the contractors finally handed over the multi-billion building to David, during a dinner organised to mark the auspicious occasion. The boss had used the function to proudly announce that the Centre had been designed to attract big shots globally; and that the Regional Commissioner had graciously agreed to officially open the facility in a few days time.
“As you know, the RC is a very busy man…; therefore, this is a golden opportunity for us…; each of us must work round the clock to make the event memorable”, David had instructed. Indeed the days that followed were just as the boss had intimated.
The office became as busy as a bee hive; to the point that some people were finding it hard to grab lunch which, as a rule, was supposed to be outside office premises. But during such busy periods, employees no longer had to worry about lunch, for Stella’s secret food business would always ‘come in handy’.
At this juncture, Stella went on to narrate how her sister-in-law Ruth had approached
Stella some months back, proposing that they operate a joint food business…, Ruth to cook and Stella to sell. Stella had been hesitant, since David had ordered that those kinds of selling activities would never be tolerated within office premises.
But friends had encouraged the secretary. “You could sell the food quietly; don’t worry, we shall buy…!” one had promised. And, ‘buying they did’. However, things began turning sour the day that Ruth called to report that she would not be able to deliver the lunches as she was unwell.
During the night that followed, Stella learnt that Ruth had been diagnosed with Cholera. This was when it struck Stella that she had never taken the trouble to inspect the environment in which Ruth prepared her food. “What if the lunch that we have been eating all these days was contaminated?” she thought in panic.
Her worry seemed to have been prophetic. For a few days later, Stella and her office customers started complaining of stomach pains, diarrhea, nausea and fever. The situation got so bad that a significant number of employees were taken ill, while others got admitted. To make matters worse, David was forced to postpone the opening ceremony, since a good proportion of his employees were sick.
The boss’ first suspicion was that an office attendant had maliciously poisoned the tea. But when the attendant was taken to task, she disclosed that Stella had been stealthily selling lunches, suggesting that her food could have been the problem.
David was very upset to learn that his assumedly well-trusted secretary had been breaking rules behind his back. And, the fact that the hidden lunches had caused the postponement of the ‘much-awaited-for’ event was inexcusable. “We cannot afford to have unethical people working here”, he shouted, ordering that the Human Resources Manager sees to it that Stella is dismissed with immediate effect.
As Stella concluded her story, she said pitifully, “Joy, I had told Ruth that I was not allowed to sell the food, but she kept insisting…! Now I do not know what to do”. I comforted her that things will improve with time. But as I bade her farewell, it was sad that I could not come up with quick solutions, given that jobs were not easy to find these days.
All I could think of was, “I wish she had not been blinded by the craving to earn a few extra illegal shillings”. However, disclosing my thoughts would have only rubbed salt in my friend’s wound. On the way back home, I could not help but recall the many occasions that I had found vendors selling food in offices through ‘behind-the-management’s-back’ arrangements.
Worse still, no one seemed to have cared to inspect the suppliers’ premises for quality control. Organisations need to take deliberate steps to address such tendencies as failure to do so can be very costly to employees and the organisation as a whole! As one person warned, ‘Why should you trouble TROUBLE, before TROUBLE troubles you?’ Mrs.
Joy Nyabongo is a Customer Care Consultant.
She can be contacted on email@example.com or 0754 295977
Total Comments on the above stories (3)
Indeed it is a very nice story, but I wonder what will be the solution to employees who have low income of eating an hygiene food from restaurants or hotels. Many employees end up eating foods of mamantilie without knowing where they have been cooked and in which sanitations just because of their poor income, many offices in which these people work and in for them millions of money do not care about their workers even by providing meals accomodations in the offices, so what do you think, people just eat varagantly because they have to feed their stomachs.
I admit two wrongs dont make it right. The tale is a reflection of the society we live in. Life is almost unbearable. Its such a struggle to subsist for majority of our people. Calling ours a failed society is a bit too harsh but what do you expect with no consumer watch agencies ?
Why are you weeping Stella? Didnt you know very well from the beggining the policies of the campany? Then why this shedding of tears like a babe. Learn to be profetional, learn to be ethical as a worker. I´m so glad that the boss kicked you out, you deserved it. I would have done the same as a boss.
I just hate this doble personality guys, you agree with them in one thing and they end up doing another. Next time have it clear that there is nothing you can hide in this little world. The Bible says all that is hidden one day will come out to full light.
Be mature enough to face the consecuencies of your human acts. Know that for every accion there is a reaccion. You did it knowingly that you were breaking the norms.
Now that instead of obeying you boss you consciously obeyed your sister in law Ruth, see whether she can give you a new job. God bless you.
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