It was the closing hour at my workplace. I couldn’t bear the feeling of been overwhelmed with negative emotions anymore. I had to leave.
As soon as I left the workplace, my phone rang, and it was Red Face. What the heck! I am not going to pick this call. I had left is I have left. Before my phone would ring again and I wouldn’t have the alibi of Nigerian bad network service, I put my phone on aeroplane mode.
I lay awake all night, reprocessing all the madness that happened at the workplace. It was almost unthinkable as though someone had played a Nollywood script. Specifically, I asked God for the grace to remain calm. I practically begged God until I drifted into sleep.
As I resumed the following day with zero expectation from the whole of humanity, the awakening that a lot of mad people are in suitable clothing still shocked me. I consoled myself for the umpteenth time that the right part of my misery was that I could consciously declare Blue Face insane, albeit that I may have to smile and work with her. This latter fact is inevitable.
As I stepped into the workplace at 8:30 am, I tapped my card to sign-in and turned to the corridor for my office. I just saw Red Face stepping out of the junior counsel office, and was kind of doing a physical check of those not in the office. That was unusual. She wasn’t an early bird or the type to pay courtesy visits to the juniors unless there was some mischief.
Was I in trouble? 8:30 am wasn’t awful timing, was it? I quickly made a mental checklist of any apparent bad conduct on my part. I couldn’t think of any.
Although I know I wasn’t particularly friends with Red Face, I also could not think of myself being an enemy at the workplace. I was just that counsel who wasn’t friends with anybody, in particular. I love to keep my personal business private, and maybe classified as way too independent at heart for comfort some of the time. No one really likes that.
I waited for Red Face to be out of sight and out of hearing, and then I walked into my office. There was no need to exchange pleasantries with Blue Face as I still felt offended, but my mouth failed to obey me, I said the usual “Good morning”. No response came.
I told myself, The nerve of her not to even answer! What effrontery! Shebi emi mo ki e! (Na me greet you). Mtchewww!
As I settled into my seat, I saw Red Face sticky note summoning me to her office. Rolling my eyes, I stood up immediately. I only hoped that it was not going to be a very long Thursday. I showed Red Face secretary the note and walked right into Red Face office. Blue Face was right behind me. Shey kosi lara e, iwo omo yi? (I hope there’s nothing wrong with you?) I ignored her presence.
That was how the drama began.
Toyosi, I don’t understand what is going on with you. How dare you? Do you know this is your workplace? I am furious at your actions. It is obvious that you and Blue Face may not be best of friends, but I definitely would not allow you to ruin all the hard work in this office. I was dazed; what could she be talking about?
She continued; Why on earth would you tamper with your senior colleague’s system and delete all her files? Why would you format a desktop computer that isn’t your property? Whatever it was that Red Face said following that, I must confess I did not hear pim. I was livid. Blue Face too said some other nonsense, I wasn’t listening either.
How can one human being not get tired of scheming and manipulating others? I don’t get it. The thing is, how do people also keep getting manipulated? Is it that they don’t know how to make up their minds or they just don’t know the truth? Whichever it was, I didn’t care. I followed the first law of nature, it wasn’t a time to lament or break down with tears, it was a time to deal with the situation.
The usual Toyosi would have been bothered, but what left me unbothered was the fact that my truth was never going to be heard. And there sure was a reason why some of us signed up the form to study law. To save ourselves!
My backed ached, It dawned on me she didn’t even ask me to sit. Fair on her, she didn’t ask Blue Face sit either. Thinking to myself, what can be worse? Thinking, I quickly moved to the seat directly opposite Red Face, and I sat. I moved my lips for about fifteen seconds, but I didn’t say a word. I did it again. This time I got the attention of Red Face who then said, Toyosi, I can’t hear you. Gbam! Game changer! Toyo now is your chance. Change the damn script.
Ma, I don’t know what is wrong with all of the desktop systems in the counsel office. You know I have complained to you multiple times. On more than one occasion, you asked the head of the ICT unit to personally check my desktop system to determine the cause of missing documents. That unexplainable circumstance is what is wrong with Blue Face’s desktop system.
I continued hastily, “Ma, it is so bad that it deletes even deletes documents leaving no trace. Maybe it is a deadly virus, and now it has crashed Blue Face desktop”.
Right on her desktop was Blue Face flash drive; I seized the opportunity to further my script. “Ma, if you are about to use that flash drive that belongs to Blue Face, I suggest you don’t use it unless you are certain your anti-virus deals with lethal viruses. It may crash your precious Windows Tablet”. Red Face looked invaded.
I then faced Blue Face before she could interject, Mrs Blue, but you didn’t tell me your desktop crashed, you only told me your files were missing. Didn’t I warn you multiple times? I even told you yesterday after your 9 am meeting with Red Face to back up the files on your system? I warned you that if your system keeps showing that yellow bulb, which is the exact sign it shows me before wiping my system, your desktop was in the type of danger mine was in. But I told you. Why are you acting as if I didn’t?
I turned to Red Face and told her it was a matter of state of emergency, and it was best we invite the head of ICT to just format all the systems and re-load them with the latest windows. I was able to get her to reason with me and adopt my solution to stop the “notorious for unexpected deletion of documents” in our workplace.
All of Red Face anger moved from me to the ICT unit. She readily declares the whole world incompetent, today was ICT unit day of incompetence. She dismissed us and instructed neither of us to touch our system, pass our flash drives or even dare to send her an email with attachments. Red Face almost saw the virus on our bodies. She gave a snort of disgust and dismissed us.
As soon as we were out of her secretary office and right in our office, I laughed so hard, I started crying. Blue Face demanded that I leave the office for her. Haba, how na? How? Leave the office for you? The former naïve Toyosi, would have gladly obeyed, but this new creation of yours is the real MVP now.
She yelled at the top of her voice, “Leave my office!” I corrected her, our office. Even though you may be my senior colleague at the Bar, we are colleagues and right now, no human, but God can ask me to leave. You would need force from the security to ask such of me at the workplace. This time, she was yelling, leave my office!
I was still having that rolling on the floor with tears kind of laughter, which was intentional to vex Blue Face, when she said she was going to leave the office for me. Aha! Before nko? Good choice! Sho lo stupid ni? She stomped out of the office, reigning insult at me.
All I wanted to do, was just get seated and enjoy the rest of my day as a seat-filler. Then, I heard Blue Face thundering at the corridor still hauling insults at me. I really wasn’t interested because I was still enjoying the feeling of having thwarted her new scheme. Still, I remembered the nut case I worked with and was sure she could as well be on her way to Red Face office. I wouldn’t want her reporting me behind my back. Maybe it is time to just go and speak the truth. I followed her out of the junior counsel office
We were now right within the full view of Red Face CCTV. Blue Face kept saying all manner of things, I didn’t even give a damn about, until I heard the words, “Omo ti o to egbe aburo mi nle” (that I wasn’t the mate of her younger sibling). Now those words shouldn’t have gotten me angry, but one of our other colleague who wasn’t a lawyer, begged her not to go into Red face office to make a scene and demanded that I apologise on the premise that the younger person is always at fault.
Everything calm in me departed from me. I transcended into my natural state of anger and rage.
I not only found myself talking back at the colleague, and every other person holding Blue Face, I dared her to go before Red Face. It was best to settle this workplace madness with truth or dare, whichever option she wanted. Toyo was ready.
I was gracious enough to inform our little party that this was a fight between counsel and none of their business. Declaring that I am first a lawyer before I became an employee, and today I shall exert that right even before the President of Nigeria if I had to.
As I ushered her into Red Face secretary office, I was shocked she took no step further. Her advisors departed from her, and soon, I was practically standing alone at the door.
I have never argued with people, particularly seniors. Still, that day for being outspoken and standing my grounds based on the convictions of my heart, I earned the name “Rude”. Not a wrong title at all. It is way better than “Mad”.
The bad part was, I really could not qualify these mad traits since I am no expert in the field. Neither was there a court pronouncement to say this person pose as a danger to man in the society; thus EVERYBODY RUN FOR YOUR DEAR LIVES!!!!
Red Face, who though saw the whole drama from her CCTV with all the shouts never asked me what happened. She instead listened to the myth of Blue Face, and others and of course behind my back calls me “rude”.
Till I left the office, we had a redundant ICT unit, a title they sadly still hold till date and me on my part, I have forgiven every ill.
E no easy, when God declared me impeccable good even in the Face of all my imperfections and prepared a banquet for me in the presence of abinu eni.
I must state that my workplace experience with these type of persons definitely will not be specific to my workplace. So watch out!
They come in their different shapes, sizes, age difference, emotional baggage, psychological imbalance, and above all, their meanness to the other person for the slightest personal gain, however absurd.
1. They are the type that hoards information, whether meaningful and meaningless;
2. They delete your document and pass your idea as theirs;
3. They pretend as if they know the job, they deceive you into believing the falsity using the perfected art of miscommunication of directives within the organisation;
4. They believe they are the most discreet mole at work; and
5. The most painful part about Blue Face is that they believe they have a competitive team spirit. They are competitive for the wrong reasons and at the wrong things.
Please, when you meet such people, you will cry almost every day of your life. Be diligent in your task because you will discover that they are actually very empty barrels: no sense at all and are a glorified dimwit.
1. They are the nice guys with the sinister Face;
2. You will love them even when they hurt you;
3. They pretend to love you, but they deceive you into believing this falsity using the non-existence claim to teamwork within the organisation (they really don’t believe in team spirit, but love the English word “team”);
4. They believe they are not easily influenced and or manipulated, but trust me, they are easily stirred; and
5. The most painful part about Red Face is that they live in their own world where they want the loyalty of everyone’s friendship. Imagine one who is isn’t your friend, yet wants your loyalty.
Please, when you meet such persons, you will forget who you are, stop believing in yourself and generally be very confused at the workplace. A wise man called Abimbola once told me, Remember who you are and be unbothered. Just do your best and let your job speak for you.
I recall these very unpleasant experiences with Red and Blue Face with happiness in my heart. It was one of the best 30th day of June ever.
As I lie awake tired of my thoughts, when I spoke to Obaloluwa saying, “I am drowned in work, feeling so guilty; I don’t even think I have even gotten around to watching just a video this month. I feel so overwhelmed and fatigued.”
**Welcome Toyosi, to the life of online studying, where you sometimes watch only half a course in one month, and you pay for full subscription still. It happens Toyosi, don’t beat yourself up over it. Iru awon oro bayi man dun mi gan! (Words like this hurts like hell!)
The life of a worker is one that is interesting and frustrating. I have had the liberty to work to not beat myself up.
Have you met Toyosi?
Let me introduce her!
All hail Toyosi Abikoye; the Pupil; First of her name; Queen of the unknown and the strong-willed; Lady of the House of forgiveness; and Protectress of her personhood.
For previous post on workplace shenanigans; http://oluwatoyosiabikoye.com/index.php/2020/06/20/workplace-shenanigans-part-2/