What did you do on your first day at work? I just arrived and sat at the reception. I think my new boss is a good guy. Generous and ready to offer me the support I need. Fantastic right. But he is too busy. He leaves me at the reception and locks himself inside for a two-hour meeting that he initially told me in thick distinct Indian accent
“just five minutes I finish the projections.”
I nod in agreement and continue waiting. Then Lynette walks in. She is the receptionist, and she is ten minutes late. I wonder the type of workplace is this. Who walks in an Indian owned business late? She says hi and proceeds to her seat. She is not worried at all. It seems she has been around for a while. She is used to her bosses, and they cannot confront her, or maybe she is too good at what she does.
She asks, “did anyone assist you?”. I tell her “yeah.”
I further inform her that the boss just walked in a meeting.
She settles down quickly. We are on the twelfth floor, and the July Nairobi breeze is started to command some attention. My wife reminded me to carry my jacket, and I feel the warmth.
Lynette, with a tender loving voice, I call customer services voice, asks me loud and clear, “the weather is taking a tall order on you.”
“Nuh. I’m all right.” I respond with my broad smile assuring her that the weather is not a problem. She leaves her desk and walks to walks inside. She was looking for an empty conference room to host me. She didn’t want me to sound like a customer who has not been attended to.
She comes back and asks me to follow her. I initially thought she had been invited to bring me in. I clear my throat, adjust my jacket and follow her from a distance lest she gets uncomfortable, you know!
She ushers into a smaller conference room and asks me to wait. I thanked and in my heart asked her to leave the chamber. Faster. I was in the middle a complex investment decision that she had interrupted. When I start something, I usually want it completed.
She wanted to ask me if I could take tea. So she asks. I said no thank you. Maybe water. She walks outside and comes back with a mug of tea with exact measurement of sugar that I like.
How did she even know? Ooh, yeah. She is a Luhya, and she knows I am one too and there was no way I would say no to this one.
Wow! The view is sumptuous and for the five minutes, looked outside as I sipped the hot cup of tea.
After a while, my new boss walks in with a tiny bodied Indian girl also working in the same office. He gives her quick instructions to get me a laptop and show me where I should sit. This is an open plan room.
The CEO sits next to the sales team, and I am placed right next to his door. Do you know how awkward it is? He didn’t interview me, he doesn’t know me, and there is no basis to start a conversation.
I text my friend Bruce that I am in an awkward position here because the CEO just left his office and stood right behind me. He was looking around for infrastructure that was competing for his attention.
He calls an Indian girl opposite my desk and asks her,
“Do you know who owns that building?”
“That one?” She asks.
“No, the one next to it” he demonstrated. “Please find out the owner and also see whether it is for sale or hire. Can you do it?”
“Right away” the lady responds.
This whole time I am freaking scared. I am doing nothing. I just walked in a large open plan office without being introduced to anyone, and I don’t have anything to do.
Bruce laughs. Skype has some interesting emoji’s you can use to show emotions. Then he reminds me.
“First day at work is like the first day without employment. You start creating posts for your blog.”
Shit, Bruce is right. I should be writing a nice long post for my blog. I start writing a long form post
Familiarize yourself with your surroundings. By this time its 1 pm. My wife left a message wondering how I was fairing. Honestly, I am pressed, and I need to go to the loo. Then I remember my second day of the interview I saw an Indian guy walk in a particular direction twice or thrice in one hour. His pace and his body language told me he was headed there. So I tried my luck there without asking anyone. Oh, and the toilets are labeled I don’t need to ask.
A new workstation is usually a beautiful place to begin. Open the draw. Pull out forgotten on discarded old notebooks. You might get valuable info. I stumbled upon the contact of the guy who sat at the station last month. I text him to create a rapport.
This place isn’t as friendly as I would have wanted it to be because everybody seems to mind their own business. The guy texts back and the conversation goes on. He casually introduces me to some tasks and offers to help in case I am stuck.