‘No! Not anymore! I’m sick and tired of it all!’ Onyinye hit the door open with her right fist while the other paved the way by twisting the door handle for ease. This was after both hands had cooperated in unlocking the door with its key. This outburst was she being eventually able to let out her rage and frustration in the privacy of her home after she had put up an indifference before her now former colleagues in the office, at the news of being laid off work. Those colleagues, among which were the two-faced who inwardly mocked and snared at her when she was not looking. Although she sensed their contorted faces while at it and read their non-genuineness in the pity-masked faces, she nodded and smiled at the gestures.
After all she had put into the success of the company in the past one and the half decades she had spent in it, and a pioneer staff for that matter. Fifteen years without a promotion, though evident productivity from her, but the management’s deliberate blindness to her eligibility for promotion. She had endured, hoping for favour someday. The job was able to cater for her many responsibilities but not enabling much savings; and she doubted that even a promotion would have enabled more savings given her gullibility to take up more responsibilities at more pay. No! it was not because of the money that she desired promotion even though it would also be comforting, but there were the factors that bothered on morale, self-esteem and self-accomplishment.
As each year and each opportunity of promotion passed her by without getting the available elevated post, her morale depleted with the feeling of inadequacy. This feeling was worsened by the fact that the elevated positions were given to either external candidates [rumoured to be acquaintances or relatives of top managers] that could not possibly know better than she did, or junior colleagues who licked the feet of those that mattered in the name of soliciting sponsors. Why did her sponsors not prevail over these others; was she not able to impress the interviewers enough or articulate her interests, values and skills convincingly in all the interviews she had done; had her inputs and efficiency not been proofs enough of those skills and her capabilities? And thence, she perceived silent ridicules in the looks of some junior colleagues, while some others took the slightest opportunity to spite her. However, some good-hearted ones empathized with her, and her friends encouraged her to try some other organizations that would value her better or set up her own business. She acquiesced with calm but never acted upon their suggestions; they would not understand why she hung on in this company. Or maybe, she was not ready to consider those options. Or even maybe she was afraid that since she could not impress her interviewers in this company, she would probably not be able to do so in other companies. She feared she had embraced inadequacy and so the consequent lack of confidence in herself.
She stuck to this organization because of the platform it provided for her career interest and expected growth; she had put in a lot and felt deserving and looking forward to a higher position, she told herself. She had hoped for the opportunity of manifesting her dreams in it if she was availed. Her ideas and their executions in the past had been successful and the company had benefited immensely from them. There were more she could give if she could just climb the relevant ladder to enable them. She just could not understand why they would keep her in that level for all those years without any elevation, or give her some form of reward in recognition of her input, or even see her capability for greater feats if given the opportunity. This would have boosted her morale or command a deserved respect from her juniors. Even she asked herself why she was so stubborn to condone this stagnancy and humiliation that felt like a deliberate victimization.
She thought of or cooked up reasons some people that mattered in management would conspire against her, but she had no proof. ‘Gracious God!’ She flinched in self-pity. Has her despair gotten the better of her, causing her to make up such unfounded accusatory thoughts? She asked herself. Perhaps, these certain members of management simply did not like her persona; but who could be so hardened about it as to punish her so? ‘Oh dear!’ This paranoia, she thought, were enough to make her leave; it was unbecoming of her principles to think in this manner. However, would it have been a wise decision to leave? At the time, she had lacked the desire to work for another [or, was it the lost confidence?]. She had not even intended to work for this company for this long. She only wanted to have a working experience in a reputable organization, save and make some memorable impression before leaving to set up her own. If she started her own now without much savings would it sustain in her country’s harsh economy and corrupt government? She would find out now that she had been laid off.
That she was included in the list of those to be dismissed surprised and hurt her to the core. She, whose loyalty, dedication and input, she knew, had benefited the company tremendously and led to its growth. No one lays off their best hands! Did those who really mattered in the company know that she was one of their best hands? Would anyone else be able to give as much, care as much and passionately work as she did? Could anyone else handle that office and sustain growth as she had? Or was she simply self-deluded thinking she was that good and indispensable? She could fight this! She charged within. But who would she be fighting, for what, lay-off? And did she have the strength for and stamina to sustain the fight till the end? Perhaps, she was not built for this kind of fight; and perhaps this was what they saw she lacked that made her inadequate for promotion; or this was just her deflated and vulnerable self thinking she was just a pushover. Surely, she realized, she had allowed herself to be this demoralized by her employer.
Continues in Part 2…
Written by IfeanyiChukwu Oluwafemi Chukwudi