Takesure loves sharing his real life experiences. He has written extensively about them.
My Job My Life
Oh my God! How am I going to tell my kids? Do I even deserve to be their father if I let them this down? How are we going to manage? Are we even going to manage? Questions kept pouring out of my mind as I made my way down the stairs from my former human resources manager’s office soon after I was handed my dismissal letter. It was the only job I had known all my life. Yet in the blink of an eye it was gone. “Lord have mercy on me,” I cried quietly, frightened by the tough road ahead. Who wouldn’t be scared? What with my son in college and my daughter in boarding school? Not to mention the car and mortgage payments. I wished I could just wake up to find out that it was just a bad dream. Wish I did, but this was no dream! I was living my worst nightmare. I dreaded losing my job more than anything, not even death! For me, it was better to die than lose my job. My job was more than just my life, it was my wife’s and children’s too!
The day started just like any other working day. I drove to the office early in the morning of 6 August 2008 to prepare to go to the bank. I got to the office in time, picked up the necessary materials I needed to use at the bank and left for the bank. The department I worked for was responsible for banking the business’ daily takings. We would collect money from each of the business’ branches, consolidate it into a single deposit and take it to the bank. We would thereafter reconcile the theoretical figures against actual figures banked to make sure there were no variances between what was collected and what was actually banked. We aptly called it “The Banking Department.” We took turns to go to the bank, and on this day it was my turn to go to the bank. Because of the large volumes of coins involved, it took me about six hours in the bank. Around two o’clock in the afternoon I was finished making the deposit. I took time to withdraw some money from my personal account and headed back to the office. Upon arrival I went straight into the office and started assisting the rest of the team with the duties of the day. About an hour later I remembered that I had left the money, that I had withdrawn from the bank, in the car. The money was in the form of two large bags of coins. I needed to change the money into notes which are easier to handle, carry and transact with. I went back to the car, picked up the coins and went back into the office. I exchanged the coins for notes that were to be banked the following day. I took back the money, now in notes form, back to the car. When I came back I was told that Craig, the department’s head, had been tipped off that I had changed my coins for company notes and was furious about it. I failed to understand why he would be furious about something that we always did. It was a mere exchange of coins for notes of the exact value. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. “What could be the real issue here?” I asked. Nobody could give me a satisfactory answer. Meanwhile I was ordered to write a report of what I had done. The rest of the department too wrote their own reports on the same incident. All reports were submitted to Craig’s office.
After submitting my report I was in a very good mood. I didn’t think much of the coins for notes swap. I didn’t think it was a big issue. How wrong I was! The following day I came to work, performed my duties as usual. On the third day I was given a message to report to the human resources manager’s office. That’s when it began to dawn on me that I was in some sort of trouble but didn’t think it was any serious. I went to see him at the company’s head offices. Ben, the human resources manager, was in a very jovial mood as usual when I got to his office. He was cracking jokes and laughing with his staff. “What could go wrong here when the man in charge is as jovial as ever?” At worst, I’m going to be slapped with one of those “don’t do that again” warnings. That’s what I thought as I sat in Ben’s office waiting for him to attend to me. He told me that he could not attend to me as he was busy with his staff so he referred me to his assistant, Cain, in the next office. As soon as I got to Cain’s office, before I could even sit, he handed me a letter. “A written warning just for getting change of money?” I asked. “Come on Cain that can’t be that serious!” “Open it!” he replied. Open it I did and to my shock it was no warning letter. It was in fact a letter of suspension from duty without pay or benefits. I was motionless for what seemed to be eternity. “Sign here!” Cain’s deep voice awoke me from my slumber. I took his pen, hands shaking, and signed a copy of the suspension letter for his file. “You can go now. Come for the hearing on the eighteenth!” Cain said showing me the way out. He didn’t want to give me any chance to plead for leniency.
The Disciplinary Hearing
During my suspension from work I consulted with friends and relatives in the legal profession to ascertain the gravity of my offence and my chances of going back to work. They all assured me that it was just a minor infraction that didn’t warrant dismissal. I would soon be back at work, they said. Though I felt a little assured, I was as scared as hell to lose my job. It was the only job that I had known all my life. I couldn’t even imagine what I would do if I lost it. With the unemployment rate in my country well above ninety percent, the chances of ever getting employed again were next to none, I thought. The one week of waiting for the disciplinary hearing was absolute torture. I was so depressed that I couldn’t eat or sleep. It was better that the children were away in school. I can’t imagine what it would have done to them seeing their father like that. I was a big mess! Still the small voice would tell me that everything would be okay but I didn’t believe it. It was the longest seven days of my life. I have never been on death row but it sure felt like I was waiting for the hangman. Finally the day came. I couldn’t afford legal counsel so I chose to represent myself. That later turned out to be a huge mistake! Craig, who was representing the employer, outlined his case against me; clearly spelling out the charges one by one. Ben, the presiding officer, asked me to respond to the charges. I responded to charges to the best of my knowledge and abilities. “You did very well.” That small voice whispered to me. In less than thirty minutes we were all done. “Your verdict will be ready on the twenty-second,” Ben said soon after his closing remarks.
Four days after the disciplinary hearing, the verdict was ready. One of the company’s messengers delivered the letter to my place. I received it myself and called my wife who was working in the kitchen. I threw myself onto the sofa with the letter in my trembling hands. “Would you like me to open it for you darling?” Sammy, my wife asked. “Please do.” That was all I could mutter. She calmly opened it and from the look on her face I knew it was bad news. The verdict was the one I dreaded; guilty as charged. I cried softly in wife’s arms. It was all over, I thought. “The letter says you were found guilty but doesn’t say you’ve been dismissed,” said Sammy, “you still have an opportunity to write in mitigation and plead for leniency.” I wrote what I thought was an emotional piece begging my superiors to please spare my job as it meant life or death for my family. I took the letter myself to the human resources manager’s office three days later. I was told to wait outside the office for the final determination of my case. After two hours of deliberations another letter was ready for me! One that turned my world upside down bringing twenty-two years of loyal service to an end!
© 2019 Takesure Danga