Hi, my name is Dodeye and I just got a job as the public relations officer in Muze company. It’s a company that deals in oil, gas and consulting. I live in Calabar but I just moved to Uyo ‘cos of the job.
It was my first day at work and so I decided to wear the sky blue gown I’d been saving for a long time, I paired it with my royal blue heels and red Michael Kors handbag. When I signed my name in the time book and walked into the office, it felt and looked better than the day I came for the interview! Everyone was already in the office, seated and doing one thing or the other and I started feeling like I was late until I confirmed the time was 8.30am and work doesn’t start till 9am. Why is everyone so early though? I asked myself. Nobody was even paying attention to me so I couldn’t walk in a grand style like I’d been practicing the whole weekend. I just walked quietly into my cubicle and sat down feeling invisible. Is this how it’s going to be? I wondered. It’ll be better, it’s just ‘cos it’s my first day, I consoled myself.
The day was going worse than I had imagined, the other people whispering to themselves sometimes and laughed really hard other times. It was like they didn’t notice my presence. Please can I have your pen? I asked the girl sitting at my right hand side. “No you can’t, I’m using it”! She replied without even looking at me. I was shocked to my teeth. Not only because of how she responded but because she wasn’t using her pen. Before I could start regretting why I even tried to start a conversation, the guy from my left said ” today is your first day and you’re already asking for a pen. I wonder what you’ll ask for after two weeks” and the girl by my right chuckled. I looked at both of them and I was short of words. All that came into my head was how bigger kids bully the smaller ones in school. I decided to focus on work, kept checking mails on my system and replying some.
2 pm is lunchtime according to the appointment letter I got, but the time was 2.20 and nobody had gotten up to go eat. I was really hungry as I didn’t have a proper breakfast, just had two slices of bread since I was hurrying so I could get to work really early. I decided to get up and go have something to eat at the office canteen. When I stood up and moved, I realized the place was eerily quiet as the only sound I was hearing was the sound of my heels on the tiles. Walking out of the door was a tough job as everybody stopped what they were doing and was staring at me. It was like walking through a gauntlet! I wanted to run back to my seat and hide but I had already moved. I prayed for just 1% of Kanye’s confidence so I can get to the end of the very long hallway.
When I got to the canteen, the lady serving food looked surprised. “You’re new”? She asked me. Yes I am I replied. Why? I asked. “Well, if you weren’t you won’t be here now. These people wait till 2.50pm before they come for lunch and I’m not sure why”. Oh! I replied, really crazy, I added. Please can I have coconut rice, salad and fish? I requested. “Alright go and have a seat, I’ll bring it to you”, she said. I checked around and saw one beautiful seat at the right corner of the canteen. As I sat down and was fiddling with my phone, the lady came with my food. Thank you I told her and was about to eat. “I’ll advise you to stand up from this seat”, she told me. Why? I asked. “There’s this girl, they call her sunflower. This is her seat.” She said . Well, I can’t see a name here, plus I’ll probably be done before they come, I replied. The lady made a face like ” I’ve told you o” and left.
While eating, I heard them walking in. So I looked up, looking at their faces, looking for the pretty ones, handsome ones, well dressed ones, just okay ones. While looking around, I felt a tap on my shoulder and I looked up. “Please this is my seat, can you stand up”? This super light skinned girl said. I couldn’t even look at her face she was too bright and immediately I figured why they call her sunflower. Erm!! No I can’t stand, I was here first and I didn’t find any names written on the chairs, I answered her. “You can’t stand???” She screamed at the top of her voice. I can’t stand, I answered. At this time everybody was looking at us. “Your first day at work, you decide to look for my trouble” she said angrily. “You can’t even afford a pen!” she added and walked out of the canteen. I can afford a pen, I just wanted to start a conversation, I whispered to myself realizing news travel like the wind in this office.