It all started with the appointment letter. He told me, “This is your appointment letter. You only have to sign it and you are officially an employee of this company.” He showed me the sum of my annual salary. I immediately did a mental calculation to know how much I would earn in a month. The amount blew my mind. I started imagining the kind of life I was going to live with such huge salary. Then he dropped the final lines; “You only have to do one thing. One simple thing and your unemployed days are over.”
One simple thing? How did we get here?
After completing university, there was nothing for me to do. I searched far and near for any job that will pay me just enough to survive, I didn’t get any. My mom had a provision store which I helped manage with her. She didn’t like the idea. She told me her friends were laughing at her because I was working in her store after completing university. She wanted so much for me to find something to do but no job came my way.
After two years of staying in the house, I found me a teaching job. I was in charge of the crèche and I was being paid same as the senior high school graduate tutors. That didn’t bother me much. I had something doing. I was off my mother’s store, much to her relief and mine. Finally, I woke up in the morning and had a place to go. That was ok but I didn’t stop trying.
I sent CVs every other week and sometimes traveled to attend interviews that yielded nothing. The crèche job was keeping me engaged until I was laid off. The proprietor complained of lack of enrollment and decided to close down the crèche and concentrate on the other classes that had a lot of enrollment. I lost my job. Back to square one—my mother’s store.
Soon it was four years after school and no job. Well-wishers asked me to take it into prayers which I did fervently. Nothing turned up but I didn’t stop. One morning, my mother returned from town with good news. She had met an old friend who has connections and had discussed my plight with. The man had asked that I send my CV to him. I met the man the next day and gave him my CV and pleaded with him to do everything within his power to find me a job.
Two months after the encounter with the man, I had a call from a lady who requested that I attended an interview the following day. I went. After the interview, the receptionist told me the boss wanted to see me. She ushered me into the boss’s office.
He signaled for me to sit. He pulled my CV and started asking questions. He said; “You don’t have the required experience to work here but Martin (my mom’s friend) speaks highly of you and from the little conversation we’ve had, it’s obvious you can handle the job. I will see what I can do.” I pleaded with him to try everything within his means to get me the offer. He handed me his call card and asked me to call him later for feedback.
Anytime I called him, he sought to get personal with me, talking about life, love, relationship and finally ended with how beautiful I was and how he wanted to see me every day. I sensed trouble but I wanted the job so much.
Finally, he invited me over to his office and that was when he made the “You only have to do one thing. One simple thing and your unemployed days are over” claim. He kept repeating; “Do it and have the job or don’t do it so I give it to another person. The choice is yours.” I sat there, dumbfounded. I wanted to believe he was joking but he was damn serious. I told him I was going to think about it. He told me I better don’t keep long because there was no time. I picked my bag and left.
Truthfully, I didn’t give it much thought. It was either I do it or I don’t. I called him a week later and told him I was ready. He gave me directions to his house and we spent the night together. The next morning, I walked away with my appointment letter.
Two weeks later, I started working. I was very pleased to know my duties had nothing to do with him and as such was going to see very less of him. Once in a while, I would bump into him and we’ll exchange hellos and move on.
He started coming around again. He wanted to rent a place closer to work so I don’t have to struggle before getting to work. I thanked him and rejected his offer. Not too long ago he came back telling me he could work things out for me to get a company car to aid my transportation. Again, I thanked him and said no. I wanted a job and it was very unfortunate that I had to do what I did to get the job. I felt guilty but guilt didn’t change anything.
One night I had a call from him. It was a weekend. He told me he had something important to tell me so I should make it a plan to see him. I met him at a coffee shop the next day to hear what he had to tell me. He started; “I want to apologize for what happened between us before getting the job. It shouldn’t have happened that way. I was a coward to have taken advantage of you. Forgive me.”
I only nodded and said; “There’s nothing to forgive. I’ve moved on.” Then he said, “Since you started working around here, I’ve realized how good you are and how much more I want you in my life. I want us to be together. Who knows, we might end up getting married very soon.”
I didn’t know whether to be angry or be surprised, I didn’t know how to feel or say. I looked up to his face and said, “no!” I told him I had a boyfriend and we were close to getting married. That was a lie but I thought it was going to be an easy escape for me. That didn’t work. He kept coming back at me with a whole lot of offers. In his own words, he was ready to make life better for me and my family. I humbly declined and told him I and my family were doing just fine and didn’t want his input.
After the conversation that day, everything changed. He started finding fault with my work and asked my supervisor to micromanage my work and report my failings to him. I was late for work one morning and I got a query letter. One month later, I was a little bit late for work and I got suspended for a month without pay. When I returned from the suspension, another lady had been appointed to be in charge of my duties. I was looking forward to getting my role back soon but that didn’t happen. My supervisor then told me; “order from above says you should serve three months probation before you get your role back.”
I started having fears. All of a sudden, it felt like everyone around there was against me for no reason. I needed someone to talk to. My supervisor was the only one I could speak to since we were on very good terms before it all started.
One evening after work, confided in her. I told her how the boss slept with me before giving me the job and how he wanted to continue to have his way with me. I told her I believed the boss was behind all my current mishaps and through it all she was sympathetic. She even advised me to start looking for a new job because the boss was out to get me.
After the conversation with my supervisor, things got worse. Unfortunately, she discussed my issue with another person and the other person also discussed it with another person and the boss eventually got a hint. After two months investigation, I was fired for spreading malicious lies against my boss.
Back to square one, again
I cried for days and cursed my stars but nothing changed. I picked myself up and started all over again. Six months later, I got a new job. Though it wasn’t a fancy job, I was proud that I could get a job based on merit and not through performing sexual favors. That did a lot of good to my conscience and gave me the belief that if I worked harder good things would come my way.
Cople of years after I’ve left my first job, I met the lady who was picked to play my role while on suspension. She was working for another company. We talked about life at our former job and she gave me the whole round down.
According to her, the supervisor was sacked six months after I had been sacked. She had something going on with the boss though she was married. That wasn’t the reason why she was sacked but it was after the sack that it all came out. The boss was forced to resign by the owners of the company. According to rumors, he was always forcing the hands of the HR to hire people who were not needed by the company and these people were all females.
So I cast a suspecting look at this lady standing next to me and telling me all that happened after I had been sacked. I was wondering if she was going to tell me that she herself was one of the ladies the boss slept with before giving her a job. But she never said that. Obviously, if I were her, I wouldn’t have said it too but I knew it. It was very obvious that the boss did what he did to me to her too.
-Story by Abena Afrifa, Takoradi-Ghana.