HAPPY NEW YEAR PEOPLE. IT’S A GREAT FEELING TO BE HERE AGAIN IN 2014. ABIMBOLA ADEBAYO (@Bunmi_Bimbola) GETS US STARTED THIS YEAR ON OFFICE LIFE, A SERIES THAT WOULD BE WRITTEN BY DIFFERENT FOLKS WHO HAVE HAD ONE EXPERIENCE OR THE OTHER IN THEIR WORK PLACES. PLEASE ENJOY THIS AND GET SET FOR A VERY INTERESTING TIME ON HERE THIS YEAR. SPECIAL THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN CONTRIBUTING AND THOSE PUSHING ME TO WRITE AND DO WHAT YOU BE DONE. GOD BLESS YOU. NOW LET’S READ ‘OFFICE LIFE’
A lot happens behind all the glamour of the media (television, radio, newspaper and movie). Media practitioners enjoy all the accolades given to them outside the beam light of the studios but what many of their fans do not know is that “Office Politiking” makes media practitioners grim many times.
Being one of them, my debut in the media industry was with a government owned Television station somewhere in Osun State as Industrial Attaché. My first “assignment” was to buy “opa eyin and agbo iba” (locally made medicinal concoction, mostly prepared with gin), accompanied with “ponmo alata” for a management staff, the person who facilitated my appointment.
Like a sheep without shepherd, I disappeared from the newsroom, confident of delivering the ‘package’ without issues. I trying hard to impress ‘oga’, I did not bother to ask where to buy or how the concoction was being sold.
The sharp boy in me took over and I asked for direction from the security guard. He described and after searching for more than half an hour, all sweaty and shoes blessed with dust, I saw a small joint built with palm leaves as told to me by the security man. I did a quick 360 degree area survey as if my Church Pastor or Church member was watching me.
Don’t blame me for that quick scan. If seen by anyone who knows me, I would have been summoned by the Church Council to explain my mission at a ‘jedi’ joint. Without wasting time, I ‘placed my order’ with the vendor, a woman who had a mixed “coke and fanta” complexion. God knows the bleaching cream has done wonders to her skin. The woman seemed to understand my state of mind as she quickly attended to me, snapped the new two hundred naira note I stretched to her and gave me the balance. She then squeezed the money into her brassiere and said thanks without looking at me.
I ran back to my boss’ office and I met him discussing with the Head of News and Current Affairs, who was his direct boss. I signaled to him and he winked back. He then turned and said sternly, “go and wait for me at the car park”.
We later met where he parked his car. He collected his ‘package’ and speedily emptied a little above half of the drink. He made a face suggesting the bitterness of the drink and then passed the rest to me. It was a strange thing to me but I wanted to form street smartness. In order not to disappoint him, I closed my eyes and gulped the rest of the drink too, my stomach did some sort of protest as it was not used to beverage of that kind.
Oga looked and smiled. He ended it with “that’s my boy”.
Few minutes after taking the drink I started sweating and my eyes were doing a three hundred and sixty degree turn in their sockets. A kind of unexplainable heat was manifesting in my tummy. To make matters worse, there was no provision for toilet for junior members of staff. They made use of the thick bush surrounding the Television Station. I did an Usain Bolt contender to the bush and had hardly positioned well for the act before I started “downloading”.
I felt relief but the impact of the drink was still disturbing my body. I could not tell anyone my ordeal, who would I have told anyway? I managed to drag myself to a corner and I dipped my forefinger into my throat in order to vomit the drink. I however expelled both the drink and the rice I took at a local food joint earlier that morning.
My eyes were still turning after the vomit but I managed to clean up and made my way back to the newsroom. There and then I knew my life has begun a journey into the dark side of the media practice.
Later that day we held an editorial meeting in the newsroom and I was formally introduced to other colleagues in the News and Current Affairs Department. As the meeting proceeded, it was clear that there were polarizations with each person belonging to different camps. The Head of Programmes had his loyalists while the Head of News and Current Affairs also had people in his camp.
Reality dawned and I knew I was at a stage of my life where I would learn office intrigues and politicking. I needed to play my game well and learn from both sides if I would leave that establishment a better person than the one who started internship there.