It was one of those periods in the year when there was not much to do at work. The ‘less busy season’ as they called it, was a time associates and mangers looked forward to.
The office was usually empty as over half of the employees would have jetted off to various places on their annual leave, some to new countries, others (especially the associates) sitting at home enjoying time off work and praying the season never ends.
However, a small percentage of employees were always left at work to tend to whatever business that came up.
She was among the ‘unfortunate’ few that had some work to do, not a lot compared to the ‘busy’ season but it was still work nonetheless. She had taken her leave earlier when she got back from the Federal Capital with high hopes that she would have some time on her hands to read for her approaching professional exams and the solitude of the office would give her the needed space she would require. Unfortunately for her, few days after she resumed, a ‘small’ job came up and like her boss always did, Tamuna was the name that came out of the pot.
So there she was, seated at her desk on that particular Monday morning trying to make sense of the updated schedule the client just sent, the fifth in the space of three weeks. Issue was that some figures still did not ‘tie’ to anything. The accountant that she is or had chosen to be or is trying to become flared up and cursed under her breath
“How hard can it be to do simple debits and credits?”.
She had been struggling with this particular task for a couple of weeks and it was only a matter of time before her Line Manager would start questioning her competence, after all its only but a ‘small job’. They always seemed to ignore the truth; the ‘small jobs’ were the ones with the most issues.
She lifted her head up for the second time since she powered her system at around half past seven when she came in and saw five other young associates just chatting away. In fact it was the resounding laughter of the lady in red that brought her back to reality from the accounting trance that she had been in. That laughter struck her more than anything had in a while and for a split second she stopped in her tracks to figure out what it was that caught her attention. The answer to the question hit her like a flash of lightening piercing through dark clouds gathered for a raging storm and thoughts were translated into words; she couldn’t remember the last time this job brought her joy. She shook her head and got lost in thought but this time it was not about debits, it was about the credits she longed for.
Tamuna had attended a prestigious school, one that is second to none in the country, The Premier University. However, she was not so lucky to have studied as much of a prestigious course, or so the society she lives in brands it. She remembered being in a gathering of friends of a friend, the type where your friend brings her friends who you aren’t friends with and the only umbilical cord connecting the separate groups of friends is the one ‘friend’ who seems to be friends with everybody. Whew!! That’s a lot of friends!
In the middle of the conversation, one of these friends, a rather sharp-mouthed one, who Tamuna took care to avoid turned to her
“You’ve been keeping to yourself all day, did you study Silence in school?”
“No, it’s Agricultural Economics”, Tamuna replied, smiling.
She got the most annoyingly disrespectful response. “People actually spend four years to study that? How are you different from my grandmother in the village?”
Tamuna was furious. “Its a five year course you little witch”, she thought to say but restrained herself and managed to feign just another smile, that response would have done no good but add dry wood to the already burning fire. Such was the ordeal she had to face during and after her days in school and all she did was smile and hope that one day in the not-too-distant future she would do what she loved doing and no one would judge her for it.
However here she was, two years after the compulsory service to the fatherland which took her to the northern part of the country, still ‘struggling’ with every day life. She was one of the high flyers at work, she was not on top of the list and would not be regarded as the rising star of her department but she was not performing badly at all by any standard.
“I am smart”, she said out loud like she was reassuring herself of a known fact. Her job is one the society will consider as a ‘good’ one; in fact most of her friends will do anything to be in her shoes, to have a job with as much prestige. She was enjoying the respect it gave her but beneath that entire facade, she felt empty inside.
The past few weeks had seen her seriously thinking and longing for a change. She commits long hours into this job of hers, barely seeing her family, rarely having time for the little things that made life worth living. How she missed her painting sessions, singing with her friends, reading a novel or dreaming of writing one. How did she get to this point? The point where she was doing what the society dictated: graduate from school, get a white collar job, get married, give birth to kids and die?
A tear rolled down her cheek and she quickly wiped it. She would not let life deal her this card; a phrase from one of the books she loved while growing up thronged at her and she recited it slowly-“We are the architect of our fortune (or misfortune)”. It is her life we are talking about, her one and only precious life for that matter. She had allowed the waves of life toss her ship from side to side, moving in the direction of the tide when she could be the captain of her destiny. She was sure there was more to life than investing a third of her life into something she did not love.
Waking at five in the morning and not returning home till ten in the evening, all thanks to Lagos traffic. She knew in her mind that there was another problem apart from that. Waking up in the wee hours of the day was not what was bugging her mind; it was the fact that it was for a cause that was not her’s. She would gladly invest twice that amount of time into a job she loves without even flinching.
She had had enough of doing what the society and her family dictated; she wanted to be truly free to do what she had been called to do in this world where time is the scarcest resource any man has.
“Oh! how fools think there’s time on their side”.
At this point she decided it was not enough for her to just think of all the problems and limitations in her life, it was time to take action, to ‘just do it’ rather than sit and ‘let things happen to her’.
She took out her writing pad and like one possessed, she started scribbling down things she had always wanted to do with her life and how to achieve them. Funny how she started with her present job, it would be unwise to take an emotional decision by quitting immediately.
“Hunger go wire my head ehn!”, she blurted to herself and smiled. No, she would stop complaining about her day job.
“There’s a reason I’m here and I won’t let my complaints ruin that”
She decided she was going to learn as much as she could. Afterall if she was going to succeed at her own thing, it’ll be an added advantage to learn how to account for resources and here she was at an accounting firm, talk about all things working together for her good! She put a time frame to how much longer she wanted to stay there and the specific things she would like to learn. She wrote about her dream of writing a novel, she would start up a blog first and start writing every week.
“It will be a daunting task no doubt but if I love it then I will pay the price”
She also wanted to be involved in charity for bringing education to displaced children. On and on she went, putting all her thoughts to writing and coming up with ways to achieve them. By the time she finished, she was sweating and breathing hard. She felt like she had just taken a step forward in her life. Maybe baby steps, maybe she would fall but she would rise and rise again until her plan was perfected. Now, she knew a lot of things did not depend on her, and she needed the help of one who can make things work in her ‘favor’.
She stood up and went to the rest room and for the first time in a long while she committed her ways into the hands of God, asking for help because she knew she couldn’t do all she had written on her own. After the prayers she felt the kind of peace that had been absent in her being for a while.
“I should start praying more”, she soliloquized as she went back to her desk.
As she stepped into the office, she saw a familiar face that bore a familiar redness.
It was her Line Manager and she understood what that look meant.
She was not scared because now she knew exactly what she wanted.
She wanted more….
Watch out for ‘Less: Gbade’s Confession’