My First Day At Work

My First Day At Work

On Sunday evening the second of July 2006, I started to feel nervous. I actually asked myself over and over if it was real. Sometimes I thought that the whole new big job thing was a lie. Like maybe when I arrive at this new big company, they would turn me back and say, they made a terrible mistake. Anyway before I slept that Sunday, I made sure that the clothing for the next big day were neatly situated. I asked Deli to polish my winter boots. I then prayed and slept. The clock rang at 4am and without hesitation as usual, I jumped up and out of bed. I turned everything on, and then returned to bed. When the water boiled I made a cup of tea, because I suddenly didn’t feel like oats anymore. So I settled for tea and traditionally baked bread as loved by us maXhosa.

As I sat down to eat, I noticed that my little-girl was awake. She didn’t utter a word, and neither did I. After tea I poured bath water into the washing basin. Then I bent towards Mbali, who was then five, and asked if she was okay. It was going to be a strenuous day for her as well at the new crèche.

She said she was hungry. The thought of warming milk and mixing corn flakes tired me. She was still going to eat properly later anyway so I figured that I must just cut bread for her, so I did. I started bathing as she sat there munching lazily on bread.

I remembered that the kettle was on for tooth brushing, when Mbali ordered me to pour her a cup of tea once the water boils – to help with the bread I suppose. Again the thought of mixing tea tired me, and again I came up with a fix. I poured her a cup of milk instead, and she gladly accepted. Then I continued with my bath.

At 05:30 I locked and tucked the key in my bag, unconsciously. I escorted Mbali to Delis’ room where I just opened the door and pushed her in. I ran out of there like lighting to catch a taxi. I saw a taxi approaching then I thanked my God for the grace. Immediately after that short prayer, the taxi u-turned before reaching me and I realized that it was leaving. The thought of being late soaked my nerves and I screamed running towards it “ndicela undimisele” (please stop it for me) to the guy climbing in. They fortunately waited for me.

As we arrived at duduza rank my next taxi to Jozi was just leaving. So I had to wait for another one, which filled up quickly thank God again. By 06:45 I was in Jozi. I asked the driver to show me the Noord taxi-rank and he gladly did. I pushed my way to the rank in an ever-busy Jozi. I asked about 2 taxis the whereabouts of taxis to Midrand. I was showed no 05.

Badness! The line was 2km long. I joined the queue interceding that God must make a way for me to arrive early. I asked for supernatural help because it was clearly impossible for me to make it. I waited, and waited, and waited, and now began to feel nervous again. Imagining my first day at work – turning to my late day at work. One taxi arrived and I thought of sitting on the tv (the hot space behind the driver). But then I thought I will go to the next one. It arrived and I sprinted to the driver’s window and asked him to squeeze me in. He said I must talk to the queue marshal. I went to him (probably a Pedi or Nigerian couldn’t tell a difference on the language at that time). He probably didn’t understand my Xhosa accent either hence he just nodded to whatever I was saying about tv. I flew inside the taxi and sat on one bum facing the commuters.  This took place at about 07:30 since I had arrived at 06:45. The next time I checked time again it was 08:10. I called Renitha the HR lady and told her that I was running late she said no problem.

I entered the office park and asked for Commercial Park and people directed me except for one lady who said she had no idea. I later saw her in HR – bekanamanga…nxaa (liar).

One security guy escorted me to reception and I asked for Renitha. Her line was busy, so I changed to Nick. He said he was coming so I sat down. Ntombi, my cousin called and I spoke to her excitedly. Fifteen minutes passed without Nick showing up. I started to panic so I called Renitha who assured me that he was on his way.

I didn’t know that Nick was the boss or the guy who interviewed me. Finally Renitha fetched me around 08:45, and escorted me upstairs to the 3rd floor. She was taking me to Nick’s office. As we entered the open plan office it was quiet. All eyes were on me, I felt nervous and an outcast in this professional place. I was fresh from college although I had been a working student at the college this was different. A lady by the name of Jean offered to show me around, which she did for less than three minutes, and then she dumped me with Sihle. The first line that Jean said was that I arrived during month-end so they won’t have time for me. I wondered why they arranged for me to resume during this so called month-end time in the first place. That was the last I saw of Jean on that morning or Nick.

Sihle welcomed me and I asked for the ladies. After that she showed me a bit of the job, which I didn’t understand. However she said it will be better if I saw someone doing it. She did an access card for me and I stayed at her desk. Sitting there and feeling helpless was boring for me as a result even her job bored me. Later a guy called pastor came around and offered to show me around and introduce me to everyone in the department of about fifty people. I jumped to the opportunity. It later proved a tedious exercise as I had to tag behind him grinning to everyone. The names were the hardest part as others sounded foreign others barbaric and still others shocking. Anyway I nodded as I pretended to be taking those names in. When the exercise was over it was thankfully time for lunch. We went and bought from their expensive canteen, however the food was not bad. After lunch I was back to my spot of boredom. I told Sihle that I can’t take it anymore, I’m bored and the job is not interesting, what else could I do. She was kind of put off and suggested I call Jean. That I did and Jean was not impressed. She was like…’well if you are bored with that job then you will be bored for the rest of your nine months contract.’ Okay, I had to swallow hard as I released that I was hired for one of the dumbest jobs in the world. Being a creative person it was hard for me to be hired to only vlookup excel spreadsheets for the whole day.

But I stayed and worked and learned…anyway they were paying me for it.

My advice, if you are a talented/creative person in some way…study towards your creativity from the beginning so that you do not find yourself seating behind a desk and blocking your creative juices while you are trying to balance debits and credits.

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