By George Davis
The woman's ringing office extension interrupts the raging debate about the on-again romance of Chris Brown and Rihanna. The office goes silent as the woman peeks at the instrument display for the caller's identity. Her face sours and she makes a violent shooing hand motion when she sees it's the new process supervisor upstairs. Why's this man calling her 20 minutes before lunchtime?
She answers on the fourth ring and tells him she can't deal with his queries now as her office is being used for an impromptu committee meeting. The blackguard persists, stressing the importance of the report she's been sitting on for eight days. Rolling her eyes, the woman assures him she'll call him later about the matter, then hangs up and asks why this man behaves like he can kill work.
The conversation then switches to people like the process supervisor who come into "govament wuk" and only want to get everything done in a hurry "choo dem a look position".
The woman leaves her office at midday sharp for what should be a one-hour lunch break. By the time she returns with the box of rice and peas with chicken, it's 12:45. She locks her door and settles down with three of her crew to dig into their meals. By 2 p.m. and after much chatter, laughter and eating (her chicken breast was a bit raw), the last of her colleagues drift back to their stations.
Feeling bloated from the rice and soda, the woman locks the door with the key. She then logs on to heels.com to see what style of shoes are available for under US$50 to wear to Cousin Matilda's wedding. The woman finds several pairs eye-catching and reasonably priced. She leaves her office to collect nine pages of shoes, printed in full colour, from the office printer. She intends to take them home and ask her sister's opinion on which to buy.
The woman peers at her watch. It's 2:40. She wonders why she hasn't heard her supervisor's voice all day. She calls the front desk to check if he came in. Yes, she's told. But as usual, after 1 p.m. on Mondays, he's on the road running errands. The woman chuckles to herself, knowing the man was in no position to ever chide her about absence from office or level of productivity. She then checks to ensure the door is locked, returns to her desk, and shifts the keyboard aside to facilitate her regular 'puss nap'.
Her office phone wakes her abruptly, but she fails to pick up in time. She looks at her watch. It's 3:10. She rings the process supervisor's extension and explains that as soon as she's done working on the document before her at the moment, she'll send his overdue report. He tries telling her about time management, but she cuts him off in mid-sentence, reminding him that she needs no such lecture, having been with the agency for 23 years.
Vexed, the woman calls HR to lodge a complaint. She then calls one of her friends in the office and blasts the "likkle renkin bwoy" for trying to lecture her about work. The woman eventually calms down. She checks the time. It's 3:40.
She feels for cold Milo and heads to the kitchenette to make herself a tall glass. With Milo in hand, the woman then takes custody of a copy of THE STAR and returns to her office. It's now 4 p.m., only 30 minutes away from the end of the workday. She shuts down her computer and prepares herself mentally for the journey home, while packing away the SBAs, games programmes and THE STAR in her bag. Only Massa God can get her to even answer the phone during this phase of the day.
By 4:30 sharp, the woman is on her way out of the building. Another day, another dollar.
This account is based on my personal observation. The majority of those I worked with in government produced and gave more value than the weight of their pay packet. But many, too many, are career idlers, grown lazy and fat at taxpayers' expense. My message to the finance minister is simple: Pack their bags and send!
George Davis is a journalist. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.