Old but Young


Shifting up to the eighth floor in the same building after spending more than 3 months on the fifth floor in a Finance and Investment Company whom I have just been recruited at and also passed my 100 day probation period, was a real catastrophe and disaster to me.

When I first came to this company for an interview, I went to the ninth floor, which is the Human Resources & Administration Department. My first impression about the atmosphere was good and after taking my test which was a four-paged exam “quite easy for me, having more than 15 years of experience in the field of secretarial work, as well as BA in English Literature and very good computer skills”, and after I was interviewed by my expected-to-be Manager on the fifth floor, I decided that I liked my new offered job.

Then a couple of days later, I got another telephone call from the HR asking me to come over and have a second interview with two other managers on the same floor, I was really astonished because I already had my interview with the person I was going to be reporting to and we got along quite well together and I got the impression that he agreed upon hiring me. Anyway, I went (maybe because I wanted to know more about the place, or about the job, or just maybe going there without any other reason for not going at all). After meeting those two persons, I did not feel good, not afraid of not joining the company, because I have real confidence in my capabilities and ME, but because I did not like their way or attitude. I asked for a meeting with the HR Manager, talked so freely with her, and gave her my real reasons for leaving my lovely job and applying here in this company. Yes, I had a wonderful job in my hands, with an adorable Manager, Owner, Colleagues and true Friends and of course with very good timing and holidays as I was working in a SCHOOL. However, I wanted to go back on track, work in the Business Field, have more responsibilities, and gain back my experience and my skills that I nearly lost after joining the school, as working in a school was real FUN. Well, after talking with the HR manager, I was comforted and she said that they would be contacting me later. I kept on waiting and waiting although I already told my ex-manager that I have another offer and that I am thinking it over and she was really upset but at the same time happy for me and wanted me to have a raise and stay, but it didn’t work. Anyway, after a few days, I got a call to go and sign my contract and I was so happy and thrilled and went there after school automatically. Reading the contract terms, there were two points I did not agree upon, one of them was the salary and the other was working as a floor secretary and not to as an Executive Secretary for the Department Head. This really hurt my feelings and I refused to sign the contract and wanted to meet the HR Manager who was not there. I called her secretary the following day to set an appointment with her and she informed me that they were all busy whole week in a training course. Then I was called up again, went to meet her, and emphasized on those two points, of course, she negotiated me upon the salary issue and did not want to raise one KD and then she told me that she would try her best. After ten days, I was contacted to come again and sign my contract and at that time, I found that the salary was a little bit increased and the title was changed to be reporting to my first interviewer. I signed and joined after two weeks notice period for my school.

First two days, there was almost nothing to do, except for building up a detailed contacts list for my manager and then gradually work came up and my new job started to sprinkle over me with its bright side of what I dreamt of. It was not like my previous job and it was not like any other secretarial work I have ever done. In fact, I was given important tasks, which were quite new and challenging to me and this was exactly what I really liked about the job, place and colleague. Yes, at that time I had only one colleague who was handling me the tasks in order to help her finish her reports. She was reporting to my manager also, but had no one else to help her and the quantity of work was enormous. Anyway, I started getting acquainted with the place even though I didn’t really like the idea of sitting in a big open reception-like area. Days passed by and finally I was given a letter informing me that I have successfully passed my probation period and a couple of days later, I got to know that we had to shift up to the eighth horrible prison-like floor. Why wasn’t I happy with the big open reception-like area? Why? Now, I have a small desk, in a small artificial corner, without a space to move or see anybody, sitting behind that ugly brown invented partition that is separating me from the gentlemen’s bathroom. Sitting in a one x one meter area without a filing room or storage area and with only two centimeters to place my hands after the keyboard, and after all that, I have to function with complete satisfactory results. Coming here on our first day, with no connections to printers, fax machine, photocopier, phones and without any stationary, in addition to loud voices of machines and workers who are installing the surveillance system, was really miserable and I had to go home crying for this humiliating situation.


This was only my third day here in this new office, I mean new floor, hating it and hating whomever took this decision for the shifting and for placing my desk like this, belittling me and my post, having my doubts of continuing or accepting this situation. Of course I talked a lot of being disliking it, but in vain, with their only excuse of there is no other place or space and the whole building is small and everybody has to cope with this matter and work at their utmost.

Nothing to do except wait and see what will happen next.

Days passed by trying to cope with the situation, placing purchase requests for everything on this new floor. It’s like furnishing a new flat for newly wed couples, but unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with us, as we weren’t as happy as newly weds, nor the flat was of our decision; not to mention the furniture itself.

Second week, I began to get bored. It was unlike sitting down with a colleague to talk to. I even hate sitting facing a wall that is half-built and half-artificial, reminding me of a coffin. Well, at least the coffin does not have a bathroom next to it. All this makes me remember my grandmother, who passed away only three years ago (they seem like a hundred years to me, really). I think of her lying in her coffin, which resembles mine and my tears just scroll down and I keep remembering all our unforgettable memories. She was my real mom, she raised me since I was a few months old. I was raised up in her home, went to nursery from her home, went to school from her home, even went to university from her home, and finally went to my marriage home from her home. All my memories are there in that gorgeous home-villa and now they want to empty everything there in order to rent it to an embassy. I hate this idea and I do not even want to think of anybody else living there. It’s my home rather than my mom’s or uncles. I lived there more than they did, yes, as both my uncles have immigrated to the USA, studied there, worked there, married and brought up children there and now they are here after both their parents are dead and easily want to get rid of the house and what’s in it. My most precious things are there (MY MEMORIES) that I cannot ever forget. It is enough that I am missing her, enough all my cries not to mention the nightmares and the unslept nights over these past three years. Now sitting here in this area, brought up all those feelings back.


Then, I thought of making a change here, just a way to adapt this completely new situation and maybe to occupy my mind from those bad thoughts. I decided to shift my desk and put it against the other glass wall, facing my other colleagues, better view. At least it lifted my spirits a little bit, but unfortunately this did not last long. I got adapted to this place one way or another and lots of changes happened. New staff came on the floor and some even left, but I thought at that time that this is life and it has to go on.


My work was fine and I liked it and I was really going on well with my boss, thank god. We started to perform well and to maintain a good system for our new invented department, distributed daily and monthly reports. Everything seemed stable for nearly two months, until gradually we found out that people were being terminated and forced to leave the company. Unfortunately, the good people were the ones selected to go, they were given a harsh good bye and don’t come back. It was unfair, because they were really devoted to their work, but this is also LIFE in the Business Field. There was a new CEO who joined the company who was a relative to the HR Manager and decided to make a new look to the company, to the best or worst, I guess they both didn’t know what harm they did to the staff and to the company.


One day in June, when we were just planning for our vacation leave, my boss called me and told me that the management was re-structuring the whole company one more time. We will not be in the same department and I will not report to him any longer and that he himself doesn’t know where he will be and what his designation will be. This came to me as a shock. What is this? Are we only puppets to them, and they can easily move us around with their evil strings?

I got to know the following day that some people were given letters informing them that their salaries were reduced. I was honestly waiting for my letter too, whether to terminate me, move me to another department (and start all over again from scratch), reduce my salary or do whatever pleases them and hurts me. At the same time, I had to present my vacation request as my husband has already booked for the flight tickets. So, I wrote it according to our department’s previous leave plan presented to the HR Department two months back without any objections to the dates or number of days. Both vacation requests (my boss’s and mine) were handled to HR and we were both waiting for their reply, as we didn’t know whether they will be accepted or rejected due to the current new circumstances.


Ever since I got to know all this mess, I went home and spoke to my husband and told him that if my request was rejected or if they decide to move me to this other department with this young foolish manager who thinks high of himself without any logical reason, I would certainly leave the company and rather have a long vacation instead.


I kept on waiting to know any news.


Then, I received my approved request and got really happy and thrilled with joy, but not for long. Next day I went work as usual but with a feeling of not working, I don’t know the reason, but this was the case for some time now.

An hour passed and then all of a sudden came a new manager to our department, although my manager was there and didn’t know anything about it. It was a great shock to everybody except one. Ironically, this new manager was as young as the other one whom I didn’t want to work with, but at least this new one looked pleasant at the time. He called us all in for an interview one at a time and started telling us that everything here will change to the best and for the benefit of everybody. We will be moving towards success and will be all part of a team. As for me, he said that I can carry on whatever I am doing now and then we will decide if I want to contribute more. I even told him that the following month I will be on vacation as I have already booked the tickets and everything and he seemed ok and said no problem. I helped my ex-boss with his shifting down to the fifth floor once again but with real agony as I had got used to him and his work and didn’t want this change. He even tried to have me with him, but of course the HR didn’t accept and said that the new manager needs a secretary (which wasn’t true).


I went for my vacation and enjoyed my summer with my family and friends and came back again to work after one month to find out that they have taken away my tasks and have given it to somebody else. I was responsible for a special daily report and suddenly they have changed the whole thing. I kept on doing nothing for a couple of days although I asked my manager what to do now and he said don’t worry we’ll figure it out for you. So I waited and waited and waited till you won’t imagine for how long waiting doing nothing except helping out my colleagues if they had loads of work.


I remained like this for four whole months and whenever I ask my boss to give me work, he says that all the team are working on something and that they are gathering data and after they finish, I will be collecting all the data into an excel sheet, but all this will take some time.


After so many nagging from my side to get work from my boss, he decided to give me a task which was of course nothing to do with my real job. He told me to work on a presentation about the world’s financial crisis and how the Middle East is affected. He told me that it was a kind of a challenge to me and that I had to try to the best, of course I had to search over the net and read a lot about all the mess going on everywhere and I started working on my presentation which I (from my perspective) thought was excellent, having no experience in this field. I handled it to him and whenever I asked him about his opinion, he said he didn’t have the time to view it yet and it was like that for ages.


So, I had to shut up for a long while and sleep, until they woke me up one day. My manager asked to see me in his office last week, just before the week-end, and told me that he knows quite well that I am bored and don’t like sitting around doing nothing and that at the same time, the management is restructuring the company all over (this was the case for one year now) and that if I would like to go and work with the manager on the fifth floor, he will be happy for me, as he doesn’t have any work at the time being. Of course, I didn’t like the idea and I thought of it as “You are Fired and I am done with you”. I told him that it depends on the manager and the work description, so he called the HR manager to inform her that I am ok to meet the other manager. After fifteen minutes I was called to meet this manager on the fifth floor and guess what? I was humiliated. He told me that he doesn’t want a Personal Assistant or an Executive Secretary, but rather a floor secretary to work with all the other employees on the floor. Wow, all what I have fought for at the beginning came back again and with this thought on my mind, I figured out who was behind all this. In addition to that, he told me that he wants me to help out in summarizing some Arabic-written offers, cause all the staff on this floor are English educated, as if I wasn’t. By the way, there were 3 Arabs in this department without mentioning nationalities. I had to tell him sorry but this doesn’t suit me, as I have more than 15 years of experience as an Executive Secretary both in Egypt and in this country and I wouldn’t start over as a Junior Secretary and the meeting was over and guess what else was over?


I didn’t meet my boss on that day as he was in a meeting and it was time to go and I headed back home with all worries and fears and couldn’t sleep that night. I thought of resigning because I didn’t like the situation, but then my old colleague from the fifth floor called me as she got to know about my meeting. She advised me not to resign and wait to see what will happen, as if I resigned, I wouldn’t get anything out of them.


The terrible Week-end was over and I went back to work wondering what will happen, I waited for my boss to arrive and I waited for him to ask me about the outcome of the meeting. He came late as usual and called me to his office and I told him my opinion and then he said he will handle it.


I waited all day to get a reply from him, but of course he didn’t get back to me. Nearly at the end of the day, I was called to see a manager in the HR department and he threw the bomb in my face. The company has terminated me as well as more than fifty other employees and managers. They will be giving me 2 months notice pay and I had to decide whether to stay till this notice is over or just leave and of course I took my stuff and just left without even saying Good bye to anyone and of course not to my silly young boss who was ten years younger than me and had no experience whatsoever. That’s my story with this stupid company.

Just a start 01/03/2009

I will start here to write my true story, everything that happened and is happening to me exactly. I will not try to make it look better even if there were some embarrassing moments!