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In the Regional Office my boss was a General Manager, a Lebanese whose English was more French than English and my strength in English was exactly what he needed. He was a very nice man, an excellent manager, but unfortunately the company merged with a monster of another company, that to all intents and purposes, took over our company. They had the upper hand, therefore most of the top level management of our company were made redundant and let go. This happened to my boss. It should have included me, but as I had a reputation of bring a good worker, I was kept on but with a change in career.
The following three years were some of the worst in my career. I did not like the job, it was purely clerical. Order processing. Mindless, grunt, boring , repetitive work with practically no human contact whatsoever except with my colleagues. I also did not get on well with my boss. He wanted to take credit for every stroke of work in the department, to the extent of wanting each and every one working there to have his name signed to every scrap issued. After a couple of weeks of that nonsense , I put my foot down, and as a group, all of those working with him went to him and talked about that. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised when he agreed that each one signs his/her work, with final decisions left up to him as Department Head.
During that time our offices had moved into a tall building across the Nile from where I lived, and my office was on the seventh floor. It was during that period that the very strong earthquake that hit Egypt occurred. It was a very scary experience. My boss was a very deliberate, slow talking, slow moving man. When the earthquake hit, I never saw him move faster! Like a streak of lightning he was out of the building. The rest of his staff rode it out, then we locked up, I even did the stupidest thing in my life and took the lift down. This experience traumatized all of Egypt, but especially Cairo, which was hit the worst. The building had to be examined for structural damage, and it took a week before we all came back to work.
My boss’ office had a ceiling to floor window overlooking the street. He had his desk placed there with his back to the window. I remember thinking that that was pretty dangerous if another earthquake hit, the window might break and out he’d go. I told him maybe it would be best if he moved his desk to the other side of the room. The poor man went white and had his desk moved immediately. The fact that this situation scared him so, tickled me pink. I remember once I wasn’t feeling very friendly towards him, we were having one of our tugs of war. I was in his office, standing beside his desk showing him something in a file, then I leaned against the desk and he felt it move. He threw the file on the desk and held to its surface and asked me if I felt that! What? This tremor! Of course there was no tremor, I had just leaned against the desk. But that was it for him. I think I played that ‘tremor’ game for nearly a month before I let him off the hook and stopped. After leaving his Department, and even the company, we had become good friends. He might even read this article and realize what I had been doing. A belated apology ARS, but it was irresistible at the time.
To be continued …