Monday September 11 2017

When universities reopen, work becomes dull


By Myles Mukisa

I had not yet figured out the reason why the thrill had fizzled out of the work place. The bright coloured skies were no more. If work was a coloured image in fine super quality full-HD, it was now a pixelated gray image of black and white, lifeless.

The canteen that used to be loud with chatter and clashing tableware, full with restless human shadows and stuffed with the heavy smell-stuff of human sweat at breakfast every morning was now a derelict deserted kiosk struggling to sell five cups of tea.
The hallway on the first floor, where colleagues paused for five minutes to abreast each other with the previous evening every morning as they arrived to work was now the lonely boulevard of muted strides up to the desk. There was no more high-fiving in the parking lot or long, tight and warm hugs at the end of the day, or, importantly, offers to drop one of the colleagues home or even treat them to KFC or pizza.

None of that is happening anymore and now life is a drag at work like sitting in the hospital queue, waiting for your shot up the backside. Life is going to remain like this until early January, or May, when the universities will close and send their students for industrial placements. It is the on-season at work. It is the time all my male colleagues look forward to work every day. They arrive on time and look forward to any assignments given. Productivity is at its highest.

My buddies at HR have never explained why nearly all the university students attached to our place are usually female. But that is the way it is and the guys are more than glad it is staying that way. They fall over each other as they try to secure an intern as their protégé. And then they tight mark her so that no other senior colleague strays onto their territory. Then they take her around and show her the canteen and buy her lunch for her entire stay.

Suddenly it is the time for five-day field trips to go Monitor and Evaluate company projects up in the Rwenzoris or some other isolated place. And of course there is no better way to train a new colleague on M&E than to take her along with you, and may be teach her other life secrets while at it. My friend James recently created the need for an activation in a district where we do not even intend to sell anything but which has fancy luxury pleasure spots, so he could take the new intern along. The intern asked me if it were true that James could indeed organize a permanent position for her at the company, like he had told her. I, naively, laughed out hard because James is only on probation himself.
But like all good things, the university holiday season comes to an end like it did the other week. And now life is dull and James has nobody to show his pleasure spots.