Dear Mentor II

When I think about the great influences in my career, I think about one J.N Musomba.

JN was my Director and literally held my hand and taught me a lot of the things that I know as a HRP. Apart from his awful driving skills, our professional relationship was great. He once gave me a lift along Masaba road and I regretted saying yes. He literally sped through all those potholes. When he finally parked the car, I jumped out like someone was chasing me and swore never to get in his vehicle when he was the one on the steering wheel.

When I went to look for a job, JN told me to leave my CV and wait for his call. After two weeks, he hadn’t called so I went back to check. I literally hounded the guy for the job. A month or so later, he had no other choice but to hire me after a series of interviews. You see, when I want something, I push for it like my life depends on it. ‘No’ has not always been one of those responses I like to hear.

JN would always answer his office phone with, ‘Musomba here…’ I would however hear, ‘Musomba dear….’ so I went to ask his PA why he always said dear. Since then, I just referred to him as Musomba dearest.

We once met with members of a Union regarding some staff case and the manner in which the guys were shouting, threatening us and quoting sections after sections of employment laws, I wanted to run and hide. JN just sat there, so calm and when he finally spoke, he told them ‘this is my offer, take it or leave it’. They took the offer and left. That was my first lesson in handling Union representatives: never loose your cool, it makes you look weak.

Then there was a case of staff who decided to ‘report me’ to him because he felt only the Director could handle his case better. I take it very personally when a staff or client threaten me using my bosses’ name, when they try to show me that they know the big boss. It’s demeaning to me to a certain degree. So when JN summoned us to his office, he listened to both sides and told the staff, ‘go back with the HR, she will deal with your case’. Lesson no. 2: when you train your apprentice well, trust them and their decision.

So today I celebrate Musomba Dearest with a lot of respect and pride.


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