January 16 this year, I hit the 4 year mark in Oceanic bank. Sitting on my sofa in a reflective mood I run through the different episodes of my life whilst trying to live the slogan – experience peace. It had been both challenging and rewarding especially those rickety moments when I recall with nostalgia the offer from my Head of Operations in the last bank where I worked. He offered me an unauthorized 2 weeks leave of absence to test the ‘Ocean’ and if I am not satisfied to come back. Cockily, I informed him that I have mentioned my intentions and burnt my boats, like the Roman general of yore, and what remained was either victory or death. He let me go. During my many turbulent times I have asked myself what I was thinking when I refused to keep that offer in the cooler as a plan B.
There were times when it was hell; having a branch manager whom you have concluded hates you because he made every day of your life unbearable; weekends inclusive. I almost dropped my resignation letter but that same stubborn streak I had told me that my circumstances should never defeat me. I ploughed ahead. I have outlived a lot of ogas and undergone numerous experiences. In the midst of these, I always made sure I become better from them that after one year in Oceanic bank I felt that the 2 years I spent in two other banks were wasted because I did not garner any sustainable knowledge.
Churning memories in my mind I remember female colleagues who outshone me in the area of deposit mobilization. Or was it the other who could spew brilliant memos at the snap of her fingers that leave me gawking. I am a sexist; nothing stings me more than being beaten by females. They were good at making me feel depressed. Other things that depress me were cabals (Current Account BALanceS) and unresolved situations. I have had faster heartbeats when I spied my dropping deposits. However, unresolved issues were the worst; the always come back again to haunt you when you least expected.
In Oceanic bank I learnt what to do and what not to, what to say and how best to say it. I remember with amusement the experience I met a newly instated chairman of a local government (a friend’s mother) after I have finished preaching our products, she asked a pertinent question ‘What is your PR like?’ Being the green horn I was, not knowing what PR meant in the sense of the world, I was briefly taken aback but not wanting to be put down I quickly told her that we will print exercise books with oceanic bank’s name, sponsor their programmes and other public relations related activities. I immediately sensed that I lost that account with that answer. I will never forget what ‘PR package’ really means.
Another memory flashed past again. I cringed. The accountant to one of my accounts had been removed during a state government mass reshuffle and a new one posted there. I booked an appointment with him and when I did get to see him I welcomed him and wanting to fan his ego I told him that I guessed he was better than the previous occupier which was why he was brought down here to manage things. Quietly, he informed me that she was ok but that the state government only wanted to shuffle positions and nothing more. I changed tactics when I met the new Director of Finance of another corporate organization and not wanting to ‘speak ill of the dead’ again I began by pouring encomiums on the erstwhile Director of Finance and Accounts. Who send me? You don’t want to know the outburst or do you? From then, I learnt never to talk, whether good or bad, of the past occupier of any seat. I will only welcome the new man to his desk and talk about my bank and her products. Case closed.
My career has been fraught with better times though. I remembered when I brought in my first cheque in hundreds of millions and I saw my cabal breathing. It was wonderful. I feel high those times I had a virtual gate pass to anywhere in the state by just mentioning the company I represented. I remembered how the name Oceanic was a collateral for credit if ever I needed it and of course how it gave me friends; male and female alike, whether I wanted them or not. I will not fail to mention Oceanic Bank helped me step up my game from interacting with people, trying to get results. The bank was a schoolteacher and I just hope I learnt.
On a final note though, no matter how exciting and pulsating these experiences were I don’t think I would want to go through them again; they were suitable and functioned appropriately during those periods of my life but they were just building blocks for a greater project. Like the Apostle Paul said ‘letting go of those things that are behind and reaching forward for those things that are in front, I press towards the ark for the prize…’
N.B: This article was written January 16, 2010 but as at the time of posting this article the company had been bought over and I had resigned my position.
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