How I Learned not to be Indispensable

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About ten months into my new job at a media marketing firm, the Company acquired a broadcasting license and became the very first private television station to be registered in the Country. It was an exciting time. In addition to dramatically increasing the Company revenue through a new marketing strategy, I had also advised the Company's legal team on how to re-negotiate the bulk airtime purchase contract with our broadcast partners. When we rolled out the alternative syndicated television network, I was a natural choice to head up the negotiations with ten partner television stations selected nationwide.

 

When the television license arrived, I was offered the role of Programmes Manager but we were still transitioning and had staff shortages so I occasionally handled production as well. A new marketing Manager had not been named so one day, I found myself drafted back into marketing to temporarily address the financial situation by leading up some sales activities. I asked my Boss why this was happening and he asked me to speak to the Chairman who told me (in response to my observation that I was very busy in the new Programmes Department): "You know, there is a belief that if you have something urgent to do, you should give it to a busy person. You will despatch this assignment quickly because you are used to being busy. If I give the assignment to someone who is not busy, they will stretch the work out to fill the time available and I cannot afford that luxury". So I got on with it. After a few meetings, we sealed a couple of deals that brought in big cheques to address the cash lag and I went back to Programmes. Then I applied to take some time off for my annual leave. Instead of the approval I was expecting, I was once again asked to see the Chairman. Walking into his office, I found the Group Managing Director (who was my Boss) was with him. To cut a long story short, I was told they could not approve my leave because the Company depended on me too much at that time. So I went back to my office and continued working at the three jobs: Programmes, Production and Marketing, wearing whichever hat was most required at the time. About six weeks and two more deferred applications later, I found myself sitting in the office of the Company Chairman, retrieving some data from a Computer in a corner of his office while he had a quick conversation with another Senior Executive from a different Company within the group. His words made my head spin: "You know, Tom (not real name), when I worked as with Lloyds and Banks Consulting (not real name), whenever I went into a Company as a Receiver, the first thing I would do is look for the indispensable person in the Company: The person everyone believes the Company cannot do without. I would identify that person and fire him! " . "He is the bottle-neck" He went on the explain.

 

After I returned to my office, I had a long conversation with myself and decided put in my application for the third time. This time, I did not give them a chance to refuse. I put a copy on my Boss' desk and took the original application letter to the Chairman's office. As I sat in front of him, I said: "I would like to go on leave sir. I understand that a lot depends on me but I have decided not to be indispensable anymore". It took a moment for the penny to drop and then he laughed and signed off on my application. By the time I returned from leave three weeks later, a new Production Manager was in place and a Marketing Manager had been named. Who knew?

This is the concluding part of an article published on LinkedIn. Read the first part here

If you liked this article, you might also like "We Don Close" Eurocentrism in Corporate Nigeria http://www.feelnubia.com/index.php/mingle/12-pulse/52-qwe-don-closeq-staring-down-eurocentrism-in-corporate-nigeria.html

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January 2017 19:29
Written by Funmilola Babalola


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