When the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga a few weeks back said boldly in Parliament that the Attorney General should go to court and have a stupid order vacated, many people were surprised, pleasantly. There was a little jubilation in my office because many of my colleagues think Justice Kavuma is something else – and they do not mean that in a nice way. Some thought though, that Kadaga was just “playing to the gallery”.
I gave Kadaga a little cheer and not for the reasons above. It is because I was happy to hear a woman tell off all these men trying to intimidate her and “her” Parliament. It was as though she was saying… “You want to make orders on how I run my Parliament? Please… Back off!” I think I felt that way because for the last few months, I have found myself having to fight a lot of male ego.
I work with some really brilliant, knowledgeable and fun males. Some are really good at what they do and the work that comes out of their time spent behind the PC is impressive. Others are hard working. They are here first thing in the morning, before most of the rest come in and they are among the last to leave. Another lot are just fun to work with. They get the work done but find plenty of time to crack genuine jokes, and make us laugh deep from the belly. On those days, I enjoy working with this team.
But on the days ego takes over, like a rotten fish smell swamping the entire floor, (and these days are not few), I just want to walk out of the office and never come back. Many times, the fights between them are so petty. Once, the boss left me in charge, to decide which report we would give to our clients the next day. In the evening at a general meeting, the team decided we would go with report A, unless something more important came in. Later, our boss who was away sent email saying he had received word of another report; he gave us the details but said we should just look through for knowledge purposes. But Tim, if I might call him that, decided we should throw out Report A and go with what the boss sent us. Eric raised an objection and stated correctly, that the boss had asked us to use the report just to enrich ourselves with the knowledge and not to send to the client. Besides, Report B had no facts we could base our claims on. What should have been a 10-minute discussion turned into a 45-minute argument. Tim and Eric were at it. Eric raised good points. Tim was just trying to win a battle. Precious time was lost. I had no strength to argue so I let them use all manner of English words until I told them I had decided we go with Report A and unless the boss directly told us otherwise, there would be no changing of plan. I left office at about 9.30pm, drained.
The next time it was Eric. He has the annoying habit of keeping information to himself even when it is needed urgently. Eric will not let us know the plans, dates and stuff needed for a trip, until four days to the flight date. This annoying habit of his has seen us have to knock on doors to get express visas or pay extra to get a last-minute ticket. At first I thought he was just forgetful. But the fact that he is reminded daily and does not give out the information till it is almost too late to make plans makes me wonder what he is trying to prove.
The list goes on. Some young male juniors will refuse to hand in their part of a report if I ask, and will only do so when a male senior asks. Others will deliberately leave me out of conversations and discussions I should be part of. They will laugh with me at lunch time and ask me to sign off some of their requests. But when it gets to work, they will prefer to talk to the men and not me. Go figure.
Some weeks back, I asked a male junior to do some work. It was short notice and I needed a flexible helpful person. He said yes at once. Only for him to be blasted by his supervisor because he (the supervisor) had not been consulted when I was assigning him. The funny thing is, that supervisor has always assigned my juniors without my permission or notice and I have no problem with it as long as it is in line with what their job description states. I was particularly mad at this supervisor. I sent an email which was polite but firm. I told him I had done the assigning in the recent past because his team was not willing or bothered enough to do it. And if they wanted to take on the role, I was happy to give it to them. They were of course not willing to do it. It takes a lot of work, coordination, and is a largely behind-the-scenes job. They prefer the work that puts them in the limelight. I got no reply to that email.