Saturday, 03 October 2009

When do colleagues become friends or enemies?

I have just looked at the time and it is 18:17 Tuesday, the evening of the 29 September 2009.

I have just told one of my subordinates – I’d call Aaron – as his HR Clerk to never visit me or come to my place.

What happened?
Aaron – not his real name – is a colleague that would visit me once in a while on a casual and not work-related basis. However, our communication would most likely involve work-related issues which most of the time, I would bring up after his mentioning of it.

This started about four/five months ago. Actually, it started where I first stayed before moving to where I’m presently staying. This was as a result his asking of me to bring for example his payslip and that of his former colleague I used to call Moabi, his surname – and which they would later collect at my place.

Since then, we have been in good speaking terms until recently. In fact, until just a few minutes ago when I told him to never set his foot at my place or even think of visiting me anymore.

Today, just less than 30 minutes after arriving from work and while chatting to one of the tenants, Botshelo, where I am presently renting – Aaron came and greeted us, to which I did not hear and therefore, not respond, until such time I heard Botshelo, who heard him responded.

When turning to where he was standing, with an inquisitive mind as to what he could be looking for at the time, he looked at me up and down like some kind of an ugly stinking little stupid boy.

I immediately told him to stop looking at me that way to which he stopped. He told both Botshelo and I that he was looking for a place to stay. Because I’d hate and would probably go crazy having to live with one of my colleagues let alone subordinate especially those of his kind in the same yard or even close by – the ones that are disrespectful, naughty and always, if not most of the time, get into trouble as a result of such behaviour or conduct– I told him that he could see there was not an empty room and therefore, no room for him and that he must go and look elsewhere.

I didn’t say much, except laughing at somewhat my nasty response, yet true, to his enquiry.

Then Botshelo and I continued our conversation we had before Aaron came and disturbed us. We talked, kind of ignoring him, but not actually doing so.

Then came a point when, I think one of us, Botshelo and I, said something to which I laughed very loud because it was laughable and funny at the time.

It was after this laughter I had that Aaron said, in his Sotho language, ‘Ke tsheha jwale ka sefefe’ which to English would translate as ‘I laugh like a bitch’.

I immediately warned him of his statement that he didn’t have any right whatsoever to say that to me – despite our being colleagues and being in good speaking terms and all that – and that he must never come to my place, as he was at the time, nor visit me at all in the near future.

I went into my room leaving Botshelo with him – with no words coming from either of them – to make myself a cup of coffee as I had turned on the kettle before he, Aaron, came.

While busy making myself that cup of coffee – looking very regretful for what he had said to me which meant nothing anymore to me at the time – he spoke politely to me still on whether I was serious about there being no available room for him at the commune where I was staying. With somewhat anger, I smiled, looked at him, said no word or responded and continued to stir my coffee.

Before this, after telling him there was no room available, I told him if he didn’t believe me I would give him my landlord’s number, Dikgang, and enquire for himself.
It was after several attempts, which failed, in trying to make me talk to him that he, Aaron, finally left.

It was after his leaving that Botshelo asked why I chased him, Aaron, way. I told Botshelo it was because he, Botshelo, did not hear what Aaron said to me.
After sometime, I then told Botshelo what Aaron told me which I did not appreciate or like and Hell I did not even approve of, especially as a colleague and a subordinate of mine.

Botshelo was surprised and laughed.

I continued to inform Botshelo of my disapproval of my colleague or subordinate (or whatever he maybe, but definately not a friend) Aaron’s status to talk to me the way he did. Therefore, did not care whether he would continue to talk to me at all, especially as far as work-related issues are concerned more so at work or during my work, or he would not.

That Line’ – Colleague and or friend or both
Do you think Aaron had skipped ‘that like’ – of being a colleague and friend if there was such, to which I think not considering we never were friend and never will we be?

Or do you think I was being insensitive unnecessarily and irrational and too hard of Aaron?

Should I have said anything to show my dissatisfaction with his comments or remarks on my laughter and that he should have known what I expected of him when coming to my place and when we are at work, and how to treat one another as colleagues, but definately not as friends because we are so not?

Earlier in the day, I had turned a request by one of my other subordinates/colleagues in visiting me at my place because I did not see what he and I would talk about or of. In fact, I personally did not see the importance or significance of his visit hence my saying ‘NO’ to his visitation request to my place. Or what else should I have said?

When should one draw ‘that like’ between colleagues and when to become friends with your colleagues?

And when do colleagues become friends or enemies?

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