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Looking at the hole in the ceiling above her head, Angie waited for her friend to answer her call. She had been sitting in that cold office for a few hours, when her head started to hurt badly and when her shoulders gave her different signs of discomfort. Over the last few weeks, she got to explore how cold that office could be on warm days. Although the AC could be adjusted internally, it always gave her a headache no matter how low it was, because she happened to be seated just below it. A while ago, some people from the physical plant passed by, took some measurements and left. She never saw them afterwards. She was too shy to ask around for updates or to voice her concerns. Or simply, she was so used to how things were usually done at BUH, that she knew that voicing her concerns, or not voicing her concerns, wouldn’t change anything. She was becoming the shy reserved girl whom she used to be before quitting her job and travelling to Nepal. She had always been too polite to ask for anything. She sometimes felt comfortable with some people and therefore she became a bit more familiar with them. But some other people, especially at BUH, never gave her the feeling she needed to feel comfortable around them. Their body language always betrayed their own discomfort with themselves, their jobs and their lives. And no matter how hard she tried, she always failed her first 5 seconds with any new acquaintance. She heard somewhere, or most probably read, that the first 5 seconds gave a first impression on a person. It seems that these first few seconds can impact how people would interact with each other afterwards. She once attended a workshop titled “client focus” where attendees were shown the importance of dealing with costumers, interacting with them and giving a positive image of not only a small office but of the entire institution. For her, some colleagues in many places around BUH failed miserably with dealing with clients, smiling to them, looking at them, or even showing them any care…

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“I deserve better than this,” she heard herself thinking. “I deserve better than a small corner in a big cold room, where I constantly feel cold and suffer from a headache. I deserve better than a question mark from a new acquaintance every now and then. I deserve better than a short message badly written and hardly spoken. I deserve better than weird questions from people I hardly know. I deserve better than a tiny studio in a very old building where I need to struggle constantly to keep people from littering or putting their unwanted empty boxes in the building entrance. I deserve better than constantly worrying about water shortage or a stupid neighbor taking advantage of everything in the building and above all making us pay for water cisterns when he is actually playing dirty tricks…I deserve a better life where I feel valued as a human being, a worker, an employee, a friend, a citizen, a woman… I deserve a better life where things seem to flow and not remain unchanged, stable or worse… stagnant. I deserve better than a few words hardly spoken to direct me, or to point out my strengths and my weaknesses. I deserve better than a job that hardly allows me to survive. I deserve a better job where I am given constant feedback, directions, care and the ability to grow both emotionally and professionally.”

“Please answer…” She heard herself begging. “Please pick up the phone. I hate when you don’t answer me. I hate when I need to call you several times. I don’t want to feel that I am running out of time with you. I don’t want to feel that I have been investing my time with my work and not with spending time with you… Please pick up… Where are you? Is there something wrong with my connection? Is your phone put on silent? Did you leave your phone on the charger or somewhere else?”

–        “Allo”
–        “Allo… Hi, how are you? You got me worried. Are you ok?”
–        “Hi, yes, I am good. How are you?”
–        “I am just calling to say hi”
–        “Hi”
–        …
–        “Tell me things”
–        “You tell me things”
–        “So you called me to ask me to tell you things?”

Thank you for reading.

 

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