Daren got to the office by 10 am all the while regretting his decision of not accepting the official driver his Mom had assigned to him. He had had little sleep at night going through the resumes’ and it hadn’t been an easy feat because, his body had been weak but his mind kept urging him on. So when he entered the lobby he wasn’t really surprised when he saw the applicants already seated in the second conference room with papers in their hands. His secretary saw him and rushed over to get his laptop bag. When he got to his office he asked her,
“Neka, what’s with the papers?” he asked referring to the papers he had seen with the applicants
Neka who’s always business like and rarely smiles answered in her usual strict manner, “Sir, that’s just a brief personality test Mrs. Danjuma instructed we administer to them”
Daren rolled his eyes before asking, “But I thought this was part of the previous process?”
Neka shifted uncomfortably. She always found herself caught in between this mother and son’s decision making process and it wasn’t always pleasant. She cleared her throat before responding.
“Well Sir, I had three personality tests before I was employed here. It’s just part of the security measures we take here to ensure our staff is sane enough for the job”
Daren accepted that and then instructed her to send in the applicants one after the other for the interview when they were through with the test.
Daren drilled the applicants with questions. He wanted to ensure that whoever would end up being his personal assistant will not only be loyal to the company but most importantly will become his business confidante. He wanted someone that would answer to him instead of his Mom. He wanted someone that could put in extra hours and wouldn’t mind travelling with him whenever he wanted. Preferably, he wanted a male personal assistant. Women were too complicated and emotional and having to deal with their universal drama as well as their hormonal shifts was the last thing on his mind so he found himself hoping he could get a male PA after this whole stress.
There were fifteen young men and four ladies. Eight of those men were married with kids and over thirty five while the rest were single and in their twenties and thirties. The ladies on the other hand were single. Thus the interview was intense and at some point, he wished that he could employ all of them but he only had to choose one. Then he noticed that one was missing. A female. He picked up her resume and scanned through it again. Then he did something out of the norm; he picked up his phone and dialed the number on the resume. It rang three times before she picked.
“Hello?” Daren said in his most professional voice
“Hello! Hello! Good morning! Please kindly call back. I can’t talk right now. I’m on a bike” she was breathless
Daren was taken aback but he went ahead to say, ” Well Miss Annie, you need to get here as soon as you can. I won’t wait forever to interview you. Where are you at the moment?”
“Jesus! I’m sorry Sir. I had no idea. I’m approaching the Lekki Toll Gate now, I’ll be there in 10 minutes. I’m so sorry Sir.” she sounded far away
“Ok” Daren said and then hung up.
He was amused and furious at the same time because he couldn’t understand why someone who’s looking for a job could utterly lack seriousness. Why would she be on a bike by 11 am for an interview that was scheduled for 9 am? Out of curiosity, he picked up her resume again and checked her address to see where she lived. It was pointless because, even if he was able to use Google map to find her address, he had no idea where it was. So he decided to wait. For him, she had failed her own personality test.
At exactly 12 noon, Neka called Daren to inform him that the last applicant was around. Daren who was deeply engrossed in his work simply grunted. Almost immediately, the door opened and a breathless young woman walked in. Daren without looking up from his laptop signaled her to sit. He could hear her breathing even if she tried controlling it and it sort of distracted him from the figures he was studying. He sighed and paused on his work to attend to the late comer.
He looked up and found her staring at him then she started speaking immediately,
“Good morning Sir. I’m really sorry. I got stuck in traffic and I had to use a bike. I didn’t know you were the one calling. I’m so sorry” she said all at once
Daren was studying her. She had on a white long sleeved chiffon shirt, her long black hair was pulled back in a neat pony tail, her face was bare off makeup but she had on a transparent gloss that gave her stressed oval shaped face a little lift. Something about her aura appealed to his senses and he felt his initial irritation at her lateness wear off. She sounded ruffled and unsettled but she looked calm. Then he cleared his throat before speaking.
“Where do you live Annie?”
“On the mainland Sir. Ajegunle precisely” she answered
“How did you get stuck in traffic? I believe that if this interview was important to you, you would have left home earlier”
“I did leave the house early Sir but there was an accident on the third mainland bridge which caused the traffic so I had to take a bike all the way.”
Daren frowned at that. He had no idea where the Mainland was. He had never been there. He didn’t even know about the third Mainland Bridge. So he shrugged it off and continued his questions.
“How would you cope with the traffic when you get this job?”
“It won’t be a problem Sir. I can handle it” she answered now looking nervous
Daren paused. He narrowed his eyes and asked her the ultimate question he had also asked the other applicants.
“I believe you’ve met my Mom; Mrs. Danjuma. She also runs this company. What would you do if she asked you to keep tabs on me and report to her daily?”
She adjusted herself nervously on her seat before answering “I believe my loyalty is to you just as your loyalty is to her Sir. My JD is centered around confidentiality and I wouldn’t compromise on that. Not even for your Mom except you say so Sir. Thus, I wouldn’t keep tabs on you if your Mom instructed me to”
Daren was impressed and sort of amused because she had a blank expression on her face as she spoke. Then he asked the final question.
“If I wanted you to travel with me occasionally, unannounced, would you do it even if your spouse disagreed?”
“I’m under no obligation to anyone at the moment Sir. Thus, I’m ready to go wherever my job takes me.” she answered and exhaled slowly as if she had been holding her breath all along.
Daren was intrigued. The other applicants had been scared to answer the question about his Mom but this girl had guts and that was exactly what he needed. He looked her over for the last time and then he surprised himself when he said;
“When can you start?”