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Top of The Ladder

Tasha drops off from the taxi and makes to rush into the building but is halted by the taxi man ‘hey miss, you haven’t paid me yet’ ‘oh shoot’ she says hurrying back ‘here, I am so sorry’ she says taking out money from her purse ‘it’s alright goodluck’ the taxi man says with a smile ‘thank you’ Tasha says before hurrying off to the building where she is stopped by the security at the gate ‘and where do you think you are going to? ‘inside’ she says and he looks at her thoroughly ‘do you have an appointment? ‘not exactly but I received an email last night saying there was a vacancy here and If I don’t go in right now I will be late’ ‘hmm, you have to have an appointment before you will be allowed in there’ he says and walks back into his security post while Tasha pleads after him ‘sir please, I’m sorry I had no idea about that but this is really important to me, please I need a job today’ He pauses for a while and studied her closely ‘alright, I guess it’s your lucky day’ he says placing his card on the access point of the doorway letting her in ‘thank you so much’ Tasha says rushing in. She hurries into the reception ‘goodmorning’ ‘morning’ the receptionist says without looking up from her computer system ‘ehm I’m here for an interview’ Tasha says politely ‘ok, you can just leave your cv here with me I will pass it on to the boss when he gets here’ the receptionist says with a forced smile ‘oh, but I received an email saying there was an interview today at 8.30am’ ‘yes but the position has already been occupied unfortunately so all you have to do is just pass on your cv to me and I will submit to the boss on your behalf when he gets here’ Tasha’s face drops and the next few minutes seemed to go by real fast, it was the same old story ‘no vacancy, or we will get back to you’ she sighs. Life as a graduate was really hard especially when a job was not forthcoming, the frustration was really starting to kick in and Tasha really didn’t know where to go from here. She was receiving pressure from all angles, especially from back home where her parents had other responsibilities, her other siblings to take care of and they had reduced the rate at which they sent money to her. ‘thank you, and please do get back me, please this week if possible’ she says before walking out, trying really hard to get over her disappointment and talking to herself ‘what am I doing wrong? ‘why can’t I…’ Tasha says and bumps into a man at the door sending her file and papers flying on the floor ‘oh my God, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry’ she says bending down to pick up her things and he squats to help her out ‘it’s ok, here you go’ he says handing her, her file ‘thank you sir’ she says and walks out of the building.

‘Where do I begin? ‘Another disappointment’ Tasha thinks to herself as she walks slowly to the bus station. She makes it to the bus station and sits on the stool bending her head down. Tasha lets her thought roam, remembering the last time she had called home ‘I really wish we had enough to give you Tasha, please understand with us’ ‘It’s okay mummy. I’m fine and I got a job already, next week I will start working.’ Tasha sighs. She knew that was a big fat lie. She was barely surviving ,almost on the next flight back home if she could afford it. The bus pulls up infront of her and she reluctantly gets into it, making sure to seat at the window which was her favourite spot. She was defiantly not going to enjoy this ride back home. Was it the choice of her course? maybe she should have studied medicine after all or fashion. But screw it, accounting was her passion and she had always told her parents that she was going to succeed in her choice of profession but how When she couldn’t even get a job? Growing up in Baltimore in a middle class family was fun and for all the effort her parents had put into her education, it was high time she started taking care of them too and her other siblings, she had tried working really hard at

her last job only to get laid off afterwards. Tasha shakes her head slowly and lets out a breath. She walks down the street leading to her rented shared apartment,stopping by at the local barbers shop to say hi to her friend Jamil ‘Hi angel’ Jamil says with a huge smile on his face ‘Hi’ she replies sounding tired. ‘What is it my lady?’ ‘Same old story Jamil’ ‘Awww don’t worry, it will be fine’ ‘I know’ Tasha says ‘I just came by to find out if you have any recent newspapers as usual’ ‘Yeah sure, I left them on the table over there for you’ ‘Thank you so much’ she says and walks to pick them up.

Tasha walks into her apartment and meets her house-mate Lisa and her boyfriend making out on the couch in the living room. ‘Oh!’ she says and turns around to shut the door behind her backing them. ‘Oh, hi Tasha’ Lisa says ‘Hi’ she replies walking into her room. She lets out a sigh and drops her bags and papers on the bed. ‘Oh My God Brad!’ Lisa says laughing hysterically and Tasha rolls her eyes and turns on the TV increasing the volume to the highest drowning their voices ‘It’s not even night yet and they wanna do this’ Tasha says under her breath. She sits down on her bed and immediately starts to go through the news papers. After a few minutes, she puts puts them down feeling hopeless. ‘oh God, help me’ Tasha says and picks up one of the papers again, looking closely at the last two pages when she sees an advert below it, it reads ‘Accountants Needed At Toyoshi company…’ ‘Toyoshi… Toyoshi, I’ve heard this name before’ A thought comes to her mind “After the fraud at the Toyoshi company was brought to light, over 20 staff have been laid of and it will take a lot for them to bounce back…” ‘Oh! Is this new?’ Tasha says standing up while staring at the paper. She opens her bag hurriedly and takes out her phone to dial the number on the advert. ‘Hello… Hi, I’m Tasha… Okay, I’ll hold on’ She says with her fingers crossed and letting out deep breaths. ‘Hi, I’m Tasha, and I just saw an advert in the newspaper that you have a vacancy in your company and I’m applying for the position of an accountant.. Errrm, sure I have all my documents, I can come in now if you want me to… Oh, okay thank you’ Tasha says hanging up. She immediately grabs her bag and her files and immediately runs out. ‘Hey Tasha, I have some money for you to keep for me’ ‘Lisa when I get back okay? ‘Okay bye’ Lisa says still cuddled up with Brad.

Tasha walks into the Toyoshi building and lets out a deep breath before approaching the receptionist. ‘Errrm, Hi… I spoke to you on the phone. I’m Tasha Banks.’ ‘Oh hi. You are applying for the position of an accountant right’ ‘Yes please. Here is my CV…’ Tasha says taking out her file. ‘Okay. Do you have your school results with you,’ ‘Yeah I do. Everything is here.’ ‘Okay I see’ the lady says looking through her documents. She puts down the documents and looks at Tasha in the face ‘Okay. Right now the boss is not in and I don’t know when he’ll be back. You can just leave your documents here, I’ll forward the to the boss when he comes in’ Tasha’s face drops ‘When I spoke to you earlier you told me to come in for the interview. I really need this job please’ Tasha says in a desperate tone. ‘Yes, I do understand that. But I’m not the one to interview, the boss is meant to do that, and right now he’s in a meeting’ the receptionist says ‘Okay, can I please wait for him to come?’ ‘I don’t…’ A man interrupts them ‘Welcome sir’ the receptionist says standing to greet him. ‘Oh, hi Mary,can I have the files I requested for earlier?’ ‘Sure sir, I will forward them to your office soon’ Mary says ‘I need them right now Mary!’ he says and glances at Tasha as the receptionist picks up some files from her table. ‘Hey, I remember you’ he says to Tasha. ‘Yea I’m so sorry for earlier’ ‘It’s okay, I’m Eric’ ‘i’m Tasha’ she says with a smile ‘What are you doing here?’ ‘I’m looking for a job’ ‘Oh really?’ he says as the receptionist passes him a file ‘Sir, these are the documents’ ‘Okay, thank you Mary, what job is she looking for?’ ‘An accountant’

‘Do you have your CV here?’ ‘Yes sir’ Tasha says with her eyes bulging out. ‘Okay follow me’. She nods and follows him into an antiqued well decorated office. ‘Sit’ he says gesturing to a seat ‘ok sir Tasha says as he picks up the office phone and dials a number ‘call in the accounts manager’ he says and drops the phone down looking at a tensed Tasha ‘let me have CV’ ‘ok she says handing him her file with her fingers shaking ‘relax, I don’t bite’ ‘i’m trying to’ she says whispering under her breath ‘so you graduated December of 2015 with a 1-2? ‘yes sir’ ‘hmm impressive’ he says looking through her CV with interest ‘and what have you been up to so far? Any working experience? ‘yes I worked as an intern for U-web accounting firm for 4 months but I was laid off with some staff 3 months, promising to get a call back if they happen to need more hands again’ ‘ok, that’s sad’ ‘yea and I also home-school some kids for free though nothing serious’ ‘nothing serious? That’s good it means that you enterprising and that’s really what we need here’ ‘thank you sir’ Tasha says with a smile and Greg walks in ‘good day sir’ ‘good day, this is Trisha’ ‘hi’ ‘and I need you to go through her CV and tell me what you think’ he says passing on Tasha’s CV to Greg ‘hmm ok,what I see here is impressive, any working experience? ‘yes sir I did an intern-ship program at U-web accounting firm but they didn’t have the capability to retain me’ ‘ok’ Greg says looking through her CV carefully ‘so what do you think? Eric says ‘i think judging by what I see here, she is good’ ‘ok’ Eric says turning to Tasha ‘so you have the job now’ Eric says in a serious tone ‘i expect that you give excel in your field and work at all times as a team player’ ‘ok sir, thank you’ Tasha says unable to believe it ‘it’s alright, Greg you can take her to her desk now’ ‘ok sir’ Greg says ‘follow me’ ‘thank you once again’ ‘it’s ok’ Eric says as she leaves with Greg.

‘So, the number one rule which applies to everyone in this firm is, you must be punctual both in coming to work and in meeting up to deadlines of your work’ Greg says and Tasha nods trying to keep up the pace ‘Yes sir’ He clicks open the elevator and they walk in ‘ also Tasha it is very much advisable that you respect everyone that has been here before you’ ‘Sure I will’ ‘alright, this is where you will be working’ Greg says as they walk into the accounting department which was more than what Tasha expected, it was beautiful,she looks around curiously smiling at her co-workers as Greg continues on ‘you’ll be under Angela, her office is over there’ he says pointing to the office at the left side of the hallway ‘she’ll put you through everything you need to know for now’ Greg says as they approach her desk. ‘This is your office so, I’ll leave you for now try to settle in’ ‘Okay sir, thank you so much’ Tasha says with a smile ‘You’re welcome’ he says walking away and turns back ‘Don’t get carried away by the view of the city Tasha’ he says smiling at her. Tasha giggles and starts to arrange her desk. ‘Hey’ she hears a voice and looks up to see a medium height teenager looking at her from the top of her cubicle ‘Oh, hi’ Tasha says and the girl comes down and walks to the small passage way that leads into Tasha’s cubicle ‘Hey, my name is Sarah’ ‘Tasha’ ‘You’re welcome’ ‘Thank you’ Tasha says with a smile ‘You’ll love it here trust me’ Sarah says ‘But, be careful with Mrs Angela, she can be cranky some times’ whisper ‘Oh, there she is’ She says in a whisper pointing to Angela as she walks in. Angela walks in with a file looks around and calls out to her ‘Tasha!’ ‘Yes miss’ Tasha says from her office ‘Come into my office’ ‘Okay miss’ Tasha says hurridly leaving her desk ‘Pssssst’ Sarah calls out to her. She stops to look back ‘Be careful’ Sarah says. Tasha smile and heads to Angela’s office.‘hi, I’m Tasha’ ‘hi’ the lady says without looking up from her computer screen ‘ok, I need you to get to work will..’ she says looking up and glances at Tasha allowing her eyes to fall on Tasha’s shoes ‘and what sort of shoes are those? ‘ehm I don’t understand’ ‘we have a dress code here young lady and if you must work here to have to abide by them’ ‘ok ma, sure’ Tasha says

looking at her ‘ok as I was saying you will begin immediately so be alert I will call you back and you will be handed the company’s records I do hope you know what you’re doing’ ‘sure I do’ Angela nods and Tasha remains there standing ‘and what are you still waiting for? Move to your desk! Angela says and Tasha nods.

Tasha comes out of her office with her face down and Sarah wastes no second rushing to meet Tasha ‘How did it go?’ ‘well I guess ok? Tasha says with a grin ‘oh’ Sarah says with a smile ‘anyway I’m off for lunch, wanna come? ‘sure’ ‘alright’ Tasha says picking up her bag from the table ‘ok I was too scared to say it there but I think Angela’s a little bit mean’ Tasha says as they walk out through the hallway and Sarah laughs ‘what did she say? ‘well my shoes’ Sarah looks at her laughing ‘What’s funny?’ Tasha says ‘Your’s wasn’t that bad’ ‘really? ‘yea, Look over at the counter over there’ ‘Yeah’ ‘That’s Nate. Angela made him cry on his first day’ Tasha looks over to see a buffed guy, she looks back at Sarah with her eyes open wide ‘No way!’ Tasha exclaims ‘Yes way, just be careful around her do as she says and you’ll be good’ ‘Well, I hope so’.

Tasha returns to her desk and stares blankly at the computer waiting for something to do and after a while she lowers her head to her desk, allowing her mind to roam ‘i wanna be an accountant when I grow up mummy’ ‘but why accounting dear, I prefer you go into something much more lucrative like the fashion industry’ ‘you know I’m not into fashion mum and accounting is…’ Tasha drifts back into reality when she hears the phone ringing ‘yes ma’am I will be there shortly’ she walks briskly into Angela’s office ‘yes madam’ ‘alright look at the files here’ Angela says referring to the long pile of files on her table ‘I need you to collect all these records together carefully and properly alright? ‘yes ma,am’ ‘and over here I need you to cross-check the tax revenues of the company for over the past 6 months’ ‘ok sure’ Tasha walks out with the files and quickly moves to her table to get to work immediately, with Sarah giving her a knowing look. Tasha walks out of the office at 8.30pm towards the bus station excitedly, she dials her mom’s number and is thrilled when she picks up ‘mom I finally got a job! Tasha says with a huge smile on her face ‘i know, I know I told you I started working already but that was a lie, I know I’m sorry but right now I really have a job, can you believe that? Tasha says excitedly as she approaches the bus station. ‘i know mom, I will make you proud’

As soon as she gets home She rushes to Jamil’s shop at the time they were just about to close up ‘Jamil, Jamil’ Tasha says rushing into his barber’s shop ‘yes dear? Oh Lord do you look happy’ ‘hmm hmm’ one of the old men say ‘yes I am happy I mean so happy, I just got a job today! Tasha says jumping up. ‘hmm, I think we need to call in Kate to bless you’ Jamil says and Tasha laughs ‘Mama Kate, Tasha just got a job! ‘seriously oh my’ Kate says rushing towards her ‘did you really? ‘yes ma’am I did’ Tasha says and Kate takes her hands ‘alright, I am so happy for you dear child and I pray that you will keep this job in Jesus name’

Later in the evening, Tasha sits in the living room playing some soft music and recording some data on her laptop, Lisa walks in ‘still working Tasha? Lisa says sitting beside her ‘yea, I have to get everything right and there is actually a lot of work for me to do because this office I’m currently occupying was vacant for a while so there’s a lot of piled up work’ ‘oh I see’ ‘yea, what’s up how is school? ‘fine, I’m just tired lots of homework to do, can’t wait for this semester to be over’ ‘yea I understand’ Tasha says barely looking up from her screen. ‘yea, you are lucky you are over and done with college’ ‘no I’m lucky I got a job’ she says with a laugh ‘yea that’s true’ Lisa says and glances at the pile of books besides Tasha ‘what are you doing with all of those books? ‘company records Lisa, believe it or not that woman is really trying to kill me’ Tasha says and Lisa laughs

hard ‘you asked for it didn’t you? She says standing up to her feet and walking to the door ‘i’m off to see Brad we are going for a walk’ ‘alright dear take care’ ‘you too and goodluck’.

The next morning, Tasha stirs and takes out the phone slowly from under her pillow. She yawns and checks the time ‘8 o’clock!’ she yells jumping out of bed rushing to the bathroom. She rushes out 5 minutes later, runs to her closet and takes the first thing she sees ‘Oh My God! Oh My God!Oh My God! Oh My God!’ Tasha says having a panic attack. She runs out hoping to meet up with the bus, but gets there a bit late having to watch the bus pull off while she waves frantically ‘Hey! HEY! I’m here’ She says and sighs sitting down on a stool ‘What sort of badluck is this?’ Tasha says.

Meanwhile at the office….

‘alright, are we all here? Greg says addressing the accounting team ‘ehm Tasha’s still not here’ Sarah says ‘i knew it, this girl is just not competent’ Angela says ‘let’s give her the benefit of the doubt Angela she should have a good reason why she’s late’ Greg says and Angela rolls her eyes. Tasha rushes down from the bus and runs in into the office looking shuffled and rumpled, breathing heavily. She pulls open the office door and always falls over when she is greeted with glaring eyes looking at her. ‘good- good morning’ she says stuttering ‘morning Tasha, you are late’ Greg says and Tasha’s face drops ‘i’m sorry, I’m so sorry I woke up late and I couldn’t get a bus on time I promise this will never happen again’ Tasha says close to tears ‘that’s a flimsy excuse’ Angel says barking at her ‘it’s alright just make sure this doesn’t happen again’ ‘ok sir’ ‘take a seat’. ‘as I was saying…

After the meeting Tasha walks to her cubicle, She sighs and puts her bag on the table with her head down. Sarah walks up to her ‘Hey Tasha, what’s up?’ ‘hey Sarah’ ‘hey, hope you are good? ‘yea, I mean I’m just sad that on my second day I’m late’ Tasha says and Sarah nods ‘i understand we all have such days’ ‘yea I guess so’ ‘anyway I don’t want to make you worried or anything but I think Angela would still let you have it, she’s sent for you’ Tasha’s eyes pop out ‘Seriously? Am I in trouble?’ Tasha says in a low tone to Sarah. and immediately receives a call from Angela ‘Hello, Tasha come into my office now.’ ‘Alright, I’ll be there soon’ Tasha says with a worried look on her face. She walks into Angela’s office ‘morning’ ‘i hope you know that I am really disappointed in you and honestly I can’t wait till you misbehave again so I can kick you out! Angela says in a strict tone and Tasha swallows hard ‘you will have to do overtime Tasha, prove yourself! Angela finishes and Tasha nods. Tasha sits in her office working hard as the sun goes down, waving and smiling at her colleagues as they leave one after another, she was bent on proving herself not just to Angela but to herself and everyone that had doubted her, she was here to stay!

6 months later

‘oh shit! Tasha mutters running towards the bus station as the rain begins to pour out heavily. A car pulls up beside her ‘hey, hop in’ she turns around and notices it’s her boss Eric and she gratefully enters the car ‘thank you so much sir’ ‘it’s alright’ Eric says. ‘why do you have to leave the office so late? It’s dangerous you know’ He says focusing on the road ‘it’s just that I have lots of work to do and I really need to prove myself’ Tasha says rubbing her arms around her skin, trying to give it some warmth ‘i see, but I hear you are trying really hard’ ‘really? ‘yea’ ‘wow, that’s some good news’ Tasha says and Eric chuckles,glancing at her ‘are you cold? ‘yea, but it’s fine sir’ ‘you can have my jacket’ he says taking his eyes off the road a bit to hand her the jacket ‘no I’m fine thank you’ ‘really? I insist’ Eric says and Tasha accepts it ‘thanks’ ‘it’s alright Tasha

have you had dinner’ ‘not yet’ ‘ok let’s go have dinner and talk about you’ ‘huh? Tasha says as she blushes ‘yea i find you interesting and moreover this rain is too heavy we need to park somewhere till it subsides’ Eric says and Tasha nods.

‘so that is how I ended up at your company’ Tasha says as she and Eric share a laugh ‘that’s funny but at least it brought you to us so that’s a good thing’ Eric says looking into Tasha’s eyes ‘ehm me I’m just happy I have a job now, thankful actually’ ‘yea how is it working with Angela though I know she’s a tough one’ Eric says with a grin and Tasha nods in agreement ‘yea but at least she helps me put in my best so I’m up for anything she throws at me’ ‘nice, I tell you one thing Tasha, it’s really hard to keep a job or find a job but the only thing that will sustain you is your passion and your love for the job and I see that in you, so just put in your best the sky is only your limit’ ‘thank you’ Tasha says with a smile. A week later, Tasha walks into Eric’s office and finds him seated with Greg ‘sir you sent for me? ‘yes Tasha sit’ ‘ok sir’ ‘i was just going through your work for the past 6 months and there is a lot of hardwork put into this so I really want to applaud your effort, it’s commendable’ Eric says with a smile ‘oh wow thank you so much sir’ Tasha says smiling ‘it’s alright I spoke to your manager and I want you to pack up and…’ ‘what? Tasha says as her heart starts beating really fast ‘i mean I’m transferring you to head the accounting firm in my other company’ Eric finishes off and Tasha lets out a sigh of relief ‘oh, wow! Thank you so much sir’ ‘don’t thank me just continue to put in your best’ Tasha smiled, she knew her journey to the top had only began.

By Samantha Mahmood from Malaysia