queen's gambitQueens’ gambit

“Come on in, I’ve only got a few minutes though!”

“No problem boss, I’ll only take a few minutes…I came to discuss something with you… I may soon be leaving”

“Why? You are one of our good hands”

“Thanks boss … it is just that … I got this offer and …”

“Go on … you’ve found a place where they’re offering you more than you’re getting here?”

“Yeah sort of boss, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t like I don’t like it here. It is just that I could use a little more cash at the moment”

“Hmm… don’t we all?”

“Have you looked into their benefit structure, pension plans and insurance schemes? You may be short-changing yourself if the pay cheque is the only thing you are considering … you know?”

“I’ve been thinking about it sir. I actually like it here especially since we are on the verge of expanding … but the pay is not commensurate with what the current market is saying …”

“That’s fine! Let me give it a thought and let’s talk at 10 tomorrow morning after the weekly progress meeting. Is that alright?”

“Alright boss … thanks”

“Never mind. On your way out please ask Stephen to bring the Hurricane brief.”

“Yes sir!”

Later that night at Mr. Joe’s house over dinner with his wife


“So did the Hurricane deal fall through?”

“We’re still in negotiation … I’m optimistic. I don’t think there should be any problem. I’ll be off to the Netherlands for the bid this weekend anyway?”


“Hope you are okay? You look worried. You think they won’t do business with you?”

“No … it is not that… and who says I’m worried?”

“I’m just asking Joseph.”

“Maybe its the discussion I had with Boye today … he came to tell me today he was planning on leaving the company. The boy’s really bright and I think someone else is wooing him over … and eventually it boils down to the money.”

“Boye? That is the … uhm … Schneider Kid? Right?”

“Yeah! Schneider kid … you remember, the one who snatched the Government contract from Schneider last year.”

“Hmm… you seem to like him a lot, why not up his pay then?”

“… It’s not that easy. It could bring dissatisfaction to other employees if the raise is not carried out across board … and you know word goes around quickly in a growing organisation. I might soon have my hands full with people seeking raises. We can’t afford that”

“Then if you’re so keen on keeping him and you don’t want to lose your other staff, why not give him a stake or something that looks like a stake…”

“How do you mean?”

“You can offer him a partnership deal…say… in the next 10 years … IF he stays…. In the interim though, if I were you I’ll be scouting for other wonder kids before that 10 years is up…

“So if it’s something that looks like a stake are you suggesting that I fire him when I find another wonder kid? And snatch the partnership deal from under him?”

“I guess you take the words straight out of my mouth. You don’t want one wonder kid holding you to ransom. Not these days when employees all over are toppling bosses in hostile takeovers. The company is all we got you know?”

“hmmm…I’ll have to think about that one….”

Mr. Joe finishes off the food on his dinner plate as the Boyes, in their two-bed apartment are just about starting theirs. Boye’s wife, Evelyn is ladling out some take-away food into home-china and starts the conversation;

“So what did he say?”

“He said to give him a day to think about it, that we’ll discuss it at work tomorrow.”

“What if he calls the bluff? Like … what if he finds out somehow that I don’t have another offer and decides to throw me out for being sort of …. devious?”

“You’re such a wimp! How else will he find out except you act that way?”

“Look! It is obvious this man can’t do without you from the way you talk. I mean all those deals you’ve been clocking? … Strider…. Or what is that other one? See…he only pays you a fraction of what you bring in so why won’t he increase your pay then? If I were the one, I’ll play hard ball with him till he puts me in the right position … at least last time before he eventually agreed his excuse was that the firm was in a process of expansion. How stretched out should the firm be before … hisses … good for nothing capitalists who…”

“Take it easy Evie! You take this more seriously than me.”

“You never take anything seriously Boye … not until I hammer it down your throat. Anyway, at your meeting or whatever you’re doing with him tomorrow, I think you should be clear that you’ll leave if you don’t get paid more…”

“…and please… don’t act funny about it. I know you might get there now and start smiling. Honey, you are worth more than you are getting”

Boye takes the first spoonful in silence, watching his wife ladle hers onto a similar plate as his


10 a.m the day after at Mr. Joe’s office

“Sit down. I’ve thought over our discussion yesterday … Before I tell you what I have in mind… what figure are you looking at? You still haven’t told me yet!”

“Thanks boss. I was wondering … 100,000 more…. per annum of course.”

“ha..ha… You’re asking for a lot. Anyway, this is what I’m offering…See I’ve always wanted to make you partner. I never told you this before but it’s something in the works…I’m thinking if you can hang on for the next 5 years you’d be ripe for a stake… but if I increase your pay now, I’ll have to reconsider my long term goals for you in the business.”

“I don’t understand … sir… how increasing my pay should affect my future partnership if I merit it.”

“Boye, you are a hardworking young man but your pay is already out of sync with the rest of the staff and I just had it upped last year. If I increase it … again … I won’t be able to do so for others and that will cause conflict within the organisation … something that can only get worse with time if I make you partner. There are quite a number of people who have spent longer years than you have and do not have some of the benefits you get you know? … Take Mr. Bash for instance”

“Boss, Bash doesn’t do what I do.”


“Okay, let me muse it over. Partner is a big one to chew on and I won’t want to make a hurried decision with that in view. I’ll send you a mail on my thoughts regarding the partnership … I mean… since you’ll be in Amsterdam tomorrow on Hurricane and won’t be back till Friday.”

“That’ll be fine Boye. Give it some good thought…uhm…?”

Later that evening, at the Boye’s place shortly before the match finals come up on air. Evelyn, Boye’s wife is just arriving home from work. Boye meets her at the door.


“Welcome Evie, hard day I can tell…bring that…I’ll put it away for you.”

“Thanks hon I can handle it. So what is the update?”

“Madrid has to win by a 2-goal margin if they’re any serious ab…”

“Oh! God. You are so impossible … I mean what is the update on your boss … pay rise?”

“Oh yeah! That one … I eventually caught up with him. Guess what? He is making me partner!”

“Partner? Just like that? How did you take it from pay rise to partner?”

“No, no, no, no before you get all excited. He’s not making me partner … at least not yet. But he is offering that I stay on the same pay grade for the next 5 years or thereabouts … it might not even be that long… and then he’ll offer me a stake in the organisation.”

“Sorry hon, you sound like a tape in reverse. Are you for real? He’s just waving the partner carrot to make you stuck. Don’t you get it? See, when you meet him tomorrow be clear! He’s your boss not an ogre … I don’t know why you are so afraid of him. Partner or no partner, you should make him see reason to raise your pay NOW!”

“Who said I’m afraid of him? And between I’m not seeing him tomorrow…I’ll take my own decision on this one thanks. I got a match to return to.”

“Do whatever pleases you. Just don’t come telling me your money problems… And those lousy boys you watch on TV every evening, they earn in a week what you earn per annum…and they don’t even have to crawl to their bosses for a mere 100 grand per annum pay rise. If I were you I’ll reconsider watching them so intently…”


Later that night Boye finishes off a mail on his phone

….you should see reason to raise my pay now despite the offer of being made partner in future.

Best regards,


He then sends it and cradles the phone in a miniature cot by the bedside – his wife fast asleep and snoring lightly.

Meanwhile, in Mr. Joe’s bedroom his wife is typing on her laptop her spectacles perched on her nose. Mr. Joe is beside her in his peejays trying to sleep.

“Joseph, you have a message!”

“How do you manage to know when I have a message when the damn thing doesn’t make any sound?”

“Lemme see … hmm … that is interesting!”

“What is it?”


“What is the interesting message? You always wear that expression when you intend to act funny.”

“Hmm…really? Never mind, it’s Boye.”

“Did he take the offer of the partnership?”

“No he is asking for the raise … or more like threatening for the raise. In fact he was specific he wanted up to a 100 grand more per annum…Ridiculous isn’t it?”

“…I think you should fire him.”

“Deola! Fire him? Simply for asking for what he considers a decent raise … at least in his opinion?”

“Okay then hands off sir but you will need to tow the hard-line with your wonder kid to keep him reined in. Something tells me he is bluffing.”

“Oh! Not Intuition again … women and intuition?”

“Who said anything about intuition now? I said SOMETHING tells me …. I didn’t say intuition?”

“Anyway, I’ve got more things on my mind now. I’ll deal with that later. By the way…your mother sent a mail. She’s making us dinner on Saturday.”

Without turning away from the computer screen ‘Deola responds sarcastically.

“She sent it two days ago!”

Thursday – Boye on phone with his wife

“So has he responded?”



“I don’t know.”

“I even sent him a reminder but he didn’t respond. I think he is busy sorting out issues in Amsterdam … maybe I shouldn’t have asked for the raise at the time I did. You know … my chances of making partner could’ve been higher … what do you think?”

“Something tells me he is lying to you.”

“That he won’t make me partner?”

“Can you just shut up on this partner thing? Till last week you never even knew a thing about being partner. I think you should write him a resignation letter. He needs to take you more seriously…yeah I’ll be with you shortly.”

“I didn’t get that?”

“No…I was talking to a colleague. I may have to drop the line now. I THINK YOU SHOULD WRITE HIM A RESIGNATION LETTER.”

“You must be kidding right?

“So he can know you’re serious.”

“But at least I have to find a job. I mean just in case … what if he pulls the plug on me…or…”

“I gotta go hon … I’ll send you a draft of the letter by tea-break. Trust me on this one.”

Later that evening – Mr. Joe on phone with his wife from an uptown hotel in Amsterdam

“…Joseph, hello?”

“Yeah…hang on a minute…grunts… this is the…grunts again…lousiest hotel I’ve ever been in. Stupid people, stupid waiters, crappy service … and …grunts… the lousy hot water refuses to run.”

“Joe… Joe?”

“Yeah…I’m here.”

“You only cuss like that when things aren’t going right. Did Hurricane drop your bid?”

“Not yet…at least technically. You won’t believe that Schneider is also one of the bidders…and guess what? Their CFO saw me after the opening session this afternoon and after shooting down our transistors at the bid, the kid still had the guts to ask me to pass a message across to Boye to call him urgently.”

“I mean, what kind of … what kind of…”

“Take it easy dear … we don’t want your blood pressure shooting the roof again this time. You’ll be fine. Do you think it is Schneider that is trying to poach him … I mean your wonder kid?”

“I don’t know, but the CFO-thing seemed overly excited this afternoon. If it is Schneider … that might be tricky at this time … you know? …I might have to find out somehow from Schneider.”

“Don’t do that. They’ll think you’re desperate. If it’s a 100 grand per annum he is asking for then negotiate with him. You are good at that aren’t you? …I mean you can cut him a good deal, retain him and re-strategize on how you’ll gain one on Schneider in the Short run but don’t let him hold you to ransom again. That is what I think he is doing now.”

“Hmm…no wonder they all hate you over at your office. You’re such a cold-hearted capitalist. But I like the idea though … I don’t know how I made it transacting with you all this while without getting my fingers burnt. I’ll put him on a new project that is more commission driven, with a temptation of a higher offer but for which he’ll have to sweat to treble his income for the company to attain it. I’ll think it through…let me get back to these taps. Our last session is tomorrow. I hope I can still get Hurricane to change their mind … they appear to be courting Schneider at the moment.”

“All the best dear. Just take it easy.”


Friday – Mr. Joe’s office after postponed bidding in Amsterdam.

“I got your draft letter. I’m surprised! I didn’t expect that you’ll pass up an offer for a partnership for an immediate pay rise. Anyway since there is not much I can do to make you stay and you appear resolute in making a career change …


“No boss, don’t get me wrong, I like it here. It’s just that… it … is … just a draft sir.”

“You mean the letter?”



“I might … have to take some more time to weigh my options.”

“I thought you’d done that before coming to me in the first place to tell me you were leaving? Anyway, by Monday morning let me know where you stand!”


“Yes boss… I’m sure you know Hurricane has been postponed till August.”

“Yes sir!”




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