Working as an employee in Nigeria requires a double level of competence and endurance. In developed countries, you could easily report your boss if you perceive toxicity but the case is different here. Mostly, this is due to the fact that labour laws are almost non-existent or completely non-functional in Nigeria. Or simply because everyone is used to being treated high-handedly that even bosses believe ‘verbal and emotional abuses’ are the only ways to make work done. Simply put, workplace toxicity is very predominant in these climes.
Although there are good bosses, the presence of bad bosses have created a wrong perception of how workplaces are meant to be. In fact, the experiences some have had with their previous bosses are so traumatic that they do not believe good bosses exist.
Following the recent Twitter conversations on toxic workplaces, Glazia delivers exposure on these toxicities. How bad are these toxicities? Here’s a chat with someone who worked as a front-desk officer somewhere in Ikeja Lagos and Seun, who worked as a teacher somewhere in Lagos too.
The front desk personnel, along with their colleagues, were constantly faced with verbal abuse and ridiculous policies. One of such policies was the deduction of N250 from their salaries for lateness.
“If you were even one minute late, it was deducted from your pay. So when you’re late for an hour, N250 is deducted. If it spilled into another hour, another N250 is deducted, and I think it was wrong because when you’re frequently early, there’s no incentive for you,” they explained.
Seun’s salary was also deducted for lateness. She explains, “I can’t remember how much it was but the boss didn’t even tell me until the day I was leaving. It was a rough encounter and she suddenly started opening ‘time book’ to note the times I was late, even by one minute.”
There’s more to the toxicity
Seun claims that she constantly feared going to work at the time. Her boss could easily embarrass her in front of the students and sometimes, their parents.
She narrates, “this particular time, I gave assignments to the students because my boss specifically told me to. But it turned out that the assignments were so extensive that a parent came to complain about it. Right in front of the parents and students on the Assembly ground, my boss threw words in my face.”
Relating Seun’s story to others on Twitter and all over social media, it appears embarrassments are the order of the day at several workplaces. Employees are constantly put for show in front of others and some are even called unprintable names like the front desk officer.
She explained, “one day, there was an incident with a customer. My boss didn’t deliver what he promised, so the customer wasn’t having it. The customer confronted him and after the whole debacle, he (my boss) called for a staff meeting, and somehow, he made it my fault. I’m not the one who makes the company’s product. My Job was just to man the front desk. And he said something. ‘If you were not sleeping with this man, he would not have come to my office to talk to me. I don’t even know why I hired a prostitute as a front desk in the first place’.” Plus this is a man I had never seen in my life before that day.
“He said this in a staff meeting. A staff meeting. I was mortified. I looked at him and shook my head. He even called my other colleague a retard, and said she was psychologically unstable. It was at that point I knew this was it. He wasn’t even paying me well to talk to me like that. Even if he was, no one has the right to talk to me like that.”
The awareness of workplace toxicity is one way to curb the menace. That, and conversations like the ones on Twitter. As a result of those conversations, bosses at certain workplaces are making efforts to do better. There should also be stringent labour laws put in place to keep employers in check and help mitigate the sufferings the employees.
Article written by Sola Tales