Saturday, 5 July 2014

WORK ETHICS


One of the first things most companies draft before they register themselves is usually an organizational structure. It doesn't matter whether the company is a conglomerate or non-profit. This structure is explained to new staff as they take up their mantle of responsibility in the company.

But like most ideals, there is always that company that defies laid out principles of business ethics. And if we are talking about Nigeria, we know that very many companies fall into this category. They never bother with any organizational structure; and where they do, it is usually not fully articulated to staff.

If you are quick to disagree, then explain this: why else would security guards at their post interact with staff and visitors with great disrespect?

Shocked? Don't be!

A certain lady told me she went to her office one day, only to be stopped at the gate by the security personnel. They asked her for her ID card. She told them she hadn't one because she had lost hers and was awaiting the issuance of a new one. The security man, in the most disrespectful manner he could, told her to stand outside the premises as her case was a 'special case'. She flew into a rage and asked if he would do her job for her that day. He looked at her blatantly and told her he didn't want 'too much talk' and continued what he was originally doing. When she said she was going home, he said 'better' and continued what he was doing...which was gisting with his other colleagues!

Now...that was a security officer! Some might be quick to say that he was just doing his job, but the first image of a company is from the security post! If the security man is callous and rude, you know that you can't trust the company to be courteous. The lady in question said that she had worked for that company for almost two years, and as such, that treatment was totally unwarranted. If the company had trained their operatives well, the security guard could have said, 'I'm sorry ma'am. I don't know if you heard about the new policy regarding ID card. As a result, we cannot let you in without one. Is there anyone you can call to help clear this inconvenience?' That courteous statement alone would have meant that they did their jobs and still maintained decorum. But treating that lady as such was horrible. Same security personnel treated a customer with such disrespect that he took his business away. The customer made sure he contacted the bosses to let them know he was taking his business to the competition because of the attitude of the security guards. Long story short, no one was fired.

In another company, it was reported that the company canteen was run by ladies who were very disrespectful. When staff members went in for meals, they would not so much as say 'hi' or 'welcome'. They would stare at the staff with unfazed disgust and disdain. One began to wonder if the meals were free and the staff a bunch of homeless people lining up in front of a soup kitchen. One member of staff went at it with them, demanding respect and quality service. She reminded the ladies that she was paying for the food, not begging for it. When one person spoke up, the entire crew started complaining in agreement. It had to take collective criticism for them to get it into their heads that one cannot serve meals with dour facial expressions and a rotten mood. That mini revolution got the girls in check, though they started serving meals, especially to the men, like strippers looking for ones.

Still speaking of food, a friend told me that a couple of his colleagues got into a physical fight in the office because one of them took food meant for the other. It was so bad that they had to be pried off each other before the fight ended. By this time, they had upending tables, destroyed property and even lost some blood. The manager was appalled but let them off the hook with a gentle pat on the wrist. How does a company allow fighters remain in its employ? Like how does this even work? Well, turns out the manager was a cheapskate who couldn’t afford to lose his grossly underpaid staff.
I heard that in a certain company, the 'sisters' perform their religious ablutions in the convenience sinks, raising their legs to the height of the sink to get their feet clean. I heard also (couldn't help but be an aproko) that this method of ablution over time, put so much pressure on the sinks that one of it fell and broke! The toilet had to be locked to prevent further usage. All members of staff had to suffer for the acts of some! This is not isolated. I know that there are certain women in every company who carelessly dispose their pads, use the toilets without flushing, let the tap run and generally leave the toilet a less appealing sight than they met it. It is shameful that grown women (and men too) do nasty things little children wouldn't.

If that isn't enough, you know of those companies that probably have two or three computers in each office and about ten staff members to those offices? Where everyone has to 'book' to use the computer? Yeah. So anyway, someone said he needed to use the computer in the office. This was at about 2pm. He said he needed to prepare documents for a presentation the next day. He kept telling one of his colleagues to let him use it so he could work. The colleague kept saying he would be done in a jiffy. This guy then proceeded to start writing his ideas down, so when the computer was free, he'd just type what he needed. He was so engrossed in his work, that he didn't notice that time had taken a journey. When he looked up from his work, he saw that it was past 4pm and the dude was still on the computer. Now, the dude had finished his own work and was surfing the net. His surfboard was on a porn site showing ladies with huge breasts. He had other men sitting around him as they analyzed the size of the breasts. This wasn't 4am (as if porn is ever allowed at any time in the office) but 4pm...in the day time! The dude was busy analyzing breasts on company time, in broad daylight and when people were waiting to use the computer to work! To make matters worse, he invited other male colleagues to enjoy the moment with him. Rather than shout at the guy for wasting his time, he packed his bag and left the office. He had to go and buy his own laptop (or in his words, put a down payment) so he wouldn't have to worry about stuff like that repeating itself again. A real shame! The only positive side to this story is that he got himself a laptop. It is not unusual to see people using company assets and resources for personal gain but where that personal gain is an addiction to huge breasts, it speaks of callousness and a disregard for work ethics.

Of these stories, this might just be the worst. This one cuts across all types of companies...or almost all. More and more single ladies are having sex with their bosses just so they can forge ahead. The men are not the ones chasing after the girls anymore; it is the other way round now. Girls are seen running after their bosses, and making advances that define the word 'inappropriate'. This has been on for years but the current trend is that ladies no longer hide the fact that they are sleeping with the boss! Now, they flaunt it so much so that the boss fears to correct or critique them in public. In this dog-eat-dog era, some of these ladies even threaten their immediate superiors if they are dating men higher up the company echelon. It is really disheartening to see the brazen acts many people put up in the office!

This may all seem like balderdash to the man whose company is a stickler for rules and work ethics but these things happen! Who is to blame? The companies? The orientation units? Members of staff? Who?! All these little infractions project a bad image for the company, especially in the eyes of prospective customers or business acquaintances. Imagine a wealthy man taking his business away just because the security guard was rude to him? Or imagine that after he finally gets in, he is taken to the canteen to show him a feel of the company's hospitality and he gets assaulted by poor service or worse, waitresses coming on to him? What would have happened if any of the bosses had gone down to that office and seen a group of his staff riveted on a screen with big breasts? What would have happened if it was a customer? Little thing that may not seem to matter become huge things when they make the company lose big bucks. And when money is lost, be sure that heads will roll...and it ain't going to be that of the big boss!

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