10th February, 2014
By John Tosin Ajiboye
Our attitudes as a nation towards work must change positively this year if we must develop and if we must actualise our vision20:2020 et al.
The lack of enthusiasm is very glaring in the attitude of many workers is very glaring in the attitude of many workers who see their jobs as dull, laborious, repetitious, tedious, irritating, risky or dangerous. The only joy some workers get out of their jobs is closing time. That was why Jim Michael, a television journalist in Louisville said that “too many workers would rather get home than get ahead”.
While some junior workers assume that things are better for high-ranking executives and others like political appointees with large salaries, on the contrary, the high-ranking executives and large salary earners also have their own fears. They are also prone to seeing work as something to be dreaded, like death or taxes.
The lackadaisical attitude toward work by both high-ranking and low-ranking workers has become a great obstacle to the development of most Third World countries because poor quality work reduces productivity and declining services cripple economic growth of any nation.
After World War II, Japan was greatly affected and devastated. Many of her buildings and people had been obliterated by atomic bombs. The United States and other nations offered help to rebuild Japan. Computer experts, agricultural specialists, scientists, teachers, business people etc. from different nations went to help Japanese reconstruct their country but with a condition. They demanded that the Japanese will work more and earn less than workers in United States and the Japanese agreed with the condition to work more and be paid less because they wanted to rebuild their country as soon as possible. Today Japan is an economic power to be reckoned with. Her might is based on economy, not military strength. Her weapon is money, just because people made the sacrifice to do all sorts of jobs in order to develop their countries and up till date, Japanese are still working, working and working hard.
In Africa, especially in Nigeria, most of us want jobs but we don’t want to work; we want the money but we don’t want to expend energy and this is one of the reasons Nigeria is not progressing. Nothing is as depressing and frustrating as having someone on a job who is not interested in working. People who want a job without the work are a detriment. These set of people are in different work force:, among the politicians, they are the type that will embezzle the money meant to develop their constituencies. Among the contractors, they are the type that will collect the money and refused to deliver the projects. Among the civil-servants, they are the type that will always stay away or come late to the office. Among the lecturers, they are the type that will demand bribe before passing their students. Among the teachers, they are thetype that will not go to school and refuse to cover the syllabus. Among the artisans, they are the type that will collect money from their customers and refuse to do their job on time. Among the business people, they the type that will import/sell substandard products at high prices. Among the students, they are the type who is always be involved in examination malpractice to pass their examinations. Among the unemployed, they are the type that will sit down at home sleeping.
These people and many not mentioned are more interested in being job keepers than workers. They are more concerned with receiving a pay cheque than in doing good work; they want success without hard work, promotion without responsibility, result without the process, and honour without work.
Too often we allow the pain and perspiration of work to hide its blessings; we assume work is a necessary evil without looking for the good it brings. We always prefer rest, relaxation and holidays to a good work, but unfortunately, all these are false assumptions because rest is only sweet after a good work.
When God created the world, He worked for six days and rested for one day (Genesis: 2:2). He also instructed us to work six days and rest for one day (Exodus 23:12). But our desire to work one day and rest six days has made us to be backward and unhappy.
In this New Year and henceforth, Nigerians and other African citizens must change their orientation about work. We must see work as a gift from God and not as a burden. We must know that work is profitable and honourable and all hard work brings profit for the workers by allowing them to meet their financial needs.
However, the reward of work is not always financial one; work reveals the hidden potentials in individual, builds self-esteem and it makes workers to be healthier. The workers who feel they are working hard and not being paid their worth should not be discouraged. They must keep working because nature has its way of rewarding the hard working workers.
The young unemployed must not just fold their hand or be sleeping at home; they must think, move around and look for something positive they can do with their lives.
Government on its part must also encourage the young unemployed people by empowering them financially and making the society favourable for the small scale industries. The working condition and remuneration of the workers must be improved to motivate the workers to put in their best and to discourage brain drain.
Workers must also stop stealing from their bosses or government. Coming late to work, taking extra long lunch hours, going home early, collecting double salaries, converting company properties to personal one etc. are all acts that are tantamount to stealing, which must stop.
A study of history reveals that all great empires were built on the sweat and blood of a labour force, whether the energy of the workers was given voluntarily or through force. The civilization and development of great nations were built on the backs of subjugate people. Therefore no matter how the workers are motivated, there must be good and hard work to achieve greatness.
Governments must stop undermining the power of workers because the power of productivity is evident in the influence of labour unions. Unions control the workers, who control productivity, and as a result, they can cripple a country, destroy an economy through industrial strike and other means. The leaders must know that they cannot run a country when people are not working because you can’t force people to work.
Governments can’t legislate obedience, nor can they force people to cooperate when they are moving in a wrong direction. Workers will rebel if they feel they are working for nothing.
Therefore it is high time we put an end to an era of “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop”.
•Ajiboye writes in from Lagos Nigeria via [email protected], +2348138966292.