What is it exactly about our system that takes dignity off these jobs? Many of us tend to have little or no respect for people who do these types of jobs.
According to Wikipedia “dignity of labour is the philosophy that all types of jobs are respected equally, and no occupation is considered superior and none of the jobs should be discriminated on any basis.”
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In the West, people are proud to tell you what exactly they do for a living. From bartender, waiter, shopkeeper, security guard, dog walker, plumber, childminder, caregiver, technician, bricklayer, vendor, mason, housekeeper, mortician, driver, mechanic, cleaner and so on.
They do these jobs all their lives and are able to cater for their families and also live decently. Most Nigerians once they travel out, make a decent living as well doing these jobs, they support and establish themselves and their families in Nigeria.
What is it exactly about our system that takes dignity off these jobs? For a fact, many of us tend to have little or no respect whatsoever for people who do these types of jobs. It’s a mentality, unfortunately. And the worst thing about these jobs in this part of the world is that the pay is nothing to write home about.
You disrespect them by not sticking to their job description and paying them on time. You employ a driver, agree on N20,000 monthly pay, yet this driver does your laundry, sweeps and keeps your compound clean, goes to the market, helps in the kitchen most times.
He does everything and anything you ask of him and all he gets paid is the same N20, 000 agreed on for driving alone. All other efforts are for free. Many people over work their workers and under pay them.
And if they ever remind you that the extra errands is not part of their job description, you insult and accuse them of insubordination and how they will never go further in life because they are not humble. You blackmail them into silence or even threaten to sack them for asking you to honor your terms of agreement.
Many employers have lost touch with humanity. They pay their employees salary a week or more after the due date. They will never pay their workers on their pay day, and if the employee politely reminds the employer of their unpaid wages because they have pressing need for it, he or she gets yelled at and gets walked out.
It is sad that some of these employees are constantly reminded it is a privilege to even have a job and should show gratitude in return for delayed payment. They are reminded that government owes her workers salary and they should be grateful that they will be paid.
Some employers owe their staff backlog of unpaid salaries. These employees become very broke, frustrated and on their own stop working. These bosses are so used to not paying their staff until they voluntarily resign, forfeiting their unpaid salaries.
The employer recruits their replacements immediately and same circle of not paying continue to play out. They keep employing workers who work for free without pay year in, year out.
This is the evil some people perpetrate against their fellow human beings. These employers shut their workers up if they eventually insist on getting their unpaid salaries paid before quitting. We have seen employers engage the services of thugs and even police men to brutalize and throw such employees out for asking for what is due to them.
A lot of graduates have resorted to engaging in manual labour, doing menial jobs to keep body and soul together due to lack of well paying jobs.
You engage people’s services to mow your lawn, fetch water, do your laundry, clean your house etc at a paltry sum. But once they are done and it is pay time, you tell them to go and come back later or the next day, and from then, you shut your doors and never answer their calls. They come knocking, and kept waiting for hours to be paid. You dodge them until they are frustrated. And you feel you are smart. How do you even sleep at night?
You look down on them. You take them for granted and play on their intelligence because they don’t have white collar jobs. You make them feel less than you because they chose to do any honest job they can lay their hands on until something better comes.
There’s nothing dignifying about a jobless man or woman. The true purpose of man on earth is to be productive and the day he stops been productive, he begins to die slowly.
When a man or woman is without job, depression and poverty kicks in. And you know an idle mind is up to no good.
Nigerian employers; don’t raise your voice or call your employees names easily. It is important you learn to communicate what they did wrong in a manner which does not hurt their self-esteem or demean them.
Treat them with respect, consideration and kindness like you would like to be treated. Stop treating your employees poorly. Stop neglecting their feelings. Pay them their salaries as at when due. Don’t owe them because you feel they are powerless.
As parents, teach your children and visitors that your staff is not to be ordered around, they need to be polite and respectful when communicating to them. Respect every man’s job, no one making an honest and respectful living should be seen or treated as an inferior individual.