Toxic Workplaces

March 26, 2022


Yesterday evening, I read tons of
stories about toxic workplaces.
Many people were casting stones.
It was quite hilarious to me.
I am an employer of labour
and I know for sure that
I treat my staff members
with a lot of dignity.
Mostly because I am a believer
and I know people have intrinsic
worth but many of those crying
foul here would come to
understand what makes a toxic boss.

Many Nigerians are dishonest and eager
to take advantage of you at the
slightest opportunity. Tell a driver
to go and buy fuel in the
staff bus, he would lie that
the fuel was sold at a certain
amount per liter and even come
up with a doctored receipt. Staff
members will come up with bogus
expenditures so that they can claim
access to imprest and rob the
company blind.

I once worked with a company
where the staff members would
siphon the diesel meant for the
generator in the name of
“The company has money and
would buy another one”.
The company was at Anthony village
and the manager was a lady.
Whenever the founder of the
company sends a certain amount
for running the office, she would
keep the money and make us
put off the generator so that
she can pocket the money meant
for fuel and other conveniences.

Have you ever been taken for
a ride by deceitful staff members?
Someone you trusted to do his
or her job who sleeps at home
until 10am while claiming he or
she went for a meeting with
a client? He or she would
then come to the office at
noon pretending to have had
a meeting on your behalf and
then claim some money out of
the imprest for transport from
the accounts department.

I know staff members who are incompetent
but yet are determined
to take advantage of you to the
point where you can’t simply
fire them. Some of them would
collect back-to-back loans from the
company so that if you sack
them you will lose money!
One once told me, I am owing
this company so much money
that if I get the sack,
it will be a relief”.

I am an employer of labour
and I do not have a toxic
workspace, but sometimes I would
see how unmotivated some staff
members are and I would wish I
have the stomach to put them
through the grill and smoke them
up a little.
(I am being honest here)
I never did have the stomach
for it and all I ended
up doing was sacking such
a staff member. If I could
have helped them by being
tougher I would have preferred it
but you know how this twitter street is.
You may get through thinking
you’re trying to shape up a
young man who is laid back
and end up being crucified on
Twitter for it because such a
fellow would play the victim card.
I don’t want drama so once
I have spoken to you
once or twice and I don’t see
a change, I will tell the admin
to let such a fellow go.

I have worked with toxic bosses.
Jide Adediran of Core Media
and Core TV is an example
of someone whose conscience
has been seared with iron.
Till today he is owing me
eight months’ salary and feels
no remorse about it.
He would get me to work
from 6 am till 11 pm at his
TV station and despite the
fact that we had a rota,
he would insist, I must stay
and work without rest for months.
I got insulted so much.
I had to start reminding myself
that he went to the Polytechnic Ibadan
and I went to Bowen University,
he may have the money at
the time but I am eternally
smarter than he could ever be.
It turned out to be true.
I went home after 17 days
back-to- back 24 hours duty and
he called me on the phone telling
me to stay in that house and
never return.
I said “Yes sir”
He expected me to come
and beg but I was fed up.
I moved on and thank God I did
I have deliberately avoided him
since then because I didn’t want
to ever see his face or talk to him
or have to smile and pretend
I was not treated like a slave
while working for him. But as
I came to understand the mindset
of many people in employment.
I understood why many resulted to
the high handed attitude they have.
We cannot treat these issues in
isolation and pretend it is the fault
of the bosses alone.

This morning, I got a call
from a lady who is employed
with a company that was paying her
350,000 Naira a month and treating
her quite decently. She said
“I am planning a trip to the Maldives,
my boss trusts me and wouldn’t
know any better”. I had to
remind her that when she signed
the letter of employment,
she gave up a certain amount
of time of her day to the company
paying her for her services and
she ought not to cheat that
company because her boss is
a good man. She told me to
“leave that thing”
I have left it.
I am not defending toxic bosses
here. I won’t pretend that I didn’t
wish I could have the stomach
to be a little toxic too.

My driver drove one-way 13 days ago,
I was asleep in the car and
interceded for him. They let him
off with a warning. Two days
later, I was not in the car and
he took one way again.
This time car was seized
and I had to pay the full fine
to get it released. Do you
know what he said?
“Man of God, I am sorry.
I have been unhappy
too since I got caught,
please forgive me”
What option do I have then
but to be like Jesus?

On the 18th of March, he drove
my car into a pillar at the parking
lot of a building and I had to
pay 205,000 Naira for repairs.
Again he apologized and is eagerly
expecting salary in three days
(Some of you will start insulting
me now, calling me a weakling,
while some will say you’re a
patient man”. I know where the
shoe is pinching me. I am
interviewing another driver who will
replace him in a few days
but then he can come here
and start writing “TOXIC boss”
and I will get a good pounding
from tweeps who only heard
one side of the story.
Can I tell you that Nigerian workers
take advantage of nice bosses in a way
they wouldn’t do for “wicked” bosses?

I was a staff in an organization
some years ago and I saw
how things ran efficiently under
a toxic boss and how everything
became slack under an empathetic boss
who took over from the toxic boss.
We all claim to hate an iron
hand but it seems we respond
to it better than a soft hand.
The staff members of that organization
would usually say “I know Pastor
so and so was tough but
people did their job while
he was here but since this
other Pastor such and such took over
everything had been run aground”

I worked with two directors of News
as a journalist, one was toxic
and he produced the news at 10 pm
sharp with all hands on deck.
He got the sack because members
of staff protested. The other was
very nice and the news was
always produced later than ten.
The MD had to sack the
emphatic director after three months
for incompetence and redeployed the
toxic man who produced results.
We all need to reorient ourselves
and develop a better attitude to work.
We sign resumption register for each
other, lie to cover each other,
and cheat our organization as a
unit daily. We then get angry
that a boss wouldn’t have it
or had anticipated it and gave
us a tough time achieving our aim.
I will get skinned for this
but I’d be fine
I work for no one and
I am blessed.
Someone needs to balance
the narrative and ensure
We all do our part.


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