By Denis Wabuyi
When Dan a Muganda was employed at the same time with Anthony, a Kikuyu he knew that he held an edge over Anthony because he is a native and could easily convince his people to buy their software and surely in the first month they did.
However as time went on he realized that his boss was not appreciative enough. Dan began getting stuck in traffic jams, losing several relatives in the village and always looked for a reason to miss work or work less. Dan also had a problem of writing reports due to his horrible English.
All this time, Anthony had taken 6 months without going back home. Not that he didn’t miss his mum or didn’t lose any acquaintances but he knew that he had to create rapport, win his boss, get clients and meet his career objectives. He would at many times go an extra mile and help do his assignments especially the monthly reports which were a big problem for Dan.
When their Congolese team leader left the company, the boss didn’t think twice but appointing Anthony who had in less than a year created a network, raised company outreach and had no excuse to meet deadlines. I won’t say much about Anthony because in 2014 he honourably resigned from his workplace to concentrate on his PR company in Uganda where he employs 3 Kenyans and 2 Ugandans.
I remember one person telling us and I quote, “In problem solving you have to start with the most controllable thing which can easily be changed. Bad writing is controllable”.
We cannot create 5 million jobs for the unemployed and underemployed young Ugandans but I am very sure that young Ugandans can seize the few opportunities available if they can take ethics seriously.
It is now those that are employed that need to set the trend by putting their heart into their service. It is high time we changed the course. I know that our culture and environment demands that we should attend funerals for friends, relatives, in laws, acquaintances and neighbors but think about the person who has to pay for the work undone.
Yes there are those days that you wake up feeling like not working but imagine if your boss woke up and felt like not paying you.
Let us work knowing that there are so many that can do what we are doing and even better than us. In this age of globalization, you’re not competing with your OB from Njeru or Buginyanya but a work enthusiast from the Highlands of Central Kenya who wants to retire at 40.
For those writing job application letters and reports in jargon and broken English, I have no kind words for you. We should differentiate between our bosses and “chips girlfriends/boyfriends”. If you hate reading but you think that there is a silver bullet to career development, well I just saw Kagina confessing this week that she signed 22 billion away without reading through a document and we are all asking whether this is a situation we have found ourselves in.
The truth that unemployment is rife should not cover the truth that we Ugandan graduates have issues with work ethics. We are truly faced with a situation where all of us are full of ourselves. It is typical of Ugandans to forge sickness, rain, traffic jam or loss of a relative to skip work and assignments.
This kind of behavior has left us on the sidelines at work that as we speak private companies would rather employ one Kenyan with one supervisor rather than employing 2 Ugandans with 3 supervisors to do the same job.
It is not because Ugandans are not competent but over time I think that we have become lazy. We have taken on so many excuses instead of rolling up our sleeves and getting to work.
This piece was inspired by Martha Leah Nangalama.
Wabuyi is an accountant and researcher. He writes the X-FILES FROM THE VILLAGE as well as business related articles. You can find his other work via a Google search.