Nigerian employers, particularly those running small and medium-scale businesses, are mostly skinflints and slave drivers looking to milk intelligent young people dry.
Time after time, eager and hapless job seekers are enslaved, tricked into taking jobs that pay far less than the effort required. This life of accepting remuneration that isn’t commensurate with work done is sold on a platter of gold-plated deceit, cleverly concealed beneath shiny advertisements of the now-clichéd ‘vision of a brighter life’.
Open your eyes.
Below are six of the biggest lies Nigerian bosses tell new graduates to get away with paying them little (or nothing). File under ‘lessons learned’.
1. “This is an internship.”
It sounds really exciting! You buy new-ish clothes, advertise your recently attained state of employment to your friends and resume work all fired up like a petrol-sucking pepper grinder.
Wait and see.
When you finally discover that you haven’t learned anything, that you probably know a lot more than the boss and the other slaves who have been there longer than you have, and that you have been building another person’s dream at your own loss, you would have suffered for nothing, my dear ‘intern’ friend.
Of note: Long-suffering is the virtue, not sufferhead.
2. “We are restructuring, better days are ahead.”
‘Ahead’ is a relative term. It could be five hours away or five decades aaaaawaaaay from the moment. ‘Better’ is also a relative term: six thousand naira per month is better than five thousand naira per month, but then again… you get the picture.
Excuse me, what are you doing working in a company that has been ‘restructuring’ since Abacha vacated office anyway? Is it that you don’t have life goals? Oh, you do? Good. Leave now or your entire existence will be ‘restructured’ into the perfect picture of poverty while you’re waiting to arrive at ‘ahead’, that mythical land of better days.
3. “We’re grooming you for a management position.”
How?! By keeping you poor in the present, unable to afford a decent pair of shiny black shoes and shirts that actually fit?! Even Satan doesn’t ‘groom’ that way!
Besides, what management position are we even talking about? There is only one manager in that company. He is THE boss. He will NEVER retire. When he dies (and goes to Hell as he surely will), you will NOT be made manager. Instead, you will be ‘made’ UNEMPLOYED.
Allow me to coin a proverb to drive home the point: A hen that sits around all day dreaming a hawk’s dream will never lay any eggs.
4. “We consider you a partner in progress.”
This one never fails to bring tears to my eyes, tears of ridicule.
Dear friend, are you missing a lobe of your brain?! You, a fresh graduate, partnering in progress with your employer? You will be in partnership with broke-assedness while the company makes progress! ‘Partner in progress’ is code for ‘smart employee who is too dumb to know that he is being used’.
Seriously, you need to wise up about these things.
Fact: You’re too new at your job to be indispensable to your employer, so why would you be made a partner?
Of note: If you fall for this one, you probably have been lobotomised in the spirit realm. Month-long dry fast recommended.
5. “You’re like a son to me.”
When you hear this, know for sure that you’re worse off than an orphan.
What has adoption got to do with business?! Think this way: “Ma, you haven’t even known me for up to 24 hours, how can I be like a son to you?!”
Sweet words are nice, but when meat is basted with honey, lemon and spices, it is being prepared for roasting. Don’t be the turkey, my dear.
6. “You haven’t served yet.”
In response, straighten your collar and launch into the following rant:
Are you employing a skilled person or an NYSC discharge certificate?! What if my degree is irrelevant to this job?! From now on, forget that I attended university. I learnt everything I know on my own, do you still want me to work for you?!
That’s all you need to say. If it doesn’t take, move on. NYSC is a dry joke, forgive me if I don’t find it funny.
Of note: Know thyself and be confident. You’re made of more, not autographed pieces of cardboard.
7. “You’re not really qualified.”
Excuse me, why am I here again?
P.S. For reinforcement, stream truth-telling Nigerian Afrobeat artiste Lagbaja’s 2000 hit, Simple Yes Or No, below. Stay sharp.