are you really sick or have you found another job?

The following is an observation I have made….while working with fellow Nigerians.

Are you really sick or have you found another job?

this is the question I had to ask a colleague yesterday afternoon after her 2-day absence from work. The question kinda hit her negatively, as she was rather expecting me to be sympathetic, with a ‘sorry, eh yah, get well soon here and there’.

In fact, she expressed total surprise at my ‘are you resigning’ interrogation. Bringing my thoughts back home, my reason for going straight to ‘that’ point was because of observations and former/general experiences with co-workers – (direct-colleagues or not). I believe the saying is once bitten, twice shy.

The ‘usual’ these days is that after staff xyz calls in sick for one or two days, the next news is: he has resigned, and I’m like ‘I thought he was sick, I thought she was sick’. The worst part is that many times, I could have phone-called to check-up on this sick-person, and I usually would have asked after his/her welfare with an open mind, meanwhile he/she isn’t sick but yet answers the phone as if he/she just arrived from the gates of hell.

On the other end of the line, I’m so touched and I could almost feel the pain myself. ‘I’m like ‘eh, yah, sorry o, hope you’ve taken some drugs etc.,’ all the while wishing that I could be of help even at this most ‘important hour‘. Should I say I’m an over-concerned person? yes, and up till the time I begin to ask questions as if I was a blood-relative to the person I was talking too. My major wish actually is to see the person back on his/her feet and kicking. The next week, the news filtering in is that that person is ‘gone’. I’m like…. ‘resigned?’ – wasn’t he the one I spoke to last week? I spoke to him last week and he didn’t gist me of anything’.

Too much hiding in the Nigerian working environment. Everything has to be done in secret:
– when people change jobs, they resign in secret.
– when their birth-date arrives, they celebrate in secret.
– for bachelors and spinsters, everything is done in secret, or you get to hear of wedding bells at the last hour.
– do they want to travel, they travel in secret: you’ll just hear ‘she has traveled, and who was informed? nobody. T
– the only visible thing to see is pregnant women…..thank God for protruding tummies, but when she’ll give birth, it will be in secret. We saw her all heavy when she left, the next time we’ll see her is when she’s sexy again. The extreme: when ill luck comes, it comes in secret, many bear it in secret, others, they die in secret.

My question is: do you have to fall sick before finding another job? Why can’t the average Nigerian working class person break a disengagement from a job news in a happy way: ‘hey guys, I got another job, blah, blah, blah, this and that,…., throw a party where we all eat and drink etc., celebrate and take pictures, wish him/her well, and shed a few tears in the process, rather than for such to sit and plot for a way to disappear like the torn edge of a tissue paper, and then re-appear after 3-months with: so you didn’t know I wasn’t working here anymore?, I thought I told you.’

And I’m thinking: you’ve worked in about 3-organizations and you had to call in sick when you wanted to leave each for another, I think there is a problem with you.

As much as the bottom line is finding an excuse for being absent from work because something better has come, I do believe there theres nothing wrong in informing one or two people. Now that I’m so used(at least in 5-cases) to colleagues being absent for a couple of days and calling in sick, only to find out such has zapped into thin air, its kinda hard to believe the next person who says ‘I am sick’ even if such is already crawling on the floor by the time information gets to the air that such is sick. In fact, should one hear the news that a friend or colleague is dead, one might just make a joke out of it, thinking that such was another excuse for trying to quit from a present job.

Wonders shall never end.

Now, I am sick.


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One response

  1. two reasons for this 1: the religious psych of trying to ward off enemies or ill luck from stopping your success (change of job) in its track. 2: uncertainty; everyone wants to laugh last so they only announce the news when it’s been priced, sealed and delivered.

    you’re sick, I’m well again. 😉

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