Ghanaians in the workplace

Most days, I am at my most productive between 7am and 2pm so although it is a bitch to wake up at 4.40am I do it so that I can beat the traffic and work my but off for those 7 hours before I sit in my office and make calls, sit in the hr manager’s office and chat and walk around aimlessly around the factory until 4.30 when it’s time to pack up and go. Although my mind clocks off, I think I do better than most, my first example is Gladys. She is the girl I have been tasked to manage, and managing her is a job in itself. She exhausts me. I don’t want to think of her as lazy, I like to think she lacks direction but alas in my my battle to think the best of everyone, I think I am losing this war.

Before I unleash on Gladys I have to say there are some pretty cool people, there’s the HR manager who is lovely but then she lived in the UK for a while, she even went to my University. She is the perfect example to back my point that it is only people who have lived a substantial time outside of Ghana who can manage to walk and talk at the same time.

There’s the boss’ Personal Assistant, you have to remind her a few times to do something for you but she always has a smile and the warehouse guys who are more proactive than reactive. There is Gladys the receptionist who is very helpful and although I probably haven’t made any lifelong friends here, I can say that there are people who get me through the day.

Gladys is the sales controller. She takes the orders and sends out daily reports, which she basically extracts from the system onto an excel file and sends it out. That is basically her job. In our first meeting she whined and complained that the sales guys call her up and ask her questions which disrupt her from her daily task, I’m thinking chick, your job is to put data into a computer and press send, what else do you do.That is apart from a two hour lunch and surfing on facebook and making random calls. The sales guys had been complaing to me bitterly that when they call her up for answers she gets back to them either much later or never. My job was such to make her as well as the processes here more efficient. I can understand now why the few hard working Ghanaians prefer to do everything themselves.

On Friday I spent the whole day designing a template for her using the crap that she extracts which nobody bothers to read, plus some extra columns which may require her to pick up a phone (for which she is good at when she is chatting to friends) and find out the answers. I completed it up until Friday so all she had to do was continue from yesterday. I spent the morning on Monday going through exactly what I had done and all that was to be asked of her. Told her who she needs to speak to for what information. At 6pm however, no report. So I ask her this morning what happened. Now Gladys is one of those people who can find 1001 reasons why can’t be done. First of all, to copy and past information onto the excel sheet seems to be a bother for her. Secondly she sends her report out at 6, she says if the dispatch plan is not sent to her by 5, what should she do? Ask somebody chile, ask somebody. Then she asks if she should send the report out weekly. Why, I don’t know as I switched off from all the whining. All she has to do is add information to an already existing template which I had already started off. Everything I asked her to do she would give me a rebuffal statement telling me why it can’t be done. These are the kind of people who wonder why they get the minimal salary increment and when their bonus statement comes they cry. Sorry lovie but I don’t believe in getting something for nothing, little girl needs a serious attitude adjustment or this thing is not going to work out.

I move on now to Madam A, the marketing manager. Her first words to me were we are black, we are women, we are the only female managers (bar the HR manager), we need to stick together.

When I first joined R&C many years ago, my first meeting of P was a funny one. I remember we were all in the meeting room for something I can’t remember some kind of social breakfast bonding thing. P was talking about having to get a sitter for Hermoine. I remember looking at this stunning (black) woman a lawyer, wondering what kind of man left her to be a single parent. Two minutes later I rolled my eyes as I found out Hermoine was in fact her Siamese Cat. Then I wondered if I could ever be friends with a woman who on the face of it was lovely and well spoken but I thought she was a bit of a Bourgoise confused woman who thinks of an animal as her daughter (I am my mother’s daughter). The day I really thought of her as a friend was one day I was sitting in the office, the case workers were in open plan while the lawyers were in the office. P was going to the kitchen with her Cafeteirre and I was so down, the usual didn’t have much direction, not so friendly with my boss (now there’s a surprise) like I was in tears. P was the only person who noticed that I was not myself and took me out for a coffee and a chat. We have been the best of friends ever since. As for Hermoine, well that cat really is a human trapped in a cat’s body so not so confused, although I did have to remind her constantly when we frequented the local “everything for £1” store that in fact the items WERE £1. Love her to bits though, a sister from another mother.

With E, it was instant. She had known P for a while, and we just clicked. For E a friend of P is her friend unless shown otherwise, and our love for a coffee and a B&H outside the local eatery cemented our friendship.

These two lovely ladies are lawyers, education wise we were on par (although I like to think I exceed having a gazillion degrees and a masters…lol) but status and monetarily speaking they were my bosses. But it wasn’t about being black (by best friend is a white lady called Bev), being a woman, being a manager, it was about women who had mutual respect for each other and loved each other like sisters.

Madam A, to me sounded a bit status driven (she used the words black, women, manager about 20 times in the course of her welcome to the company monologue) and too gossipy. We haven’t managed to hit it off unfortunately. The first thing being I have deactivated my facebook account so nothing in common there. I don’t have a fondness for celebrity blogs, I don’t spend endless amount of hours watching myself on my webcam during meetings and I think that working hours should be used for just that. Work (apart from the time spent doing this). I don’t go into her office for mindless gossip, I don’t speak about the person in front of me in twi so they don’t know I am discussing them. I greet her every morning, I ask how she is but there is not much up there for me to have a decent conversation. She’s nice alright but a bit of an airhead who will shift all the work onto you if you give her a chance. We exchanged pleasantaries up until 2nd January. My boss was in a very good mood after the meeting (surprised as nobody hit target, I think with wifey out of town he found a way to relieve some stress the night before) and was gushing my praises. Told the group that I came with a wealth of experience in demand and supply planning and was even a brand manager for a short while so if anyone needed advise on any of these areas they should speak to me. I don’t think she liked the thought that somebody other than her knew anything about market (and quite a bit more than her by the looks of things), she didn’t even say goodbye that night and on the rare occasions when she comes into the office, she passes by my office without even a wave. When I do manage to catch her eye, she does that thing where you pretend you didn’t see someone and do the fake hello thing. I do same with an equally fake smile.

So on to Reuben. Health and Safety. My orientation with him took all of 5 minutes. Considering I work in the factory I was expecting a bit more than that but he handed me a leaflet and sent me on my way. There are so many health and safety violations here, only God knows what he does. Yesterday I asked one of the cleaners to wash my car. Apparently it is forbidden (although I have seen many people’s cars get washed in the carpark). Reuben took it upon himself to take the car away from the cleaner – Steven, Steven and rightly so said that I was the one who gave him charge of the car so he cannot handover the keys. What did Reuben do, sack the boy. This got me mad, first of all, it was me who asked this boy to wash the car and secondly, nobody (not even my boss who I narrated the story to this morning) knew this was a law. So there was me with HR and Reuben having it out, wasting time in my day, in the end the boy came back and Reuben got in a mood because he’s authority had been undermined. This is a perfect example of someone with too much time on his hands. It is little wonder that his boss is looking to move him to an area where he can do no harm and find someone who can actually do the job.

So to the sales guys, there’s Mubarak, short and sweet, your typical sales man who thinks he’s a loverboy. There’s one in every sales department. Sammy, the nice guy again one in every department. Then there’s Olu who I mentioned. He’s still not talking to me following the presentation incident. It is a bit of a blessing actually because he was getting a bit too familiar and calling my phone every day. Then there are the Asian boys Weeky and Arya. Weeky is cool if you need anything he is willing to help but Arya. Arya is lazy as f***. I dread having to do anything in his region as he always tries to palm me off to someone else. I ask him for information and he will give me an hour long lecture and he still hasn’t answered my question. To me he’s a sap who is enjoying the expatriate benefits while the local staff are busting their arse’s off. He is a two steps off me showing him up for the little boy he is. Apparently he has a new girl working in his team, they have never met. Who does that!!! Fortunately he has a good team but his sales figures show him up for the arse he is. For the past two months the Accra Region has been under performing, like big time, like who under performs in Accra, it’s the region with the most people and the most commercial, only a sap like Arya. But what do you expect from a guy who wakes up at 2 goes to one customer then goes back home to a whisky and coke after a long days work (?). I really hope that they send him home soon.

Least I forget, Gabby. Mr Know-it-all. Nice guy but something about him that makes me distrustful of him. He is the QA manager and as we work in the factory it is quite an important position. But yet another one who thinks he knows it all and doesn’t listen, he is also one who doesn’t feel the need to get his hands dirty when he needs to. I have one person reporting to me (and not so useful either) so I have no choice but to get my hands dirty once in a while). He on the other hand, as a side nice guy but can be frustrating at times. For example all products need to have a code generated for it. Which means someone needs to input something somewhere in the computer and somebody else will do something and a code is generated. He is part of this process and has to approve something in the system, I was trying to explain this to him but he didn’t want to hear me though, apparently things happen by magic in his world. That’s when I new that he is one of those people who I will get on great with, if I don’t ask him for anything, so I send Gladys (I think she has a soft spot for him).

Well I have gone on for over 2,000 words and need to get going, got processes to design and Glady’s arse to kick (she really is exhausting).

About efiasworld

A British Born Ghanaian navigating her way through life.
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