Dear Africana Woman,
I recently had the strangest encounter with someone. We had agreed to an appointment on a certain day at a certain time. On said day the person received three reminders. One via WhatsApp, another via email and the last via calendar. Which said person acknowledged. So to my surprise when the hour came up there I sat by myself. This is not an unusual occurrence. It’s normal to run late, so I check my WhatsApp to see if there is a running late message and nothing. 15 minutes in I call said person and they are surprised that I am waiting for them. But they promise to link up. Another 15 minutes pass. No explanation. In the end I decide to leave the appointment and told the person to let me know when they want to reschedule and to have a blessed day. They have not rescheduled.
Way back in a former life, I worked as a manager for different establishments. In two establishments the Directors / CEO’s would curse out their staff at the top of their voices and throw dangerous objects at their staff. In another organisation, the Director was subtler and used other people to carry out their dirty work. 90% of the time that was me. They would insult everyone in private. There was one instance where a supplier came to the office and the Director was on the phone where they decided to loudly explain how all suppliers were some animal desperately trying to exploit them. Said supplier exited the building. Days later I was told to go engage the same supplier just to have my head bitten off.
We like to think that we are a Respectful nation, dolling out honorifics in the way we speak. Ba, Bana, Bosses, Honorable… However, the under belly of our words are much more sinister, because most people have no regard for the humanity in others. The truth is we only suck up to those who we think can give us something or improve our social standing by association. To the rest of the world we look down on them and abuse them with our words, physical actions and power over their money. We like to complain that Chinese businesses are abusive to our people and yet no one is talking about how toxic our very own African owned businesses are. Just because you have given yourself a title does not give you the right to strip away the humanity of the people who choose to do life with you in the work space. Then we wonder why there is a high turnover in most companies. I’ll tell you why, you treat people like trash. Most people work with one foot in and one foot out always on the look out for another mutatu they can jump on if a space opens up. The workforce is miserable and yet they feel trapped so they don’t leave. To think we exchanged apartheid for this.
TOXIC WORK PLACES ARE KILLING PEOPLE.
How? Health problems; high blood pressure, strokes, organ failure due to exhaustion from being overworked, cancers, diabetes because of stress eating. Decline in mental health that shows up as stress, anxiety, depression. Our people are dying by a silent killer.
In the case of the missed appointment, I realised, that person never wanted to meet with me. From the onset they should have just declined my invitation. There is nothing wrong with saying, “No thank you.” That is a much better alternative than making me prepare for a meeting and them not showing up at all. I may not be a person of influence or a company with a fat check to offer. I am much more than that. I am a human. Respect my humanity first.
If you are on the receiving end of toxic behaviour, it is not your job to return the favour. You can observe what has happened. Uphold your value and worth by knowing when to disengage in a loving and peaceful way. Say this mantra the next time you find yourself in a similar situation
“It is not my job to prove to you that I AM WORTHY. Me knowing my worth is ENOUGH.” Wish them blessings and light then walk away.
On a final note, I think we need to start talking about the dis ease that is toxic work places in Africa. Stop pretending it’s foreigners that mistreat us. Our very own countrymen are worse. If we don’t talk about it, it will never get better. Speak up. You can post a comment below anonymously. Share your story. Bring to light that which is festering in the darkness.
By the way, the way you treat others reflects a deep wound within yourself. Do the work. Heal yourself.
This is where I love you and leave you for the day. Hello there. Is this your first time here? Welcome Love. I invite you to join the family by subscribing to this love letter. My Gurl, helloha, always a please to see you again. I actually wanted to ask you to get in the habit of sharing this with at least one person, every time you read. Thank you so much for taking that extra step. Africana Woman is a blog, podcast and community. Use everything babe. You can catch me on Instagram @ChulubyDesign. Finally, my wish is that you love yourself, flaws n all, and attract the life you truly desire. Day 15 completed. #30DaysWriting
Lots a Love