Posted on March 17, 2016

Unless you are above the age of 40 with no kids nor responsibility, and greatest desire is to in the year 2016 drive a Peugeot 504 or 505 (I don’t believe they still produce those), you had better wake up from the slumber of the misdirected civil servant.

Having said that, most of our parents if you are in your mid-twenties to mid-thirties were public servants and it may surprise you to know that they were in actual fact more hard working than most of the 20somes of our day. It’s really not a lie when they say “In my day, I was diligent in carrying out my duties and you kids are so lazy”. What is however ironic about that statement is that our world is more complex and dynamic than our folks will ever truly understand and we are ever so busy; the gloomy part though is that it is all displacement with no direction. Summary? Whilst work done may not equal zero, it holds no strategy! Effort simply will never equal achievement. Many times it can take you closer, but the labourer probably works the hardest so while diligence is key, it needs to be strategically directed.


Though displacement is a shorter distance, what if, just what if that road is the high ground surrounded by valleys? Little Jerry would be dead trailing that perfect blue line in about 1 second!

And then there’s the other half who would rather not even work, and are instead potentially waiting on that big break, with a smaller percentage networking with rich friends in places they cannot afford!… There’s a strategy in the latter, however queer, but we will leave that for another day.

Who invariably is the classical employee or who is (s)he supposed to be? Civil or public servants as you may prefer ought to be the executors of a nation’s civil power, the foundation of a nation’s competitiveness and their duty is to serve the country first, and not themselves. They are meant to be the bedrock of the effectiveness of a nation and its strategy, responsible for executing policies.  These are the people I term classical employees; conventional, traditional, without in this instance meaning outdated.

These species of ideal workers are however currently endangered if not almost completely extinct. Who are those that make up today’s workforce? The civil service has become a dumping ground for uninspired, unchallenged, and incredibly lazy youth! The young couples who want their wives to have more time at home for the kids and earn a living whether or not she adds any value or the individual who has an active business and wants his side hustle to be his full time career while the full time civil service job takes the backseat; these are the caliber of people that opt for and actively pursue a civil service career.  No wonder the nation has a weak and consistently weakening workforce, because it is full of the wrong kind of employees seeking a living in the civil service for all the wrong reasons. Performance Management is a much needed repositioning strategy for the Nigerian Civil service, but that’s another conversation in its entirety.

We can try to blame some of these on the state of our ministries and the seeming lack of strategy in some of their mandates and subsequent execution, or even funding, but driven people have changed jobs for far less, because companies were not meeting their promises in terms of challenge and experience. Note that there is no experience if no work is being done, it does not matter how long you have been employed at the company. What matters is work done and accomplishments whilst you were there! Driven employees will not allow an organisation to make them idle, insipid, demoralized or dysfunctional, so it all remains a function of the type of employee you are.

Unfortunately, the character flaw and complete lack of inspiration, innovativeness and ambition of today’s Type B civil servant is fast creeping into the private sector. Jobs are about earning a living, but the ‘earning’ part is lost to our lingua and understanding, all it means for many, is “show up” at work for an 8 to 5 or a 9 to 6. Value is a conversation left for staff meetings and board sessions. Our new age ‘civil servant’ types must understand that employers do not hire to keep their offices full – there are no rebates based on staff strength, on the contrary, there are several additional cost items; Workmen Compensation, Group Life, Pension, ITF, PAYE, NSITF, NHF, the list goes on – every employee is a cost item that ought to be justified by the company’s bottom line. If you are not adding value, you are a waste of the company’s resources, and though you may have gone unnoticed for a while, it will not go on forever. Someone somewhere is going to realise that you are costing more than you are worth, and such an employee is a cost an employer thinking strategically does not need and eventually will not continue to bear.

So, this call is invariably to preserve the essence of the ideal Civil Servant; devoted to a cause bigger than themselves, to spend and be spent because they believe in the work they have been hired to do and appreciate the value that the work adds to the agency, organisation and invariably the economy. Every nation’s economy is driven  by the numbers of the operating companies within its shores, so there’s a connection, a life force that defines how we all work together to ultimately achieve a common good. Sound a bit heavier than a simple career or a quest for paid employment, but if you were running your own business, you would understand that that is what it takes and you will come to expect same from everyone who endeavors to join your team.

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