Nigerian Bosses, Dumb Errands and He-goats.

“Oga Paul, oga say make you con help us carry the 3 he-goat wey e send me buy for market. E say make we put am for hin boot.”

I look up from the report I’m editing and frown at Ebele the cleaner in confusion.

“You say? “

She smirks at me. Over the past weeks, she has grown used to delivering absurd errands to me courtesy our regional manager, my boss.

“I say oga talk say make you con carry he-goat put for car. “

“Oga said I should come and carry his goats?”

I repeat slowly, one eyebrow raised so I am sure what I’m hearing.

She nods eagerly, still smirking.

Aunty Ebele

My coworkers snigger, some shooting me pitying glances but none able to meet my eye.

I take a deep breathe because if I don’t calm down, I’m going to lose my shit, figuratively and literally.
I look at myself; my fitted suit jacket, my well polished shoes, I smell the cologne I wore today, the one I stole from my cousin and I shake my head in disbelief.

Fine Lagos man like me carrying goat? Tufia!
This is the day I quit, I tell myself. What kind of job from hell did I get myself into? And for what? Peanuts! Well not actually peanuts, but still, you get!

I’ve only been at this job for six months, and the moment I got offered this position, I thought I was lucky. I was.
I had been job hunting for four years, taking the odd job here and there and majorly living off my parents before getting my current job.

Job hunting in this country, when you don’t ‘know anyone’ sucks the soul right out of you, it makes you question your worth, destroys your self-esteem and makes you lose whatever faith you had in both your chosen profession and Nigeria. But being jobless AND job hunting for four years would break any self-respecting man.
So, yes, I was ecstatic that I finally got something more respectable and with more money than I had made in all the years since graduating. I could contribute to my siblings’ school fees, help out with groceries every month, finally feel like a man and even make my parents a little proud.

Never mind that the job was for a management trainee role and that I spent five years studying petroleum engineering and dreaming of earning oil and gas money as soon as I graduated Uni.

Never mind that a friend’s father had to pull strings for me to get the position, one which, unfortunately for me, my boss already promised to some member of his family, who actually studied Management.

Never mind that my new boss made it his life’s goal to frustrate the living hell out of me until I quit.

Since I resumed, I had done things ranging from cleaning the boss’s office to driving him around on days his driver wasn’t available. I had had deducted pay from resuming work 15 minutes late, working overtime and on some weekends and just generally having my chains yanked.

But this goat business would take the cake.

I wave Ebele away and refresh my email. I’ve been applying for jobs since my second month here but I’m not too optimistic given my track record.

I see a mail from a company I applied to months ago and my heart skips. I’m already imagining the different colourful ways I’ll tell the boss to go screw himself and his goat as

I open the mail.

Dear Paul Zakari,
We had over a thousand applicants for the role of Product Engineer at GiantWorks ltd and your application was very compelling.
However, we are sorry to inform you…..

I sigh again, this time in defeat.

I take my suit off, roll up the sleeves of my shirt, kick off my shoes and slide my feet into the crocs I keep under my desk for humiliating situations as this.

I have some goats to deal with.

What’s your own Nigerian boss story? Please share with us in the comments below.

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