Jobseeker’s Diary

I just learnt the correct spelling of remuneration. All these years, I’ve been confidently pronouncing it as “renumeration” and would always shake my head in disbelief when I heard people say remuneration.

I just learnt the correct spelling of remuneration. All these years, I’ve been confidently pronouncing it as “renumeration” and would always shake my head in disbelief when I heard people say remuneration.

I thought I was smarter. I still think “numeration” sounds better than muneration though. If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, it’s my fixation with C.E.Os. Not that I particularly like them, and this has a lot to do with them enjoying lavish lives while the rest of us scrap by. Sometimes, it’s not their fault since it’s usually shareholders and other “higher powers” who set their salaries, bonuses and other benefits. I’m glad investors are finally holding C.E.Os to account, unlike before when they were kind of untouchable. In this age of austerity and cutbacks, shareholders are demanding results or else you don’ t get that fat bonus at the end of the year. And that’s if they’re kind enough to let you stay on. It used to be that when a company made losses, the people at the bottom of the pyramid “
paid” for the bad business. Salaries were cut, people were fired etc. Well now even the C.E.Os are not immune to the sack. The trend hasn’t yet caught on in Africa but I’m sure it will soon.

Struggling to make it to work on time through a heavy downpour early this week got me thinking about my boss yet again. I’ve seen him ride to work in two sleek cars which must have cost a fortune. But that’s not the problem. What I don’t understand is why the company felt the need to buy him another car. I know he’s picked right at the door and dropped off every day. How then do you expect such a person to understand that you were late because of the rain? That you had to seek shelter for a while because it was just raining too heavily and the wind was threatening to “hijack” your umbrella? That you couldn’t even jump on a motor because you’d get soaked in seconds? I’m not asking the company to buy each one of us a car. All I’m asking for is a little understanding on days like those. Unless I show up late or miss work the entire month, please don’t cut my pay because it’s already small. It’s things like these that make people strike. Unfortunately, nothing much changes. Not for the first time, disgruntled workers have been sacked for daring to demand higher pay and better working conditions. I remember reading about the Kenyan airport staff who lost their jobs in April. Now, 800 doctors who have been on strike in Nigeria have been relieved of their duties.

One blogger put a spin to it. “Only in Nigeria does the Government negotiate with terrorists but fire doctors.” Think of how many people are going to suffer simply because the government isn’t willing to do something about these doctors’ demands. I read that they’ve already been replaced by junior doctors, which would be okay except for the fact that you can’t buy experience.

Where I come from, most people shun “young” doctors because everyone knows they’re still “learning.” No offense to young doctors but I too feel reassured when I walk into a clinic or hospital and the man or woman holding the stethoscope has some grey in their hair.

My closing thoughts are about Nicolas Sarkozy. Now I understand why some incumbents rig elections. The French may not have appreciated him much but Africans like myself will always appreciate his help with the Libya and Cote d’Ivoire conflicts. If only he had stayed around to to deal with Mugabe and Bashir! Oh well…

To be continued…

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