Time Robbers, Nigerian Entrepreneurs, and the Economy


‘Do not waste time dreaming of great faraway opportunities; do the best you can where you are. Open your petals of power and beauty and fling out the fragrance of your life in the place that has been assigned to you’ -Orison Swett Marden


I was a guest speaker a few months ago at a UN general Assembly Side event organized by NYPF in New York. Other speakers include Prof Pat Utomi, Former CBN Deputy Governor just to mention a few speaker. Before my session, the Governor of Niger State shared a story of his frustration in his first political appointment as a governor. He resumed office 8a.m that faithful day and his own PA attached to his office as a commissioner resumed 9:30a.m, after 1 year, He resigned from being a commissioner because coming from the private sector he couldn’t comprehend the level of time wastage in the public sector.

However, the reality is that the average work time of the Nigerian employee is 4-6 hours while in developed country it is 8-12 hours. That’s why some have 2-3 jobs. Even the 4-6hours is cut by half in productivity rating as the Bad road and traffic saps away all the creative juice from an average worker.

Notwithstanding, let’s go into the core matter of today which is how employees steal their employers time…

You work in a place and use half of the time doing external jobs neglecting that of your employer. Stealing is stealing and it doesn’t matter what type it is. If you have a deal to be getting salary and work 8am-6pm, no other assignment aside that of your employer should come up.

What are the ways employees steal time?

1) Phone Calls.

I was in Houston a few months ago and I called a friend and he hurriedly replied that he’s at work and his supervisor mustn’t see him pick his calls. In Nigeria, even in front of your MD, you pick none business related calls including the one to your boyfriend and girlfriends. Hmmm! And we expect to be productive collectively when the average employees’ time is used making calls as it’s reflected in the 2014 statistics that 499 billion Naira is being spent monthly by Nigerians on recharge cards; month end, we frown at our employer for not paying our salary. Where will he get money to pay? The casual calls of the employee or the telemarketing calls? The Same employee will hardly convert when he or she does telemarketing.


2) Religious Programs, Particularly Church programs

My Mentor once shared how his pastoral colleague lost his ministry due to early morning 8a.m prayers, many of his members stopped reporting to work early till they were sacked, got broke and eventually left the church. 8a.m prayers are for the unemployed or business men or women whose business permit! Wisdom is profitable to direct.

God cannot and will not answer the time you stole from your employer to pray in the church except you got your employer’s permission to do so.

3) Business on the Side.

My GM queries many of our staff and interns on this. No one is forcing you to work here, the terms are clear. If you aren’t comfortable with your pay, quit and start your business and see how easy it is but don’t sow evil seeds into your businesses.

Four types of individuals in this world:

1 and 2 are The Employees and the Self-Employed; 95% of the world’s population is in this category but only 5% become wealthy; followed by the Business owner and The Investor of which only 5% do this and 95% of the global money is in their hands.

The ultimate goal of every self-employed person is to build a system that brings income with or without you and if you soil that with the greed of cheating your employer, one day, you will reap the same in multiple folds.

What I hereby advise employers who want to do side business is to automate it such that it only takes 2 hours after work to attend to mails and support issues, the Internet helps with this but don’t use your boss internet to do another business neither should you use office hours.


4) Absence from work.

In developed world where people earn per hour, sickness isn’t a reason for you to get paid for not being at work. In fact, if you don’t resume on time after being sick, you can get the job back and neither will you be paid for the days you were absent.

Here in Nigeria, employees disappear for two days and SWITCH off their phones only to return 2 days later and expect the HR to be a witch or wizard who should have known he or she was sick and people even talk with confidence about it.

The truth is, such a person, the day he starts his business, he or she will never take anyone doing same. Some even lie that they are sick to go for another job interview. Haba! And we claim we are the most religious country in the world. Where is the fear of God?

Let’s stop here for today. It’s bitter truth but, it is the truth.

Handle your boss’s business as your own and see how God will lift you up!

Have a productive day ahead without stealing anyone’s time.


Stephen Akintayo

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