I recently encountered a flush businessman whose ideology about management, family, and life got me taking notes of how twisted people are.
This man said he doesn’t mind his male staff hanging out or having “extracurricular activities” with his female clients but he is strongly against his female staff doing the same.
He cited an episode where one of his past female staff was sent on an official assignment to a male client at a hotel. After the meeting, she reported to the office and continued her work till closing time.
After work hours, he spotted her “hanging out” with the said male client at the same hotel she had met him earlier that day. Meanwhile, before the earlier meeting, she knew nothing about this male client or had met him. So the discourse was on what action should have been taken as her boss.
My opinion was asked on the topic in question and I said because it is past work hours, I would say nothing to her upon spotting her with the male client at the hotel but instead wait till the next day and call her for a meeting to state my stand.
My stand being, as your boss it is not my primary responsibility to be all up in your personal business but it is my responsibility to ensure we don’t engage in anything in this office that will bring up an issue of conflict of interest.
So as much as I’m not in any way prying into your personal affairs, I need you to understand that your actions within and outside this office can always bounce back to us.
Be careful how you go about your personal business and please do not do anything to jeopardize the business relationship we have built with our clients over the years. You will be sanctioned if your actions bring any negative blow-off on us.
This flush businessman differs completely from my stance. He said upon spotting his female staff in that manner with any of his clients, she is automatically fired. He added that it is one of the rules of his establishment and he makes sure all his female staff agree to and sign upon employment.
He continued that such rules do not apply to his male staff because “it’s a man’s world” and they can do what they want.
I sat there in “awesome wonder” as I shuddered at what was being uttered by this man who also happens to be a learned senior colleague. I thought about how I found myself on that seat in the process of putting my media skills to use in the advancement of his establishment. Thank God for guiding and ordering my steps out of that kind of environment.
I don’t hold the perception or engage in arguments about who is better or stronger than who, regarding men or women. For me, men and women have their strengths and weaknesses that if properly channeled will bring out the best in both as humans.
No gender is greater than any, instead, we have the different unique roles we have been designed to play on earth. Our time should be spent harnessing these roles to better our society and the world at large.
So when I hear certain conversations like this, it gets me thinking of how we often miss the main point of life.
As much as I have high moral standards and principles, I also understand that everyone cannot be like me and I respect that. The most I can do is to pray and hope they see the light soon and change for good.
That I have chosen to uphold the moral values I stand for doesn’t mean I should impose them on my staff, except their immoral values are detrimental to my establishment. And even so, it shouldn’t be restricted to one gender. Everyone should be accountable for their actions, male and female alike.
People build various relationships in the course of work. I’ve seen people who met their spouses in the course of work, maybe as a colleague, a client, or even a boss. I’ve also seen staff “messing around” with their colleagues, clients, or boss. Everyone has their reasons for relating with people and this should be respected except it falls short of the rules of the establishment.
I see it as highly unnecessary and misogynistic to focus solely on punishing your female staff for what you view as “wrong” but yet pat your male staff on the back for the same “wrong” actions.
If you want to make your morals a law in your establishment, then make it a law for everyone, male and female alike.
Let’s put an end to the narrative of pushing the agenda of one gender above the other. The world is for everyone who is hungry and willing to take their place at the table.
Men or women, whoever is hungry, let them source their meal and eat with a sense of responsibility and accountability.
Men or women, everyone should be held accountable for their actions.
Rukevwe Ekewenu, Barrister, Presenter, and Filmmaker, writes from Abuja.