Chicken and egg situ: talking to myself?

Hmphhhh not a good start to this blog. More hurdles to jump than anticipated. Long story. Hopefully this should be the beginning of the end of my hiatus. Hopefully. So I’ve recently returned from Accra. Never disappoints! Why does it always seem more beautiful, welcoming and so often shows potential, promise for the returnee, the kwatriot outsider, visitor or holiday maker? An opportunity in every bad situation, a chance to fix things and possibly make it personally rewarding? Why? I talked of opportunities and got the look that said: “You must be mad”. Maybe I am. Or maybe I was hanging with the wrong crowd? Pessimism is the culture? Or pessimism the reality? Maybe I’ve become one of those I considered, once upon a time, lofty in thought buoyed by so called exposure. Hmmmm. Enough of that.

So it’s a fact unemployment is high among young people. And not just in Ghana. Recent protests across the continent by jobless young, skilled and unskilled, employable and unemployable massess provide the evidence. Yes, yes, political repression has also played its role. Another matter.

The jobless. Well some anecdotes.

Young people moan about being jobless. People invest to create jobs and provide where governments fail. What’s their reward?

I went by to a well frequented chain of fuel station shops on a popular street in Accra to buy cling foil. Young attendant says its not stocked. I walk past her to stare for 30 minutes at shelves. I find foil tucked away at the back. She rans to me with basket to put my prized foil in.
Once upon a time she was jobless. In work now, what value is she bringing to the employer?
Another day in a big supermarket in a Tema (Ghana’s harbour city in the capital) mall, a vendor in the electronics section says hand blenders or juicers are not items for sale. Again I do my own search and find it. You know, I was about to walk away with money that will be used to pay his salary.
Are young people in work thinking about the bigger picture of their actions/inaction? How are they developing self to maximize profits……for employers and benefits for customers? Are young workers/professionals building the work ethic needed to sustain their own growth in the workplace and hopefully, eventually their own businesses? Is it enough to protest at poor pay or lack of jobs? How are we positioning ourselves to grow and build economies/nations?
Any answers?



4 thoughts on “Chicken and egg situ: talking to myself?

  1. Apathy. The absolute bane of Ghanaian culture is apathy. We wear it well and we wear it proudly. The young workers in question have absolutely no qualms about you walking away with your money because first, they do not see it as their money to lose and secondly their salary isn’t contingent on how much sales the shop makes. After all like we say “It isn’t my father’s”. Ever wondered why our streets remain filthy but our individual houses well kept? Beyond our personal lives and our individual struggles we see nothing. Whatever rest outside the boundaries of our personal lives we have labeled “inconsequential” and “frivolous”. Since there is no “Tan-cansil Man” to check us on our individual mandates as Ghanaians we have gladly set them aside. Thus we work barest minimum expected of us and take the fullest compensation expected from our employers. There is vision that is Ghana but unfortunately most of us never heard about it or weren’t listening when it was being related. Imagine for a second we feel the same way about Ghana the way we do when the black Stars play. ☺

    1. IG: spot on!
      Sad, the disconnect between sales and wages.
      Re: “it’s not my father’s” … summarises our attitudes.
      What will make us feel about country the way we feel about national football teams?
      3 suggestions, anybody? (in Accra, Lusaka, Lilongwe etc?)

      I hesitate to mention Lagos. Rode a cab the other day, driver is Nigerian. He said for as long as the many suffering hand blisters to steady the ladder continue to see the few at the top rung plucking the mangoes for themselves, there’s nothing to stop them dashing off once in a while to nick an orange in the next unmanned farm. So, problem is leadership. Accepted. But also there’s individual responsibility. How do we make people feel that sense of ownership? Head scratch.

  2. Oh I know these stories so well. Recently went to a shop in Accra to purchase some sundries and guess what, the attendant was in an adjacent shop busy watching a local movie on the TV. Needless to say she showed no sense of urgency to assist me so I left with my cash. You’ld notice the highest attrition in sales jobs are those which are commission based !! However the worst employee culprits are those who sleep on the job. Yes , security men who sleep on the job!! Caught 2 on my camera phone and yet they’ll cry “we have no jobs!”

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