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Babafunke Bobo: Dear Boss…No More Saturday Trainings, Please!

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dreamstime_l_31074480Driving through Victoria Island early on a Saturday morning, it’s really serene and peaceful, a sharp contrast to the buzz and rowdiness experienced during the week. However, even at that early hour, a few streets still have the semblance of the weekday buzz – loads of cars parked along the road side; you may even see one or two people walking hurriedly into an office building. Most times, these are employees attending some training or office related meeting.

I am unable to put a finger on the exact time it happened, but over the years, organizations particularly Financial Institutions appear to have made a discovery on ‘maximizing’ the use of their Human Resources. The scheduling of training programs on the weekend has become very rampant. Management of these organizations appeared to have found some golden innovation, but is it really?

I often empathize with the working class in Lagos State. Lagos is a just a buzz during the week. You kick in on Monday and you just have to keep going, no slowing down till you arrive at ‘TGIF’. There are people who live in Mowe, on the outskirts of Lagos State, and commute to Victoria Island everyday of the week. To make it to Victoria Island before 8am on a weekday from Mowe, you probably need to be out of your house by 4.30am. Then after work at 7pm, you make the journey back home which may take another four hours, and this takes you to 11pm. Imagine a half/ full day Saturday training included to this already tight work schedule, in some cases even Sundays are not spared.

We are a society screaming for change and the change we seek to see needs to start from our family units. It is impossible for an individual to have a life (spend time on personal development, hobbies or social life); how much more effectively parent and raise the next generation on such a schedule.

So Dear Boss…can we limit the Saturday trainings/ meetings to the barest minimum? This may not appear value-adding but it actually is to the organization and even the nation as a whole; here are a few reasons:

  • You’ll have a healthier work force and also contribute to improving the life expectancy of Nigerians
  • You’ll free up parents to imbibe character in their wards so that the next generation can impact our nation positively
  • Your employees will be more motivated to work efficiently during the time they are at work once it doesn’t seem like they spend their whole time at the office

Let’s play Oliver Twist and also add: can we also work towards making the 8 – 5pm in black and white a reality?

Please share your thoughts. Do bosses really have no other options given our challenging environment? Or do you have suggestions on how to leave the weekends free of work activity?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Babs is a career woman living in Lagos. In the little time not sucked up by work, family is priority and everything else gets squeezed in. From time to time she makes notes on her thoughts, observations and that other ‘voice of wisdom’ that sounds in her head.

30 Comments

  1. tess

    January 21, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I agree with you 100%. I work on Saturdays and until now,i don’t see the reason why.

  2. Chyla

    January 21, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Seriously this is getting too much, no more time to even hang out with Boo, cos thats the only day available already allocated to boo, How person go take marry na ?

  3. sheer wickedness

    January 21, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Just sheer wickedness.

    Even when the bosses are not the ones paying your salary from their pocket, they want you to stay beyond the closing time and work late into the night. Work starts when it is almost closing time. (90% female bosses)

  4. prince

    January 21, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Well, I live in Abuja and its not the government that’s paying my bills, I work with a private organization and we work on Saturdays, 9am-2pm. weekdays 8am – 5pm
    I think those that should be answering are those that are not use to working on Saturdays and Abuja is not as busy as Lagos, where I live to my office takes me maximum with traffic lights and the little stops 20minutes. I think Abuja residents will probably live longer than those in Lagos. I love Lagos though, but I cant live there. #ekoonibajeo

    • Okoye Chizoba

      January 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Hello Prince, if you don’t mind i live in Abuja too and am looking for job. my present employer want to lay me off and you know what that means in this present situation in Nigeria. please if there is any vacancy in your work place plz kind hook me up. Thank you

  5. bea

    January 21, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    THE most annoying part is when you come on Saturdays and there is nothing to do EXCEPT forming activities. ONLY for them to go and start buying some silly KFC / PIZZA for everybody.

    I recall when i first joined my current company. I met a culture of holding management reveiw meetings on Saturdays. So the first week I came for the management review meeting which lasted like an hour after travelling 3 hours from my house on a Saturday!!!!

    During the next week i observed that we had ample time to hold these meetings on Mondays or Fridays so i resolved I i will not let them co-opt me into this slave trade things.
    Since then i have only been to the office on saturday once because i knew it was worthy my while and they seem to have accepted their fate.

    which kain slavery be that!!!! in this century when civilized people even work from hom and do flexible work hours? Abeggggggg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  6. Chi

    January 21, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Saturday’s should be for weddings.

    Nigerian bosses have no regard for family time. I always feel sad when I see families with loads of money and the kids lack substance or integrity because they were raised by the television or bad friends.

    Money isn’t everything. I d rather have that work – life balance for peace of mind. To spend half of my life in Lagos traffic going to work is no life.

    It’s something one can do for a few years, make money and then move on but not permanently without damaging family life. That will be a tragedy.

  7. Africhic

    January 21, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Reason why leaving my last job was easy. Now I can do what I want with my weekends.

    • Amaka*

      January 21, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      Me too! Tell them oh! All these private business owners as if Saturdays was not enough,they carry sundays join with no salary increase,the fact they just call you up to work without being scheduled for the day is annoying-then they sweep it under as emergency…

  8. HMMMM

    January 21, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Dear Babafunke Bobo, MAY GOD BLESS YOU ABUNDANTLY FOR THIS.

    The Labour laws of this country should be reviewed and enforced. It is just too bad. Sometimes I wonder if these people even have souls. Firstly, 80% of multinationals in Nigeria pay their employees way too little compared to their counterparts in the same company in other countries.

    Secondly, if you are an employer with at least 10% of your workforce being Female, you should at least provide crèche services for those nursing, if you cannot set up a crèche in your office, please find a good crèche close to the office you can partner with at a discounted price.

    Dear Employers of Labour, please make your 9-5 a reality don’t turn 9-5 to 7-11….haba Kilode now FEAR GOD small.

    Parents need to be there to nurture their children, companies should please leave the weekends for the kids to enjoy; it is not fair to them.
    Children are now left at the mercy of nannies, family members and all sort all the time; sometimes dangerous people but the parents are so desperate they almost don’t care who they put in care of their kids.

  9. Very Concerned

    January 21, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Babafunke…you hit the nail on the head. Am often frustrated that most cannot see the detrimental effect that these crazy work hours have on the family unit. We fail to remember the society is a reflection of the family. If that breaks down, society breaks down. Lagosians will spend 12-14 hrs in the office (and traffic) to earn enough to pay obscene amounts for expensive schools for their children and in the end the kids will be speaking “broken english” because they’ve spent the entire day with the nanny/housegirl. That’s just a mild side effect…what about the abuse we hear of everyday by home staff??? its sad. Now someone will come and say its just a function of job scarcity and Lagosians will just have to “fara gba”, after all we are all here looking for greener pastures….but the sooner we start learning that our worth is not in a suit and tie or in sitting at desk, then the sooner we can make progress. I’m challenging everyone to try and find their worth and trade-able skill outside an office. Bosses…eyin culprits..stop this weekend nonsense except you’re paying overtime. Also the truth is your staff is not as productive after 5pm…fyi…they’re probably on bellanaija by that time…so stop wasting your gen and send them home…lol…Am also challenging family to help in this matter. Grandmas, Aunties, Sisters…try to assist the young working mums in this debacle where you have free time. Gov. Ambode, you too i challenge you….try to create lasting solutions to this traffic situation. I’m ready for alternate plate numbers on different days!!! Lets stop complaining and start doing. Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing a working mother, baby seat in the back of her car…”fara gba-ing” Lekki- Ajah traffic at 9 or 10pm. Its not normal. We shouldn’t make it normal !!!!!

  10. Chi!

    January 21, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    U’re so on point my sister, i feel u. exactly d reason why I left my last job, in my present job my heartless boss wanted to start dat n I fought for my right. May God hear lagosians cry one day.

  11. demashi

    January 21, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    It all boils down to the parochial, outmoded manner most employers and superiors in the work-place – especially the Banking Industry think. When I joined the Industry over a decade ago, weekend trainings was the modus operandi and interestingly enough, we all enjoyed it. There were free lunches, overtime for some staff levels and a general feel good factor. However, as the years progressed, it started becoming a bore and with highsight was counterproductive to the most of us. After a while, I’d just go AWOL or tune-off during some of this training, needless to say my progression was slightly affected coupled with the fact that I wasn’t a good ass-kisser (the org also had a strong tribal bias). The irony is that the bank in this case was among the distressed banks a couple of years after – talk about ineffective trainings.

    After I got married and we started having kids, I knew this late nights and weekend trainings was not the kind of lifestyle I desired. Luckily I landed a job in a financial institution with an international affiliation and guess what? – they conduct trainings on weekdays. Any training is done during work hours – which is the British model – because it’s part of your job. Your job will go on if you are not there for a few days, so companies should learn how to structure trainings within a work-week except for structured strategy meetings or exceptional cases where a weekend meet cannot be avoided. There are some things more important than money, which is why it be hard for another organisation to price me out of here. I can take my sons to their karate/football on saturday mornings, go play football, check on mum/dad/relatives, things I missed out over a 2 year period in “the other organisation”. As a matter of fact to be allowed access to the office building on weekend requires high level approvals, so we’d all just stay home with our families, friends, church members, sidechicks etc which makes a whole lot of sense.

    • Amaka*

      January 21, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      Seriously demashi,any vacancy????
      @BN,we need job seekers forum. its that bad, think about it.

  12. Chyla

    January 21, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    @ demashi please you guys have vacancy there ? 🙁

  13. Enny**

    January 21, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    omg you just brought tears to my eyes with this piece. like i didnt know my job sucks already! lol. working monday through sunday and back again, i dont even know the difference between friday and wednesday anymore. msheew. let them not worry, i shall soon arrive lol

  14. demashi

    January 21, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Sorry, no vacancies at this point; the economy is in a transition. Not saying my job is a walk in the park but their HR policies encourage a healthy work-life balance. At the risk of being chauvinistic, it’s good for working mothers and fathers too! Let me pack my bags and go home jare!

  15. Honeycrown

    January 21, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    I love this article and I can somewhat relate from past experience. My last job was attractive; personal office, gen gen title and pay (it was my highest pay) but it was the worst job ever! My boss was a psycho! She made sure we all became her bitches! Anytime we had any system enhancement, she would implement weekend work “so we can train and catch up with some deadlines” before we knew it, weekend work became permanent. We could even work remotely but she refused. We had to come in for at least 4 hours. I was there for about a year and half and it was hell!!! I had to quit the job because it was affecting my personal life and I was always having anxiety attacks. It took about 3 months to get my present job where I sit in a cubicle with a normal title, half the responsibility but more innovative and I still make about the same. I’ve learnt so much from my peers and there’s always room to grow because it’s a new dept. in the org but we play a key role. At least 2x a week, we get free food. Always meeting somewhere to eat every other month or do some kind of activity to build team morale. This job has boosted my confidence in every way. I even pray for my boss and organization constantly. I give 101% of myself to the job because they have been too good to me. And oh, did I mention my team is made up of 8 guys and 2 females. Guys are the best to work with anyday. The chic is the same age as me and cool to work with. Bottom line to my epistle, work life balance is key and many employers need to learn to take care of their employees. This way, they will give back to the organization.

  16. Aleesha

    January 21, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Demashi I jelox you oh! As I type from my desk, forming busy, since everyone else has refused to go home

    • faxie

      January 22, 2016 at 11:54 am

      loool @Aleesha!! this is me everyday.. forming busy at past 5pm… i naturally cannot function at that time.

    • bayowa

      January 22, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      I remember that forming busy thing!!!! ha na wao!!! nigerians can form busy. we are all there visiting bella naija and writing comments and our bosses really think we are up to some serious assignment. hmn!! God help us.

  17. Tosin

    January 21, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    I think three days a week is more than enough, or two six-hour shifts a day. We can get our recreation back, tales by moonlight, civil society, hobbies, …
    I’m in the future. More at: upnaira.blogspot.com.ng/search?q=workweek

  18. The real D

    January 21, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    No be only Nigeria problem dey jare, even for companies that boast of work-life balance in the western world. You know why they give you that laptop and cellphone, yes because they expect you to work from home. The thing is yes maybe some get to be with their kids but are we actually present??? not physically but mentally and emotionally as well, One of the jobs I held in the past I had worked 6:30am-3:30pm. 3:30pm I am shutting down and walking. When i was thrust into a position where the past occupant constantly formed “busyness” and a laptop was forced on my being (prior to this, i had fought tooth and nail not to have one) I was told not only would I have to work from home on weekends and after hours, but my manager made it mandatory that i worked an extra hour each day(salaried position so no overtime pay). All I asked of her was that we revisit this conversation after a month just to see how things were going in general. For 2 weeks i completed the work expected of me and then some before 3pm and everyday i went to tell my then manager I am done and I was heading home by the end of week 2, she told me you can stick to your 6:30am-3:30pm. Nevertheless, when we had a project where we had to baby sit a machine overnight in my department although this was not related to my work, I was the first one to raise my hand and volunteer.
    My point is I did not argue when i was asked to work more hours, i proved that i did not need extra hours to complete the work load and work got done better and faster than my predecessor. Secondly, i also showed that i am not against working long hours should the NEED arise. Key being a need not a want or just to form “I am working” naaaah!!!!! Where there days i open laptop at home? Yes but they were few. I know all Nigerian bosses may not be open to this but maybe if we show these “bosses” that time = $$$, i.e to have effective employees they need to time to rest and rejuvenate but we can still get the job done right and in a timely manner then maybe some may see sense.
    What amazes me the most though is how we cannot see that this is a cycle, the ones that complain about it when they work for others are the same ones that turn around and do the same when they become entrepreneurs. So who we for blame? I have said it before and I will say it again “We are the change we seek”. In a bid to form “busyness” we are forgetting what’s important; our homes, friends and family.

  19. Bee

    January 21, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    You know what,it all boils down to our employment standards/labour laws….if we have any. It has to be functional and state clearly what is considered overtime. If I am coming to work on weekends…. be ready to pay me overtime rates since it is outside my regular working hours. Employees need to be treated rightly.

  20. Daisy

    January 21, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Never been to Nigeria but all these comments made me realize one thing,Nigerian bosses are one and the same everywhere. I used to work for a Nigerian bank in Accra,Ghana. The worst 5 years of my life! That job made an entrepreneur out of me by force as I swore never to work for anyone again. They liked to be worshipped,ass kissed before what’s due is given to you and those silly Saturday trainings and MPRs. Grrrrr! I always celebrate like crazy on my resignation anniversary! Left that hell hole in 2012 and I’ve never looked back! I actually feel sorry anytime I come across bankers especially those from Nigerian owned. Life is too short to be this miserable because you want to make a decent living. I’m my own boss now!

  21. Swizzey

    January 22, 2016 at 12:56 am

    “World class standards”, “Top-notch work environment” “Excellent work life balance”…just to mention a few of the organisational brainwashing lingo B.S being fed to new employees on a daily basis whom after a while feel no different from slaves. Whether we like it or not, the average employer wants to maximize profits, scheduling training on weekdays will eat into his/her profit margin,so the next best solution is to schedule it on a weekend. Just to show you how caring his/her capitalist profit-driven heart is. I will never ever compromise, my health and sanity, so you, your mission and vision can go and find another “yes ma/yes sir” drone to lord over. For those of you whose companies make you come to work everyday, let me leave you with this quote
    “You show me a capitalist, and i’ll show you a bloodsucker”
    – Malcom X

    • Tosin

      January 22, 2016 at 8:43 am

      no be only fine girl dey do karishika!

      just completing your Malcolm X rhyme 🙂

  22. Adaeze Writes

    January 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Hmmm…when my former boss said, ‘Saturday work was a must’ , I politely declined.! And I didn’t care if they slashed my salary, so while others trudged to work on Saturdays, I slept at home, making up for my ‘supposed Saturday work’ with working my ass off on weekdays. Saturdays and Sundays are like my freest days ever! What happens to my waking up at 9am and sleeping again at twelve noon after having breakfast and waking up four hours later to watch TV and surf the internet. I can’t die abeg! Thank God it’s all in the past now.

    For thrilling stories, visit adaezewrites.com

  23. bankworker

    January 24, 2016 at 6:32 am

    I CONCUR!!!

  24. TLR

    February 26, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    It starts with us. When we who are commenting on this post become BOSSES, I pray and hope we will remember this post and treat our subordinates well.

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