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UGANDA: Are you sure that it is nepotism?

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Us, as Ugandans tend to use the word NEPOTISM callously. I think we need to know what it means. Let me give you an example why Ugandans must know this word.

When I was age 22, I worked for a company where I was a student manager for a unionized group of 60 to 70 employees. Most of them were much older than me. Maybe age 45 to 85 and they did not like a 22yr old being BOSS.  The fact that I am black and a woman was not even factored in. It was my age.

We used to have issues like who wants the best work shift. Which days. Then the finicky one of who gets promoted or gets a wage increase of both. Are you serious? All these people are working hard to keep your company alive and now you wanna sort them out and give more money or work hours depending?

So, I told the big boss that I was not gonna participate in any of that rubbish. Faced with the threat of losing my job, I had to comply with cutting hours, doing performance evaluations to determine who gets an increase or gets fired. That was the shitiest job in my life ever. EVER. This company is not even on my CV because that is how bad an experience it was.

However, we needed the money. So, I came up with a system. Well, to evaluate people. I started making notes of all the employees who were asking me “so, did you finish your assignment and hand it in?”

“Are you okay? You look like you did not sleep. Let me make you a coffee”.

“Daughter, this is only a job. Finish your education and you will never have to put up with this shit”.

“Nangi, I bought you some doughnuts on the way to work and some coffee. Here, grab a bite before you run off to your lecture. Pay attention. You don’t wanna be here when you are age 65”.

“Martha, it is very cold today but you look like you were in the office all night. Here, take my court and grab a coffee from Joane on the way to your class”.


Later that year when I had to write performance evaluations, I did not remember the best performers. I wrote the best performance reviews for the people who had noticed that as their student manager boss, I needed support. The ones who had told me that I would survive. You will be okay. The ones who had fed me when I was hungry. The ones who had noticed that I was only human working in a big corporation. The ones who fed me when I was hungry, clothed me when I was cold, consoled me when I was crying from all the pressure at work and school. The ones who asked me “how is your family back home?”

One day, I will learn to look at your numbers. Your performance as per schedule and work assigned. Until then, I remain looking at you as a HUMAN being. The love in your heart. Your kindness, patience, compassion, sharing, team work, your presence among people in need. Until then, I will look at you as only human and not statistical performance. 

I will watch you daily and how you greet your colleagues. I will watch you and how you jump in if we have an emergency and you are called upon to fill in for a fella whose parent just had a heart attack. Until then, I will watch how you behave around our colleagues if our car dies and your BMW is in top notch shape but you can drive us to a gheto to pick up my child who goes to a slum school. Until then, I will watch your humanity. You can have all the top degrees in the world and work very hard number crunching and writing for the company the best software. However, without your humanity, you are ZERO.


MLN – truly one of the worst manager ever and damn proud of it.

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: November 09, 2020 at 08:01PM

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