You have made it through the first week of the year people. Congratulations!!!

For many, work, school and business resumes today. I hope you took all of last week to be mentally prepared for 2017, for it’s high’s and low’s. We would all like a year of only positives but I now know that even in negatives, pure goodness can come out. It is our perspective that matters in the end. 

I am certain we have heard and received enough positive vibes to go into 2017 with, from church, from books, from TV or family and friends etc which is why all I want to discuss in this first post of 2017 is character.

We may take on 2017 with big hopes and dreams. You may land that new job and start something that’s always been in the back burner. This may be the year that you start getting recognised for your contributions. It may also be your step back and do an assessment year or stand back and take a breather year. Whatever it is, let us make sure it is a year of good character building. We don’t talk about this enough and we should.

We should also teach our children and those under us as mentees so that the cycle continues.

This year, let us not be those who talk behind people’s backs. I find it funny that people complain about back biting friends, never once admitting they are doing the same. So who are these back biters please?

Perhaps we can’t all have the best character but we can do the work to build it. It’s in very very little things that go on to become massive because we refuse to put them in check.

Be that person who holds the door and looks back to see that no one is behind before shutting it.

Be polite. Nigeria is tough, Africa is tough, everywhere is tough please. Don’t let the things that should come easy be a source of more frustration for others. Greet if you want to greet. Stop all that “she should greet me first” behaviour, it is childish.

People are people. Whether they are your staff of superiors. Treat everyone with respect and dignity.

Don’t take your work lightly, even if you work for someone, do the work you are paid to do well. Don’t be the one found gathered with other staff during lunch time to abuse your boss. My God, it is horrible behaviour. How do people not see this?

Character can not be zero this new year please. Let’s do a check, because I’ve observed it’s always other people being badly behaved, never us.

You complain about insulting customer service, bad road users, rude receptionists, yet, you are the one calling someone’s mother a pig on social media. Calling girl’s you have never met ashewo, being rude to teacher’s because your father is a senior military man.

If you are Christian, you would know it says somewhere in Proverbs that a good name is better than great riches.

Make all the money, smash all your goals this new year but it will amount to nothing if your character is horrible.

Many people are good at what they do. Incredible lawyer’s, smart Engineer’s, talented actors but have absolutely no character. You always arrive late to set, you flunk all rules of your office because you know they will always need you, you use people’s stuff without permission then have the audacity to call them ‘overdo’ when they react.

We must put all of these in check.

I see many people sleeping, eating and the funniest, reading their Bible during company time. Many people have tried to use their christianity to justify this because perhaps Bible reading is a holy act that God will be happy about and oh, God is bigger than any boss anyway, as though religion will pay you your salary at the end of the month. As if the 9-5 contract you signed has random 15-20 minutes of prayer and Bible study written in it. It is bad behaviour, please get to work. Stop sneaking out for mid week service either, except you agree that all the hours you take off can be removed from your salary or you pay back with the hours on other days. If you have to sneak, isn’t that obvious already that you are doing what you shouldn’t be doing? Stop using religion to cover up your bad behaviour.

Eat at the stipulated time and place for meals. “Because I was hungry” is not a good enough reason for eating when a client is before you. Don’t be the one sleeping either. This isn’t even debatable. Get up, take a walk, splash water on your face, drink coffee, go to your car and nap instead during your break time, do what you have to do, but you cannot sleep at your desk, No. Except you are really ill, in which case you call in sick and don’t show up at all.

Stop using company telephone to call your family in America or company stationery for your own personal work. I know a few jobs that give you a 24/7 driver but if that’s not the kind of job you have, then company driver is not your personal driver. Don’t make him drive you to the market using company fuel.

Don’t steal your boss’ clients by stylishly telling them you can do the same business for half the price while still being paid by them. That’s evil.

I have observed that my friend’s in Europe hardly take calls during the day because they are at work. They tell you to text or email them. They don’t call during the day either because they expect you are busy with work. They can get fired for being negligent at work. It’s different in Nigeria because anything goes. People excuse themselves from work meetings to take calls that are irrelevant. To gist about what they saw on bellanaija and see noting wrong

Many things have become normal practice over time, engrained in our brains as ok but they aren’t. We live in a “anything goes society,” completely lawless with no regard for people. We can make it stop. It may take a while but we won’t get anywhere if we don’t at least start.

Start this year by telling yourself that you will strengthen your character. You will be one whose word can be held on to. You will treat people with respect, old, young, at work, in school, at parties. You will speak to usher’s nicely and not snap your fingers at them because they are too slow at serving you food. You will not run the red light because there was no other car.

Let us not be those friends who owe money and don’t pay back, who buy stuff and don’t pay, who take friendship for granted, who waste people’s time.

And at the end of the year, let us ask ourselves if we did well and of course if we need to do better. As far as I know, there will always be room to do better.

Happy New Year dear readers.

I hope the year doesn’t dash our many hopes. If it does, I hope we remember that spring time always comes.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. bankepoca says:

    100% agree!! Guilty of company stationery and telephone sha 😳

  2. Bimpe says:

    Tope, I completely agree!!! Nigerians are so religious yet so badly behaved or how else do we account for the lawlessness and unruly behaviour across Nigeria. If you must pray and read your Bible at work, please do those during your break time! You are paid for your services and not for the misuse and ill-use of Company time and resources. To be honest Tope, we all seriously need overhaul with respect to our individual and collective character traits – especially on work ethics, use of public facilities and resources, respect for people, politeness, gender bias, dignity of human beings etc.

    However, I do not think taking a 2-minute call from mum, neighbour or brother will cause any company any harm (especially for folks like us that work long hours) because it may just be urgent or important at that particular time except of course one have an urgent deliverable or one is in a meeting etc.

    In the end, character is the foundation of any great nation!

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