If you have worked all your life in private companies and you happen to run into a government-run facility, the discomfort that comes with the disparity between both will conspicuously run through your veins. Like a jungle without rules, most people do what they want in the latter. They give no hoot about customer service and don’t care if the company runs at a loss or not. After all, it belongs to the government!
Sometimes, the freedom that comes with working as a civil servant is what makes others find there as their comfort zone. They have no monthly targets to attain and even when they do, they are at liberty not to. Everyone is somewhat their own boss. Many use business hours for their personal business. They go to and leave work at will because no one can sack them after all. They call it job security.
Many want a Ghana that looks like an America but they forget that what makes a nation is attitude, especially our attitude towards work. They want to be paid fat salaries with juicy conditions of service but they easily forget that their ‘lean’ attitude towards work is the only devil sitting on that salary.
If you have had a taste of the services provided by most public institutions, you would come to the sad conclusion that mediocrity is a deity in such places. From schools to hospitals to ministries and everywhere, one thing runs through— mediocrity. What we won’t do if it were our own companies, we do because it is the government’s company!
The one-district-one-factory concept is an ingenious step towards industrialization but unfortunately, if we keep holding on to some toxic narratives and traditions, it will be a nine day wonder. The factories will collapse after a few years just as many others did previously. If we are going to expect these companies to do great things, we must be ready to eschew our toxic languages!
“It has always been done this way!”
Innovation is oftentimes a taboo in most public institutions. You go to an institution and the same bureaucracy that existed in the 60s is still being held on to jealously today… even though they may not be yielding any results. The people resist change with their all. They give no room for improvement. Their hearts are closed to new ways of making old things done easier.
If we want to see our public institutions compete with private ones, we ought to be ready to embrace change. Traditions are great but they can be the only reason we may never progress. Some traditions have become hurdles in our way. If they are not making us get to where we need to, we need to dismantle them immediately!
It has been always done this way but has it been progressive? Is it making us match up to the market leaders? It has always been done this way but is it the reason we are still this way!?
“We will be paid at the end of the month anyway!”
The interesting thing about being a state worker is that you are paid for your presence, not your essence. You are paid for being at the table and not what you bring to the table. Whether one contributes to the pie or not, they are paid anyway.
Many fear working in private institutions because they know they can’t survive there. They find solace in government institutions because they will be paid at the month anyway— whether the institution runs at a profit or loss at the end of that month. What some people call job security actually is the liberty to be mediocre!
This system has churned out employees who don’t care much about performance. They are not disturbed if clients are dissatisfied. They care only little if the company’s revenues take a dip. You may be paid anyway but for how long will that firm be in existence if it keeps paying for your unproductivity!? “The company is not for my father!”
Most state companies don’t live to see the next generation because of our lackadaisical attitude towards work. Our output is substandard because it is not “our father’s” company after all, forgetting that if that company collapses, we and our children will all bear the brunt.
Mind you, if it belongs to the state, it belongs to you. Take care of it as you would have taken care of your own property.
We can’t be blaming politicians for our woes when we do worse in our institutions… just because the said institution wasn’t built with our sweat and blood. We can’t be cursing our leaders if we are bad servants ourselves! I have seen people steal company assets just because it’s a state institution. I have seen many embezzle funds. I have been a witness of how civil servants have thrown maintenance and best practices to the dogs because they presume the company doesn’t belong to any family member of theirs after all. If you are waiting for a firm to belong to your family before you do what is right, there’s obviously something wrong with your conscience!
We all should remember to protect our source of livelihood; whether it is from the government or whoever. If your father couldn’t employ you but the state has, how ungrateful could you be to oversee its assets go waste!? Every decision you take today, have posterity in mind. You may be the reason they may be jobless after school!
Kobina Ansah is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing firm. His new play this 2020 is “Emergency Wedding”.