Editor’s Note: This publication was originally published by The African Exponent on Saturday April 4, 2020. Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes.
Have you been to a supermarket, restaurant or situation where you witnessed a disheartening brawl between staff including supervisors scolding their subordinates? Or a visitor in a home only to become a referee in what looked like an explosion of a fermented relationship?
I have observed quite a number of such unfortunate occurrences and one can attribute such anomalies to psychological and social maladjustments resulting from accumulated fatigue, stress and overwhelming demands of contemporary life among other factors. Irrespective of the reasons for such actions, some people to whom we vent our frustrations could as well be wrestling complex challenges – some of which are arguably worse.
Irrespective what we know about ‘Customer Care’, it can seldom help when our colleagues wear plastic smiles to impress customers. Progress in businesses, household harmony and professional growth largely depend on how we treat the less privileged, underpaid, and the less qualified personnel who are often ignored and sometimes treated as if they are lesser human beings.
Perhaps you agree that emotional intelligence is a social construct. Imagine this: It’s been a long and tiresome week, and finally its Friday! Perhaps worse if domestic violence pokes its ugly head! And then you decide to take a break in a nearby calm garden to re-collect your broken pieces before the last piece falls apart, and then you observe a relapsing quarrel between staff and their supervisors just seconds after you had ordered for African tea double spiced with fresh ginger and honey!
Well, we may not completely avoid rubbing shoulders or disagreeing with our colleagues, siblings, parents/guardians, etc. However, reflecting on our surrounding can support the pursuit for sustainable solutions to immediate challenges.
Irrespective of its form, we all irrefutably carry our ‘garbage’ of life and whenever possible, get tempted to offload them on unfortunately innocent people. As an unapologetic supporter of #Justice4Cleaners, a campaign I actively took part while at SOAS, University of London, I cannot stay put when I see people harassed and degraded.
The cost of progressive mentorship and dialogues can be cheaper than that of recruiting and training new staff.
I still remember calling out a supervisor in a supermarket who without asking what was going on, shouted at a staff for not helping me with a shopping trolley. The truth is, I wanted to push it myself. This was a picture-perfect moment to ‘educate’ the supervisor but also to defend the poor lad who was at the receiving end of a supervisor throwing his weight without asking basic questions.
I suppose you agree that true social capital lies in the connection with people irrespective of how they appear or what we think about them. Our greatest wealth is the network of relationships we continue to nurture. Achieving meaningful social co-existence begins with our readiness to embrace diversity, and in championing creative ways of addressing injustices – including unleashing head-on approaches depending on the situation.
Let’s promote respect for all. If there are issues to be discussed, a closed-door discussion could be more helpful – from which ‘Sorry’ and ‘Thank you’ can save the day. Above all, I implore you to reflect before you ruin your relationships and opportunities. Together we can do better! Let’s fight injustices everywhere.
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