Saturday 16 October 2021

Do not mistake me for a Nigerian

I am not your Nigerian

Sometimes, I am left frustrated by assumptions others have of me, the way elements of my expressed heritage seem to suggest I am wholly one thing to the exclusion of other aspects of my mixed identity.

In July last year, I ordered some food that was to be delivered at a certain time from a Nigerian food caterer, we conversed in Yoruba most of the time and it must have given her the impression that I had the stereotypical predilection for poor timekeeping. Nothing could be further from that presumption.

Timekeeping is a virtue

In one of our exchanges, I had to tell her, our familiar repartee should not be mistaken for me being a core Nigeria, I am nothing of the sort, I am an Englishman who just happens to be able to code-switch into Nigerian parlance with ease, but I am completely unreconstructed for the Nigerian way of doing things. On that issue of time alone, much as her food was exceedingly good, we would not be doing business ever again. Please, do not waste my time.

Then again, I find myself quite irked by another situation. This is a person not particularly enamoured of familial ties to be blackmailed into doing anything. I do what I need to do according to my own convenience and abilities dictated by my own worldview. Some might consider that harsh, but I am not here to please or pleasure anyone about the things I do, I just work to make the best of my expression of humanity.

Warming to growers

I have an acquaintance who I met when I was a superstar-technical-guru parachuted in to create a solution and move on. That stint for just over 4 weeks worked because the technical bud I was working with was knowledgeable enough to pick up what I was doing and run with it.

Obviously, it was nice to see a Nigerian trying to find his feet in the technical team, and so we kept in touch. This young man has now landed a role he is totally incapable of handling, he is out of his depth and apparently winging it with keeping things going but without the wherewithal to do anything new to implement or improve the service that is desperately in need of both the expertise and audacity to introduce change.

Disappointing engagements sour interest

Months ago, I was invited to have a look at the environment and in the process, it became and has become more evident that not only does he not know what to do, he cannot even follow detailed instructions to achieve what he needs done.

How am I supposed to be able to help this situation without going back to the fundamentals even as the prospect shows no agility, ability, aptitude, or capability of the growth necessary to give him control of his brief?

I do not work weekends, not if I can help it, in all my contracting life of over 25 years, I doubt I have done 20 weekend days of any work, and this is considering the rates are double or triple my usual rates. You need to set aside your weekend from work except where no other time can be found to do what needs doing. I have a life. Please, you have no hold on my time.

It’s my time, not yours, man

Altogether, I have probably spent 14 hours of my weekends doing stuff with this chap, the last time, I planned on just 90 minutes but on recognising what we had to do, we were still at it 6 hours on, until he had to break off to attend to some volunteer activity, priorities, I thought.

Since then, he has sought my time first to continue from where we left off and then suggesting he has progressed, which is fine, but I have had other plans and it has not been convenient for me to engage. I guess what is more annoying is the premise that he can choose the time I am to be available to help him, it is a kind of unwitting sense of unconscious entitlement that demands without consideration for the other. Please, do not abuse my time.

Things that move me

Now, I like to help, but I want to recognise that I am helpful in that the person being helped is growing and developing in the area where the help is being sought. I appreciate I have a wealth of knowledge that I also like to share with people that show the aptitude to learn, I guess that is the first part of my discomfiture.

Then, if you are asking for help, you have to tailor your request around how convenient it is for the ones you need help from, do not assume you have a call on their time as if they are waiting on your beck and call. We all have things to do and have to eke out our time for these things, even if I decide to spend the whole weekend sleeping, that is my prerogative fully dictated by me.

It is still my time

In this case, he does not ask when I can do stuff, he immediately thinks my Sunday is available, I have just decided to ignore him, and I am close to getting pissed off enough send him to Block-land. How do you teach that my apparent affinity to things Nigerian does not mean I acquiesce to the varied forms of passive-aggressive entitlement that allows the sense of kindred to expect anyone to just give in. Please, you cannot usurp my time.

I am hamstrung by my Englishness, for even finding a polite way to suggest I am unimpressed almost seems rude whichever way I might want to deliver it. He is best sent to Coventry, maybe some moderating effect can play out in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are accepted if in context are polite and hopefully without expletives and should show a name, anonymous, would not do. Thanks.