8 Nigerian Women Share Their Workplace Horror Stories

April 9, 2021

Working in Nigeria is the ghetto. No shade to my boss. Last week, I asked Nigerian women to tell me the worst things they have experienced working in Nigeria. Here’s what eight of them had to say. 

workplace horror stories

Jumoke, 25 

My former boss used to gaslight me, to the extent that I began to doubt my sanity. She would call at odd hours of the night to either brainstorm or give me instructions. During general meetings, she would deny the conversations.

One time, she told us we had to incorporate one of our client’s companies to avoid paying tax. I spoke to my friend to help us with it. I communicated the charges to my boss when she called and she agreed. My friend started the process. A few days later, she asked what’s up and I told her where we were at. She denied agreeing to the amount and asked to halt the process so her lawyer who she was paying more would do it instead. I had to pay my friend with my money. I felt like I was crazy.

Kachi, 25 

I worked in a liberal space with a boss I assumed wasn’t homophobic — I didn’t know I was the token gay hire who was filling a diversity role. Whenever I tried to contribute, she would make demeaning jokes but she would always try to include me when sexual topics are being discussed. It never made sense to me that she would ignore my work input but include me in conversations about orgies. For my birthday, she got me a strap, which was the weirdest thing ever and then when I got a new job, she called my new boss to out me as a lesbian and lie about my character. 

Temi, 22

Because I am fat, they complain at my office that I don’t dress corporate enough but I wear the same type of clothes my female colleagues — button-down shirts or blouses with skirts. My male boss often calls my outfits inappropriate and questions what I eat while I am in the office. Not just him — my other colleagues as well. If I have breakfast and lunch at the office or I opt to eat a burger instead of a whole meal, they would ask me if I am not fat enough. I am legit scared of eating at work. 

Sunshine, 23

I worked for this life coach who used to make us dance every morning to ‘Better When I’m Dancin’ by Meghan Trainor every morning. She said it was supposed to get us hyped for work. I hate the idea of it because I believe that I should be hyped for work without being forced so I quit after three days. The song was on a loop in my head for weeks after I left. 

Oby, 26

The first red flag was that they interviewed me for the role of a growth manager and I got the job. In the offer letter, they were offered the position of the Director of Growth. It was strange to me. It wasn’t like I couldn’t do the job — I did something similar at my old office. It’s just that I had planned to do less work because I was tired but I still wanted to earn income. These people didn’t change the pay but gave me more work. I complained and they said when the business picks up, more people will join my team. 

In the first month, they slashed my salary by 50% due to Coronavirus — I never earned the salary of a director throughout my stay there. It was hell. We used to have zoom meetings every day till like 9 pm, even on Sundays. I was always so tired. 

One time I fell sick. I suspected it was COVID-19 so I told my boss. He expressed sympathy and connected me with his doctor. The next day, he hit me up with a task expected to be delivered before the close of business that day. That was the last straw for me. As soon as I received my salary for that month — because they were always late — I sent in my resignation letter.

Blessing, 22

I work as an On-Air Personality. Every query I have gotten is about my dressing which I find nothing wrong in but the mindset of people working in my office is archaic. 

One time, the Chief Financial Officer sent me home because I was wearing a crop top. He told me to change or not come back to work. I changed but by the time I returned to the office, it was too late to anchor a program. I try to keep a low profile but that day I heard them refer to me as a Marlian.

Adesuwa, 25

I used to work at this law firm, where a man was the principal partner and his wife was the managing partner. Around the time I got the job, the principal partner won an important prize and the managing partner sent a message to the office WhatsApp group inviting us for a party at their residence. 

When I got there, some of my colleagues were seated outside at the table with other guests. As they were about to serve my colleagues food, the managing partner ordered them to get up and help the ushers out. She asked how they could eat when her guests had not eaten. I saw my colleagues serve the other guests drinks and direct other esteemed guests to their seats. One of the associate partners came to tell us how she had been putting in work in the kitchen. She was sweating so much. I couldn’t understand it — this was supposed to be one of the top law firms in the country. I knew I couldn’t stay there for long.

Vowhero, 26

At the place I did my NYSC, there was this woman always saying I was rude and I didn’t know how to greet my elders. In my mind, I was like, will I roll on the floor for you? 

One day, I went to my boss’s office to collect a file for a client. When this woman entered the room, I greeted her. Next thing, she told me to shut up that I am very rude and have no respect. She called me a fool, an idiot with no home training. She kept following me around, calling me names. I cried that day. Later she came to apologise but I had lost the opportunity of being retained. 

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