How My Abusive Boss Made Me Quit My Job

August 17, 2020

The average woman working in Nigeria has a story or two to share about being assaulted in her workspace. The most common type of which is sexual assault. Today, we have a woman who speaks out on the physical and verbal assault she had to endure in her former workplace.

How did you get the job?

I was into freelance work and then I lost a few gigs so I was desperately in need for a consistent source of Income. In January, a friend saw a job opportunity for an administrative assistant and encouraged me to apply for the role. I did and I got it.

Boss lady. So, When did things start to go wrong?

My contract had defined roles but as time went on, I found myself doing things that didn’t concern me at all. They were giving me work that had nothing to do with the agreement in my contract. I became HR, started doing some accounting, it became outrageous when my boss brought his kids to work and asked me to babysit them.

Say what now?

He just presented them to me and said “Here are my kids, watch them. You’re young, you should be able to put them through life.” and all I could think was what the fuck does this even mean? On top of all that, I was working Saturdays and closing by 8:00 pm.

Were you getting paid for overtime?

Haha. people that were paying me 60k per month for normal salary where will I see overtime?

I hate slavery. Did you try to discuss this with your boss?

My boss would always find something that would keep me in the office. He would delay my work so I’d have to stay. I kept working even though there were no health benefits, no incentive for working, nothing. It was when my boss told me I should try and come in on a Sunday that I started plotting how to leave.

Whoa. Your boss sounds like a dick.

You have no idea. He made the workspace so toxic. Initially, it was just the fits of rage. He’d shout, then it’ll be gone. His moods were always random, he’d be light-hearted and the next second insulting someone. He was verbally and physically abusive.

Ah. Did he ever hit you?

No. But I got yelled at a lot. In fact, the first time I saw him hit someone, I didn’t even see it happen. I just heard the slap from the staffroom. It was one of the drivers and it was over something trivial.

Were you not aware of his abusive streak when you joined the team?

There was no one to tell me anything, most of the staff had either left or had been fired. I saw someone lose her job over a cold she had. From as little as the working days to things like closing times, it was all vibes. I had to discover things by myself. The one that broke me was when he threw a stone at someone and it hit his eyes. We had to take the guy to the hospital. He was just shouting the whole time, calling us names. I just carried my bag and left. Life is for the living.

I am so sorry. Has anyone taken any legal action so far?

No. They know that they’d end up spending money on legal fees and nothing will happen. Is it not Nigeria again?

Anything else you’d like to add?

Nigerians have normalised anyhowness in the workspace to the point where we take anything from our superiors. Please, if the stress is too much for you, leave. And yes, God will punish that man wherever he is now.

Eris Ekanem

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