The difference between prejudice and petty politics

Since writing my blog, I have received criticism both negative and positive. I embrace both, it helps me to be a better and richer person and keeps me grounded and safe in the knowledge that I have many layers which some people will get and others will not. However, once again I must remind all the readers that this is about my journey, my opinion and my life. I get that people will not always agree with me, but in that same way I am not going to always agree with you, sometimes we just have to agree to disagree.

Nobody likes criticism, hey I am the first one to go on the defensive when I am being giving “gentle advice” on how I should behave, act, talk. The one thing I can say though is that I do go back and reflect as there is always an element of truth and things to improve.

Which is why, I must start that I am writing this article without malice. In fact, I simply want the best for this person. In this side of the world, nobody is going to tell you what they think to your face, but certain attributes you have will really piss people off and although they will be polite to your face, although they may work nights to get the job done, they will also be the first person to laugh if you were to trip and fall. Maybe also you may find another me (although I think that might be near impossible), maybe you will know how to deal with that person.

In a series of articles, one of them being “who’s the boss”, I wrote about my experience in my current occupation. To be fair, I was with my team yesterday, and it was actually a fun day, hard work, lots of walking but they are a great bunch. It is unfortunate the petty prejudices of a few are forcing me out the door but I am not going to dwell on anything. I knew it was going to happen so I am prepared for the outcome. However, a certain person took offence and told me that it would be for the best of the company if I were to just f*** off. She had been led to my article, and read out a few extracts. Obviously carefully edited to barter her point, had she taken it in the good faith that it was intended, she would see that the underlying point was that if I felt comfortable in the knowledge I was building a career but because of well discrimination basically, my agenda changed. I am not going to lie, I am overly ambitious. I have fought for everything I have through hard work and determination with little or no help from anyone, so am I wrong for wanting more for myself? Everybody has a journey, you have yours, and I have mine. Everybody has a past and God permitting have a future so why twist my words and make my actions feed into your preconceived notion of me rather than just take it at face value.

First of all, I have to say, this is not in defence but it is the truth. I don’t write what is the view of solely my view . With every article, I have spoken to people and they have felt the same way, so what I wrote here, well other people had been the same experience with this person. However mine was a double whammy due to the negativity that surrounds this person and rather than take time to actually know and understand how I work, she rather found reasons to back up someone else’s opinion.

Why do I say prejudice. On my arrival I learnt that basically I wasn’t wanted. Not because I wasn’t competent, in fact, when I was told boldly by the boss that if a certain person had his way, I would not be here. There was no mention about my job capabilities, just that due to a relationship we had, I wasn’t the right fit. If that was the case, I don’t think anyone would work with anyone, especially here in Ghana, you never know where you are going to end up or with who as your boss. I could have even have said that about my previous occupation, people were moving all the time. I have worked for my mother, my sister and my best friend throughout my career and well it’s been ok, during working hours everyone knows their place, then after we go for a curry, so I don’t actually see what the issue is, but for some reason here it was a problem and the catalyst for where I find myself today.
The definition of prejudice is: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. In law the definition is: harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgement. You see, where there is prejudice in the workplace, it is harmful. Once you have started off on the wrong foot, it is very difficult to gain your balance. Yes when you are new to a company people have varying opinions of you, but where there is pure prejudice it makes for a very uncomfortable environment for the recipient.
From what I see, this person’s prejudice sowed a seed of doubt into the boss’ mind. Every action, word said, and even words not said were scrutinized and seen negatively. First of all, I was paid on a lower scale, not because I wasn’t worthy but because of prejudice. That meant that I was spending a lot of time looking for money to get to work. The other half of the time was spent worrying about finding money, so obviously I get sick, in addition, I come to work and don’t know what lion’s den I am going to enter into. With all that though, I get on with the job, I am not expecting a pat on the back but at least acknowledge that I am getting on with the job without little fuss. Is it professional for you to keep reminding me that there is a “question mark over my head?”.
Had I known that I would be feeling that same dread myself, I probably would have shipped out or not even have come back to Ghana. It’s an awful feeling, sometimes I can feel myself shaking as I drive into the compound and then as I hear the footsteps of “the boss” I feel a terrible pain in the pit of my stomach and it just feels like there is a dark cloud hanging over my head.

After a discussion I had yesterday, I realised that the person just doesn’t get it and I don’t think they ever will. Telling me that there was a concern over me joining doesn’t feel me with joy or make me want to “prove myself”, it just makes me feel uncomfortable and makes me feel visibly sick to my gut. I would not say that this is unique to her, on this side of the world because there hasn’t been cases (apart from one that I know of, which was dismissed) of discrimination. In the mind’s eye, they have a feeling about someone, they convince themselves that it is true and then they look for evidence to prove themselves right. Unfortunately I found myself exactly in that position.

It also happened with a family member of mine. His story is quite laughable though. He gave a ride home to a lady colleague who happened to be banging the boss, so naturally the boss thought he was also banging her. It made for a very uncomfortable 3 months with the boss going so far as to look for signs of corruption (this man is probably the most honest person I know). Luckily he found himself another job before he was kicked out.
In my case, my blog gave me away. My thoughts and feelings from a totally honest piece of prose were turned around to be a sort of sordid exposé. Am I wrong to be ambitious, am I wrong to feel so uncomfortable that I look for a plan B. If I am in an environment where every little detail of mine is being scrutinized and picked on, what can I do?

I know I have an overbearing personality. I tend to lead when I should follow, so I keep quiet, I am told I am not a team player. I speak up once in a meeting and get slammed down for it, so I keep my opinions to myself so as not to offend, I am told that I am being aloof. I am a “learn as you go” type of person, so when I come across something new that’s when I will ask. The reason being, I have tons of pieces of paper where I have written notes and I have forgotten what most of them means. I am told that I am not trying to learn. So you tell me, am I being stupid or are you picking at faults?

I remember I stayed in the office one night trying to put a report together. I had asked if there was a template and I was told to ask someone else. That someone else was not in the office, so I put something together and sent it noting that I couldn’t get hold of anyone so this is what I have put together. How did she take it, as you can imagine, not very well.
The funny thing is, I came in with the notion that I had her back. Obviously if I make her look good, I will get rewarded, however less than a month later, I came across more heinous than a pantomime villain. I reached out to this lady, even apologised if I had offended her, she ignored me. So if I say I don’t think that person is a “people’s person” am I wrong, well you don’t seem to want to understand me but rather feed that discriminatory thought you have into my personality.

Well I am not perfect, I have my issues but I know that I am not being paranoid, I heard it from the horse’s mouth that there was a black mark against my name before the ink was even dry on my acceptance letter. It has been an uncomfortable place to live in ever since so forgive me for not wanting to stick around so that petty prejudice’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Me, I work on the basis of respect regardless of where you come from or where you are going. If I only meet you today or I get to know a person for a lifetime, I treat that person in the way God asked me to. I don’t send out emails which cause damage to a person, just because I feel that the person threatened my position, I don’t ignore people because I don’t feel that the person is aligned with my way of thinking. Everybody is different. I certainly wouldn’t employ or not employ a person on the basis of anything else other than whether they can do the job. However, you live and learn, some people have issues that they can’t deal with, and they blur the line between personal and professional to make it all personal. At least I know I have been totally professional, I came in with the intention to do the job and I will continue to do the job well until the day I go. Keep on feeding my actions to make your point. As long as I can go home to my bed knowing I did the best I could, I have no problem.

But it’s all good, every experience is a good experience, it enriches one life. So no regrets, I have met some great people, I have met some not so great people and I have found good material for my blog. What can I say, every cloud has a silver lining.

Since writing my blog, I have received criticism both negative and positive. I embrace both, it helps me to be a better and richer person and keeps me grounded and safe in the knowledge that I have many layers which some people will get and others will not. However, once again I must remind all the readers that this is about my journey, my opinion and my life. I get that people will not always agree with me, but in that same way I am not going to always agree with you, sometimes we just have to agree to disagree.

Nobody likes criticism, hey I am the first one to go on the defensive when I am being giving “gentle advice” on how I should behave, act, talk. The one thing I can say though is that I do go back and reflect as there is always an element of truth and things to improve.

Which is why, I must start that I am writing this article without malice. In fact, I simply want the best for this person. In this side of the world, nobody is going to tell you what they think to your face, but certain attributes you have will really piss people off and although they will be polite to your face, although they may work nights to get the job done, they will also be the first person to laugh if you were to trip and fall. Maybe also you may find another me (although I think that might be near impossible), maybe you will know how to deal with that person.

In a series of articles, one of them being “who’s the boss”, I wrote about my experience in my current occupation. To be fair, I was with my team yesterday, and it was actually a fun day, hard work, lots of walking but they are a great bunch. It is unfortunate the petty prejudices of a few are forcing me out the door but I am not going to dwell on anything. I knew it was going to happen so I am prepared for the outcome. However, a certain person took offence and told me that it would be for the best of the company if I were to just f*** off. She had been led to my article, and read out a few extracts. Obviously carefully edited to barter her point, had she taken it in the good faith that it was intended, she would see that the underlying point was that if I felt comfortable in the knowledge I was building a career but because of well discrimination basically, my agenda changed. I am not going to lie, I am overly ambitious. I have fought for everything I have through hard work and determination with little or no help from anyone, so am I wrong for wanting more for myself? Everybody has a journey, you have yours, and I have mine. Everybody has a past and God permitting have a future so why twist my words and make my actions feed into your preconceived notion of me rather than just take it at face value.

First of all, I have to say, this is not in defence but it is the truth. I don’t write what is the view of solely my view . With every article, I have spoken to people and they have felt the same way, so what I wrote here, well other people had been the same experience with this person. However mine was a double whammy due to the negativity that surrounds this person and rather than take time to actually know and understand how I work, she rather found reasons to back up someone else’s opinion.

Why do I say prejudice. On my arrival I learnt that basically I wasn’t wanted. Not because I wasn’t competent, in fact, when I was told boldly by the boss that if a certain person had his way, I would not be here. There was no mention about my job capabilities, just that due to a relationship we had, I wasn’t the right fit. If that was the case, I don’t think anyone would work with anyone, especially here in Ghana, you never know where you are going to end up or with who as your boss. I could have even have said that about my previous occupation, people were moving all the time. I have worked for my mother, my sister and my best friend throughout my career and well it’s been ok, during working hours everyone knows their place, then after we go for a curry, so I don’t actually see what the issue is, but for some reason here it was a problem and the catalyst for where I find myself today.
The definition of prejudice is: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. In law the definition is: harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgement. You see, where there is prejudice in the workplace, it is harmful. Once you have started off on the wrong foot, it is very difficult to gain your balance. Yes when you are new to a company people have varying opinions of you, but where there is pure prejudice it makes for a very uncomfortable environment for the recipient.

From what I see, this person’s prejudice sowed a seed of doubt into the boss’ mind. Every action, word said, and even words not said were scrutinized and seen negatively. First of all, I was paid on a lower scale, not because I wasn’t worthy but because of prejudice. That meant that I was spending a lot of time looking for money to get to work. The other half of the time was spent worrying about finding money, so obviously I get sick, in addition, I come to work and don’t know what lion’s den I am going to enter into. With all that though, I get on with the job, I am not expecting a pat on the back but at least acknowledge that I am getting on with the job without little fuss. Is it professional for you to keep reminding me that there is a “question mark over my head?”.
Had I known that I would be feeling that same dread myself, I probably would have shipped out or not even have come back to Ghana. It’s an awful feeling, sometimes I can feel myself shaking as I drive into the compound and then as I hear the footsteps of “the boss” I feel a terrible pain in the pit of my stomach and it just feels like there is a dark cloud hanging over my head.

After a discussion I had yesterday, I realised that the person just doesn’t get it and I don’t think they ever will. Telling me that there was a concern over me joining doesn’t feel me with joy or make me want to “prove myself”, it just makes me feel uncomfortable and makes me feel visibly sick to my gut. I would not say that this is unique to her, on this side of the world because there hasn’t been cases (apart from one that I know of, which was dismissed) of discrimination. In the mind’s eye, they have a feeling about someone, they convince themselves that it is true and then they look for evidence to prove themselves right. Unfortunately I found myself exactly in that position.

It also happened with a family member of mine. His story is quite laughable though. He gave a ride home to a lady colleague who happened to be banging the boss, so naturally the boss thought he was also banging her. It made for a very uncomfortable 3 months with the boss going so far as to look for signs of corruption (this man is probably the most honest person I know). Luckily he found himself another job before he was kicked out.
In my case, my blog gave me away. My thoughts and feelings from a totally honest piece of prose were turned around to be a sort of sordid exposé. Am I wrong to be ambitious, am I wrong to feel so uncomfortable that I look for a plan B. If I am in an environment where every little detail of mine is being scrutinized and picked on, what can I do?

I know I have an overbearing personality. I tend to lead when I should follow, so I keep quiet, I am told I am not a team player. I speak up once in a meeting and get slammed down for it, so I keep my opinions to myself so as not to offend, I am told that I am being aloof. I am a “learn as you go” type of person, so when I come across something new that’s when I will ask. The reason being, I have tons of pieces of paper where I have written notes and I have forgotten what most of them means. I am told that I am not trying to learn. So you tell me, am I being stupid or are you picking at faults?

I remember I stayed in the office one night trying to put a report together. I had asked if there was a template and I was told to ask someone else. That someone else was not in the office, so I put something together and sent it noting that I couldn’t get hold of anyone so this is what I have put together. How did she take it, as you can imagine, not very well.

The funny thing is, I came in with the notion that I had her back. Obviously if I make her look good, I will get rewarded, however less than a month later, I came across more heinous than a pantomime villain. I reached out to this lady, even apologised if I had offended her, she ignored me. So if I say I don’t think that person is a “people’s person” am I wrong, well you don’t seem to want to understand me but rather feed that discriminatory thought you have into my personality.

Well I am not perfect, I have my issues but I know that I am not being paranoid, I heard it from the horse’s mouth that there was a black mark against my name before the ink was even dry on my acceptance letter. It has been an uncomfortable place to live in ever since so forgive me for not wanting to stick around so that petty prejudice’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Me, I work on the basis of respect regardless of where you come from or where you are going. If I only meet you today or I get to know a person for a lifetime, I treat that person in the way God asked me to. I don’t send out emails which cause damage to a person, just because I feel that the person threatened my position, I don’t ignore people because I don’t feel that the person is aligned with my way of thinking. Everybody is different. I certainly wouldn’t employ or not employ a person on the basis of anything else other than whether they can do the job. However, you live and learn, some people have issues that they can’t deal with, and they blur the line between personal and professional to make it all personal. At least I know I have been totally professional, I came in with the intention to do the job and I will continue to do the job well until the day I go. Keep on feeding my actions to make your point. As long as I can go home to my bed knowing I did the best I could, I have no problem.

But it’s all good, every experience is a good experience, it enriches one life. So no regrets, I have met some great people, I have met some not so great people and I have found good material for my blog. What can I say, every cloud has a silver lining.

What I will say is that there is a difference between petty politics and prejudice. Petty politics is everywhere and can be managed. But prejudice/discrimination for whatever reason, is not fair and it is not right and it is against the law. So I hope you think about the effects of your action the next time you base your decision on anything other than the person’s ability to do the job.

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About efiasworld

The black Bridget Jones and an English woman in Ghana
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2 Responses to The difference between prejudice and petty politics

  1. obibinictrl says:

    All things being equal, but all things would not be. I say, what do you have to loose. Be assertive, show them what you have to bring to the table, but do remember that relationships hold all the sway.

  2. efiasworld says:

    If it was 6 years ago, I would have no problems, I had no responsibility and would have seen it as a challenge. Today, I have a mortgage to pay (yawn…I know I say it a lot), give me the cash and they have given me a very low salary due to a relationship that may or may not have been there. 5 months down the line, everything I do or say is seen in the negative which means I don’t see a pay increase any time soon. I can’t live in poverty just to prove a point.

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