How much do you earn?

I just came back from a wedding ceremony. It was a neighbor’s daughter. That delayed my writing schedule. Anyway, it reminded me of my own wedding. Uuhh! Time’s so quick. I remember just getting married, with all the ecstasy that it brings. A new life starts with a new person as your life mate, if you happen to make it together until death lays its icy hands upon you. Yeah, things are going smooth so far, so long as you can manage your relationships. Life is as it is, ups and downs, but faring anyway.

I’d hardly taken up employment in the government service. That was in the mid-70’s. Still a novice youngster, experiencing the heat of love in the early 20’s against all odds. At that time working in the government made of you a highly respected fellow. He works in the government, they’d say. And for a woman it was a great pride getting married to a government servant. Ummm… No longer now, believe me. The perception has changed.

People no more envy you, except for your job security. The benefits in the civil service have constantly eroded from the colonial days. The whole of your time is at the disposal of the government. You aren’t allowed to do private work, nor indulge in active politics. You may have your own political conviction, but you should be faithful and loyal to the government of the day. The next salary review heralds curtailing of significant acquired rights.

The pride and satisfaction is elsewhere. In the private sector the grass seems to be greener; you enjoy benefits not accruing in the public, higher pay packets, more attractive fringe benefits, and if you’re a lucky good performer perhaps a company car, mobile phone, housing benefits, and the like… And if you happen to be your own boss, that’s even better. I never forget the boastfulness of one of my ants. She’s far better off than us. “My son owns a taxi; not only that, he’s also a landlord; how much do you earn a month?” She knows very well a public officer’s worth in terms of remuneration. They’ve been pretty good entrepreneurs in successive generations.

A civil servant’s pride is in his dedication to the job he is entrusted with. If he’s done it with dignity, honesty, loyalty and with a high sense of commitment, he’s done his duty, towards his country. That’s how I feel doing my job.

Leave a Reply