The Nigerian boss! A symbol of hope – a proof that hard work and determination (and knowing someone in government or coming from a rich family or kissing ass) pays off.

The Nigerian Boss likes to be called ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’, they have no first name. They are like the Men (and women in this case) in Black, they don’t smile often and the longer they are on the phone, the ‘bigger’ they are. They command so much respect that love doesn’t matter.

No one cares if you love your boss, respect means the world to them – it should be clear that they do not require genuine respect, a good ‘eye service’ has its rewards. Remember ‘knox’ from Heroes? Go and Google him up; the Nigerian Bosses are like Knox – They derive their strength from fear. Let’s not go into the fact that employees generally hate their bosses and their jobs but – there are bills to pay so bring on the modern-day slavery.

The Nigerian boss shouts, calls people inappropriate names, but the slaves – scratch that – employees can only complain and do nothing except look for a more friendly slave master – scratch that – employer. In the end what employees really care about is the amount of money that comes out of the job (is it really supposed to be so?). Well this article is not as serious at it started out.

Here in this time of change, jobs are hard to find and if you anger your slave-master…why do I keep making these errors?.. your boss, then you may find yourself back in the village. So here are ten things you do not want to say to your boss… EVER!

1. That just isn’t possible:

Allow me to reveal a secret. Nigerian bosses are motivational speakers and life coaches when the sun goes down – and sometimes in the office too (get it? Because your closing time may be 5pm but you are still there by 7:30 with no overtime). So if they ask an employee to do something, the last thing they want to hear is that it is not possible. ‘WHAT? E mi ke? What are you talking about? Me that asked you to do it am I stupid?’

Does any of this sound familiar? If not, then you don’t know what God has done for you. Bosses all claim to come from rough backgrounds and they say how everyone has told them it was impossible but they pushed through (story – NDDC cheque speaking) so if you say to your boss, “it’s impossible” – you have killed them…and maybe even your career in the process.

2. I need a salary increase:

This one dey funny me. Perhaps you as an employee, have been slaving – sorry – working – I think ‘slaving’ is an accurate term here. You have been slaving for months and your bills are still piling up; so you think more money will help you. Because of this you go and ask for a salary increase. Allow me to reveal another secret – are you ready? Your boss doesn’t give a hoot about your problems. Those people who look like they are enjoying in the company, management compensates them because they are bringing money to the company – not because they care.

So if you want to make more money, bring value to the company. Asking for a raise is like asking for a sack letter. Try it! You go know how fa. If you call for cleaners in my man’s company (I am talking about Dangote) there are PH.D holders who will apply. So you that is making guy asking for raise, be very careful.

3. I don’t know:

This one is a ticket to unemployment. I used to have a boss whom, once you say ‘I don’t know’, would reply ‘wrong answer’. On a serious note though, ‘I don’t know’ could save your life in the real world but when talking to your boss, not at all. Bosses don’t want to do all the thinking themselves (even though they eventually do), better re-phrased, bosses don’t want to feel like they are doing all of the thinking themselves.

They usually say we are all in this company to make input, so saying ‘I don’t know’ throws them into a frenzy. WHAT? E mi ke? – We’ve been over this before haven’t we? We know how it ends. SO what do you say instead of ‘I don’t know’? Anything else mehn. ‘Please let me get back to you on that’ or ‘let me find out’ or ‘my spleen just burst’… ANYTHING!

4. I don’t do well under pressure:

Oh really? Then my dear go home and relax where there is no pressure. It has not yet been officially signed into law, but please know that it is compulsory to add ‘Ability to work under pressure’ in your Curriculum Vitae. It has to be compulsory, everybody is doing it, and even the front desk officer must be able to work under pressure.

Let us examine this front desk. You think it is easy for a deeper life lady to focus at work when her MD is hitting on her? Man! That is the redefinition of pressure. (Maybe that example doesn’t work). So if you can’t handle it, you know where the unemployed be hanging out. In America I hear when you do well at work you get a vacation, is this true? In Nigeria however if you do well, then that means more work. SO if you are any good at your job, then you will be sleeping with pressure a lot.

5. Maybe I shouldn’t say this… But:

Wrong move. Whatever it is you have to say, don’t start it like that. It implies that you have trust issues with your boss. I mean we all know you probably mean the best but they won’t see it that way. It is worse when you are about to snitch!. You may be rewarded initially, but no one, no oooooooone (Alicia keys voice), likes a snitch (Cookie Lyon Voice). Not even your boss.

Remember they don’t care, so at that moment you have given valid information, you could be rewarded or even smiled at a few times but… So even if you must report someone to your boss, say it boldly, like you would repeat the same to the person’s face. Bosses have a way of sensing these things. And finally on this point, if you are going to snitch, know that someone will snitch on yo ass tomorrow.

6. Please let the new employee be good looking:

You must have some leg in the company to be able to say this to your Oga. And even with that ‘leg’, there are no guarantees that you will remain after that. Is that what you are there for? Good looking people?

Well it is true that good looking people get more pay and are promoted better than fugly people. If you make this statement as a man, then be ready to get pinned with harassment suits (that is not a new kind of jacket by the way) so ridiculous you wouldn’t even believe. Your boss would call you and the conversation would be like this

BOSS: the new lady said she doesn’t like the way you look at her’,

YOU: how? How do I look at her abeg’?

BOSS: ‘the last straw was last week’

YOU: Ah anh! But I was on vacation last week.



7. Please dim the lights, last night was crazy:

Lol. Did I mention that Bosses are pastors as well? Actually they seem to be against anything that suggests that you are having a good time, think me wrong? I will bring proof of my words (Crixus voice). They don’t want to hear that you took a drink, or even went to see a movie. No. That means you are being paid enough to have EXTRA CASH?? WHAAAT? Or you have been stealing.

That one happens very well. I have seen it in Happy Bite mall, you know, the one around the Airforce base that is now part hotel –part confusion. In there, you had better not be able to afford anything if you sell if you are a staff, it is assumed you have stolen it. It didn’t happen in every shop but it was a thing. But I digress – drinking so much you have a hangover and you are letting your boss know? Be advised.

8. That meeting, please is it Nigerian time?:

Huh? This one implies so much incompetence your boss could leave the office to look for a cane or chase you with a vacuum cleaner. If he is a member of living faith church, make that ‘chase you with anointing oil’. Nigerian time? For the benefit of those who have never heard of NST (Nigerian Standard time), it is 2-3 hours ahead on every appointment, meeting, or event, i.e if a meeting is supposed to start at 4pm NST, it will start at 6 or 7.

Someone should thank me because I know until now, no one has successfully defiled – scratch that – defined NST, or named it so stylishly. SO please don’t imply to your boss that he doesn’t keep to time, or that you have intentions of not keeping to time, it could do like karma and bite you in the bum sooner or later.

9. But I sent you a mail last week:

If you thought ‘the customer’ was always right, you haven’t met ‘THE BOSS’, oh and Nigerian bosses are always so  busy they forget things more than Dory – do y’all remember Dory? But instead of them to go for brain and memory enhancement therapy, they want you to remind them of stuff like all the time, sometimes even more than 5 times. And if you forget to remind them, SOUP!

So that statement ‘But I mailed it to you’ is usually followed by, ‘and when I didn’t reply didn’t you think it ‘pragmatic (bosses are also much grounded in unnecessary vocabulary most times) to send a reminder mail. ‘Uh Boss! That was the reminder mail. Follow this link to see the expression on your bosses face when you have said this.

10. That your Daughter! Mmmm:

To God be the glory for a life well spent and foolishly ended. That is what the newspaper Obituary will read. You dare admire your boss’s daughter? Have you no fear of God?  Is there no end to your frivolity (remember the vocabulary thing). This i don’t think has a warning,it is one of those unspoken zero-tolerance scenarios. it is the straight up sack letter boldly coated with acid for whoever falls into this trap.

Every boss assumes his daughter is going to marry the heir to another dynasty (yes even if there is only one office, it is a dynasty in your boss’ mind and you dare not suggest otherwise). So you are free to look at other people, so long as he is the one paying your salary, you are not good enough for the daughter, painful but true. This point applies to just guys though. But in the case of women who also have a feminine boss, it is the same if her son takes any interest in you.



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