Angry Employee

I will never forget the pain, sleeplessness, fear, and sadness that engulfed my entire being after I received the letter of termination of employment from my employer – not because I did something wrong on the job, and not even from my inability to do the job, but because a former employer decided to prove a point. This happened in 2021, and I have grown out of this wreck, by God’s grace. I have made many mistakes, but I didn’t think something like this would happen to me. So, for young employees and job seekers, here is a warning. References are very important. They can make or mar your career.

I had once worked under a boss, a seemingly affable man who ran a one-person business in Lagos State, Nigeria. Our collaboration had been fruitful, and we had weathered the storms of business together. I got promoted after one year of working with him, and that says a lot about my work ethic. Then came the pandemic, a tidal wave that swept away revenues and left our once-thriving workplace in disarray. Business was bad, but the company was still doing okay as we had steady cash inflow through a partner company that could cater to the comfortable running of the business.

As businesses worldwide grappled with the economic fallout, it was no surprise when a decision was made to cut salaries across the board. My colleagues and I, dedicated to our work, accepted this as a necessary sacrifice. We kept going at it; and worked extra hard to make the most of the situation. However, the tide turned darker when my boss, perhaps blinded by the harsh reality of dwindling profits, chose to rewrite the terms of our employment contracts.

Gone were the fixed salaries; in their place was a commission-based payment structure directly tied to revenues. The staff, dismayed and disheartened, began to jump ship. I, too, decided to resign, unwilling to risk the commission-based compensation during a pandemic.

Soon after my departure, I secured a position with a reputable telecoms company. The new job seemed like a fresh start after the tough losses incurred during the pandemic as salaries were cut. The telecoms company, upon contacting my former boss for a reference, received a damning account of my work, filled with false accusations and malicious intent. Hands were tied despite doing tremendous and commendable work already.

I found myself on the brink of unemployment, grappling with the fallout of a reference that could have only been crafted with malice. Desperate for answers, I reached out to my former boss, seeking an explanation for her actions. What I received was not an apology or an admission of wrongdoing but a boastful declaration of his intent to destroy me unless I decide to return to his business.

It was then that the pieces fell into place like a sinister puzzle. The special treatment, the unexplained gifts, the seemingly harmless gestures—all had been part of a calculated plan to make me his side-chick. I never imagined it that way. I never assumed the gifts meant anything because this man is in his early 50s, married with a daughter nearly my age, and had woven a tangled scheme to keep me under his control.

Realizing that escape was the only option, I made a life-altering decision. It was time to start my own business and break free from the toxic clutches that had threatened to stifle my professional growth. I was depressed, but I got help. I am doing better now. As I embarked on this new journey, I felt a responsibility to share my story with other job seekers. In the labyrinth of career opportunities, some bosses are not blessings but disguised curses, waiting to exert control and wreak havoc on the lives of unsuspecting employees. There is so much to say actually, but this is a summarized version.


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