Wednesday, June 19, 2013 09:44
One Of The Things I Admire About Liberians In The U.S.
Story by By Philip N. Wesseh
In the field of journalism, we are told to leave out what we do not know. This means that journalists are not to assume of things they do not know as this might cause serious embarrassment or necessitate certain actions against them. It is based on this, I have decided to circumscribe this piece of article to the United States of America, where I visited recently and met some Liberians.
I say America because I do not know about Liberians in Europe and other areas. As I stated in one of my articles since I returned about two weeks ago, the just ended visit, unlike previous ones, afforded me the opportunity to indeed interact with Liberians and attend some Liberian functions. As I stated previously, I even attended two worship services at “Liberian Churches.” These churches are given the name because their pastors are Liberians are mostly attended by Liberians.
During the nearly one month visit for my daughter's graduation, one thing I admired about those Liberians I interacted with is the issue of “work ethics.” There may be different meanings when it comes to work ethics. But from my understanding, which I think is generic and germane is that work ethics relates to adhering to the rules and regulations of the place of work, especially as they relate to being punctual and regular to work. Besides, it also relates to behavioral pattern by individuals at the place of work, in accordance with the hand book of that institution. As it is known, the hand book can be likened to code of conduct for that particular institution. In short, work ethics can be described as the “dos and don'ts” of an organization.
Here in Liberia, sometimes it is said that there are two ways to do things. When it comes to the issue of time consciousness, we speak of the Liberian time, meaning, not being on time for a particular activity or reporting to work on time. But in the United States, there is no “Liberian Time” when it comes to work. Unsurprisingly, I saw the Liberian time when it came to social functions, as we do here. My daughter's graduation ceremony was set for 7 p.m. but we started almost two hours late because our guests had not arrived. This is the “Liberian Time.” But for the work, the actual time is strictly adhered to or respected. For this I respect and admire Liberians in that country, as this is a problem here.
Even if they were socializing or in an intellectual discussion, the moment it was time for work, they will politely ask to leave as time was approaching for their “job”, which some of them pronounce as “jab” in the American “Seree.” Additionally, I observed that if they could not make it for that day owing to some problems or engagement, they could call a fellow workmate to substitute them. In such a situation, the one making the request will commit himself or herself to taking a day to substitute for that workmate. I also observed that this practice is common among them, as refusal is rare.
On the issue of 'Liberian Time' to function and Church, it is the same. During one of the services I attended at the Zion House of Prayer Children of Salvation Prayer Ministries in Pennsylvania, the Pastor of the Church, Rev. Dr. James Pittman in his sermon on July 22, which I attended, during which time prayers were offered for my safe return, frowned on the late attendance of service by some Liberians. He said when it comes to their jobs, they are always time conscious, but are late at church services. He then urged them to desist.
I take this issue seriously because work ethics is as problem in some quarters in our society. Some people in the employ of institutions are not time conscious, as they report to work at anytime. In most instances this is deliberate. In some situations, some report to work late and give all kinds of excuses to justify their lateness. Also, others go for lunch and fail to return to work in keeping with the time allocated.
There is a need to promote work ethics by various institutions because it helps to promote high productivity, as the failure to adhere to this will undoubtedly undermine productivity, thus affecting the operation or function of a particular institution, especially Liberian-run institution or the public sector. This nation and its people should set good examples. We have to avoid this thing about “Liberian Time,” as it is counterproductive. Again, I admire Liberians in the United States for work ethics. I hope we can cultivate this kind of work ethics for the growth and development of our various places of work.