When quitting is the honourable thing to do

What you need to know:

If your work no longer makes sense to you, be kind enough to yourself and move on

Fabian is a handy man I have known for many years. He can be trusted to do any kind of work that requires a lot of energy whether it is weeding a garden, digging a trench or cleaning a carpet. He is one of the few people who still cares so much about the quality of their work. Whereas past handy men I worked with simply did work to finish, Fabian gives everything he touches his all. If he is washing a carpet, he will scrub it until it is spotless, no matter how long it will take him.

This work ethic is rare and has endeared him to everyone who has worked with him. But because he has a wife and five children to support, Fabian is hard up most times even if he never wants for work. For as long as I have known him, he has always been a jolly and optimistic person, until that one day I came home to find a distraught Fabian waiting for me.  His sister had had surgery and Shs600,000 was needed before the hospital could release her. This responsibility lay on Fabian’s shoulders as the ‘big man’ of the family who lives in Kampala.

But as I had earlier stated, most times, Fabian is struggling to provide for his nuclear family. To raise the money, he had approached the chairperson of a certain organisation for which he had worked for more than 10 years for a soft loan and was turned down because he did not have security. He asked me to become his guarantor for the loan and seeing how distressed he was, I did. With the money secured, I thought that story had ended. A few weeks later, the chairperson of the said organisation called me livid with anger because Fabian was not picking her calls and there was an emergency that required him to attend to.

So, I called Fabian and relayed the message but he told me to tell the chairperson to take her work and shove it (this is a very sanitised version of what he told me because being a Mukiga, he does not believe in mincing his words).  A few days after being inundated with calls from the chairperson I tried reasoning with Fabian to go back to work pointing out that he needed the money for the survival of his young family. I told him not to let anger cloud his judgment. He replied that his judgement was not clouded if anything, the way he had been treated had given him clarity about who he was to the organisation.

“I was trusted with property worth millions and for the 13 years I worked there, they never lost anything. I was at that place whether it rained or there were riots. I worked diligently, but that was not enough to get me a loan at my most trying time. Why would I continue working for people that do not value me? Tell them I would rather starve than work with heartless people like them,” he explained. 

After thinking about it, I was even in more awe of this man’s principles. I know very many people in my circles that grumble about their work but have no backbone to leave it.  They would rather show up at their workplace, do the bare minimum and get their pay at the end of the month. Take for instance disgruntled teachers who continue to “teach”. Because they feel they are underpaid, they do not take their duties seriously, but the uninstructed children are the ones that end up in the public service system, doing exactly what they learnt from the adults they were exposed to in their formative years.

Why do they act so surprised when they end up having to bribe them to process their pensions or when they embezzle money meant for community development? Because they neglected to do their bit, they contributed to raising a generation that has no sense of integrity or common sense. They only want things that give them direct benefits; anything more complex than that does not make any sense to them.

Our country is in the state it is because someone somewhere did not have the strength to quit an unfair system which might have forced changes. While talking to a human resources manager recently, they said they wished they had more employees such as Fabian; at least they would be able to know what is not working and work towards changing instead of a workforce that is present physically but resigned in all other ways. This is why companies are making losses and many are closing down, which ultimately affects everyone.

But most importantly, these people are biting off their noses to spite their faces, instead of going to a dead-end job they despise, why not get something else that inspires them and do it? Right now you are wasting your time and killing your brain cells, if your work no longer makes sense to you, be kind enough to yourself and move on.


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