The Problem of Inefficient Workers

Aug 17 , 2019
By Eden Sahle

Procrastination is the enemy of success. And I believe this is one of the main reasons why we are poor as a nation. The country is suffocated with strategic plans that are not working or never get implemented. We have not attained prosperity in large part, because it’s just so easy to keep on postponing what needs to be done. The vast majority of our national problems come from being unable to start something and follow through.

Sometime ago one of the successful businessmen that I look up to went to China to visit. During his stay, he came across a man who described China in one word for him, which is “now”. They work and try to achieve things now as if there is no tomorrow. Truly, this is what shaped the character of China, which made them who they are today. China is proof that hard work and dedication pays off big. It was nothing but the vision to have a prosperous China that inspired them to work endlessly and become a global success phenomenon.

In Ethiopia, many believe they have a lifetime, and there is always endless tomorrow for everything. In any Ethiopian institution, it is customary to be told to come tomorrow and waste days for the work that should not take half an hour. With no accountability and with the lack of proper work structure, things fall on the goodwill of civil servants. For the most part, our leaders are also stuck in the same mindset, which makes them believe they can stay in power as long as they wish to do things in the years to come.

An occasional recognition of the need for hard work from our leaders and society is not enough to make citizens uphold the value of hard work. It requires great planning and consistency to reinforce the right mindset on work. Respecting our work and having a vision for the country should be at the heart of our national consciousness.

This can create a culture of work ethics and responsibilities for the tasks that we need to do individually and as part of society. It can teach us the benefit of learning to value and respect hard work irrespective of our political opinion and lethargic national habit.

A culture of effective work offers us a variety of benefits. Accomplishing things can provide an automatic legitimate result compared with any of the government plans and strategies that are stacked in shelves at institutions. Human beings are created with a mind to think and work. Effective work not only needs to become a habit in Ethiopia but also revered. Respecting our work begins by taking responsibilities in our activities. Doing them not because someone was checking, but because it needs to be done, should be our national value.

Once I was doing consultancy work for an international organisation that allowed me to work closely with one of the public institutions. As I was struggling to get the information that I was looking for, a man looked at me and told me something that shocked me deep into my bones. He said I should not expect them to work hard with the salaries they earn at the public institutions. Indeed, public servants are severely underpaid, and it is a miracle how they make it through this difficult life in Ethiopia’s dawdling economy. But this does not justify laziness if a person is willing to be on staff at the public institution. They must work or find something else. I was curious and asked the man if being idle while he worked was the best way out of the underpayment problem. He replied that no one would be able to hire him outside of similar institutions. I knew we were misunderstanding each other, and I thanked him and left.

What most people in Ethiopia should understand is that we work to make ourselves relevant in the job sector. This is the personal goal, while the wider goal can be to gain the necessary things for us and our country. It is when we change ourselves that we can change a country. We are hired because our skill and help are needed in the things that we do. The importance of general values and principles to relate work with personal development should not be neglected.

Lack of an institutionalised power and efficient work habit has left the country with massive poverty. It diminished the hope of having the basic things in life. A mindset of work and strong will to do things quickly remain a distant dream in Ethiopia. Reality shows us that behind our poverty is overlooked popular support that gave rise to those very same ills of ignorance and carelessness at work.

It seems like the public is used to this dangerous habit. We are always at the crossroads where we can choose what benefits us and the country, infamous for awful poverty. Thus, the dangers of having inefficient workers should not be overlooked.

Among the many paybacks, strong institutions on the economic front have a significant influence on development, creating productive human resources. This will also keep institutions accountable. But it will never come if we do not start learning from the countries that have successfully taken themselves out of poverty. Now!

PUBLISHED ON Aug 17,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1007]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Put your comments here

N.B: A submit button will appear once you fill out all the required fields.

Editors' Pick


Fortune news