By Uche Amunike
It’s another end of year and time for Fides to unveil her best member of staff for the year. This was an initiative introduced in other to appreciate her workers and encourage the others to sit up in their duties. This year, 2018, our winner is a dynamic young man who works in his capacity as Production Manager. He has passed the litmus test for dedication to duty, commitment, tolerance, perseverance, hard work and indeed, going the extra mile to ensure that developmental goals are achieved in his department as at when due. Kindly read on as he talks about himself, his job and how it has been for him in Fides these past years…
For the intent of this interview, kindly introduce yourself and your position in Fides Communication.
Ok, my name is Chimezie Ibedu. I work in Fides communication as the Production Manager.
So the news in town is that you emerged the best staff of the year in Fides, 2018, how does that feel?
Wow, I’m surprised because you are breaking the news to me. Yes, but then it feels good. I wasn’t expecting it anyway but now that you have said it, the fact that you are interviewing me shows that it’s really true, so I thank God about it because they say success is as good as gold.
So your department is the Production Department. What exactly happens there?
This is the engine room and hub of the establishment where we put all the ideas and concepts that come from the newsroom and from the computers into material reality. The basic things we do here is that we make sure that whatever write-ups, images and graphics that we need for our publications are eventually converted to paper. So, that’s the major work we do here.
Tell us about the challenges you face in your line of duty.
Well, you know as they say, it’s easy to manage resources. It’s easy to manage materials and equipments but the most difficult thing to manage is human beings. But all the same, we try our best. It’s not easy. For instance, you give jobs to people to do, and they may not give the proper attention you need to the job, so it’s still my duty to follow them up, remind them of the deadlines and make sure they do it according to the specification because it’s not all about working, it’s about working according to the mind of your customer. If they say, I want this color, or this design, give it to them. If they need this image, we may not give you the exact image of what you want but it’s our duty here to cooperate with the graphic designers to be able to bring out what they have in mind onto the paper.
So how long have you been in Fides?
I have spent 3 years in Fides, I think about 3 years and 7 months. By May 2019, I will be 4 years here.
On the day the selection of the best staff was done, I was there, I was part of it and it was a very transparent exercise, we did not have the pre-information of that exercise, we just came to work and people were taken by surprise. It was purely done with utmost secrecy. So, you emerging the best worker means only one thing- that majority of the workers have confidence in you and they believe that you worked harder than everyone in the organization.
How does that make you feel?
I don’t think I worked harder than everyone here. I am also very much humbled by the fact that my colleagues think that I should be the one to be so honored, so I’m equally grateful to them. Of course, I am grateful to the management of the organization, Fides Communications. As we always say, the best place to work around is here. Now, it’s even a surprise still, because I wasn’t here on that day. Yet,I know the management will make sure it’s a very, clear and fair procedure, very transparent. So I want to say again, I’m grateful to my colleagues and the management for finding me worthy of this honor. Of course, everybody, for you to qualify for anything good, you have to work hard. Perhaps people look at us and judge us to be working hard even though in all honesty am not the most hardworking around here, there are people who work very much. In fact, if my job comes out clear as being good or if we are earning towards excellence, the credit should go to my colleagues because my job is just co-ordination and by the time the job comes out, we all take the credit for it. So if people are working hard, I’m thinking of those in the finishing department who spend days and nights making sure that the final product of the job is meaningful. I am thinking of that operator at the machine on whose neck I will be to meet up with the deadline no matter how tired he is. So I think these are the people we should actually give credit to.
Let’s talk about the management of Fides Communications that introduced this concept of trying to motivate workers by giving them incentives like this. I’m going to ask you 2 questions, the first one is, what is that one thing you want to demand of the management, after that, what is that one thing you want to thank them for?
My gratitude and commendations are in order for the leadership of this organization. It’s a very good working place, not because the pay is much but because of the family spirit we feel here. Everybody is part of the system and we have a sense of belonging and again because of their exemplary leadership we do not have rivalry among the staff. Everybody is happy and contented in their job. It’s not possible for us to have 100% contentment but I’m saying that when people come here and compare here with elsewhere, they know the difference. For instance, of course we are in the media industry, some of our colleagues from other organizations, the state-owned media and private media around, when they come they say there is something special about this place and why is it like that? Because the leadership has made sure that there is still a family spirit here. So am very grateful to the management led by Rev. fr. Dr. Martin Anusi, a very simple and dynamic human being. He is a go-getter, he wants us to deliver the job but he is also in the process. He is not an arm-chair manager. He is part of the process.
I can’t exempt my immediate supervisor, Rev. Fr. Cyril Ezeani. He is more than a manager because he knows every detail of this job more than I do and it is his encouragement and suggestions that keep us going. So, Fr. Martin is a leadership guru while Fr. Cyril is a manager of resources. Yes. For him, there is no need for wastages. You must be able to make optimal use of everything we have at hand and to be able to give something to show for it, after having worked and having spent, money, what do you have to show for it? That’s his area.
Equally, Rev. Fr. Obinna Dike is a motivator, he is into too many things but then he is able to co-ordinate well. Recently, just about a year now, we have a priest, Fr Anthony Pio. If you have been around here, you will see the way he goes about his work in the premises, managing a fish pond and other farming activities. Within this little space we call Fides, he already has been able to manage it and bring something out of it. I’m grateful to the Editor-in-chief and to you, the assistant editor and everybody here. Anyone who works here always leaves Fides with a story to tell.
Now that said, Oliver twist will never stop saying he wants some more because we are human beings, we have families, we have cares, it will be nice if the management also begins to look at how to increase our welfare. The economy of the nation is not very friendly anymore and people will have to make ends meet to keep body and soul together. Am always not looking at what amount of money I go home with at the end of the year. I look at the fringe benefits that may not be monetary but can also encourage the workers. I am not speaking for myself alone rather for the entire staff of the organization. For instance, there are things like healthcare insurance, I do not think it is an innovation but it is something that may be looked into so for instance, if a staff member falls sick, there must be something that will help mum or her even if it’s contributory so that when one fall sick and perhaps you do not have any cash at hand, then one can help you access healthcare, perhaps you pay afterwards. I’m sure you have an idea of what I’m talking about. That’s good.
Again, the whole nation is talking about minimum wage now. Every labour organization is rearing up that the least any worker should be gaining is N30,000. If I want to be realistic, it may not be obtainable here but then something can be done so that people will feel they belong. It’s the same market where the civil servants go to buy their food, is the place I go to buy mine so if the civil servant is going to spend N18,000 to buy a bag of rice, I too will spend N18,000 and if I cannot get a bag of rice to feed myself and feed my family, it means that, am not able to meet my family responsibilities and each person really wants to fend for himself through place of work.
Ok, you work hard, even when everyone has gone, you have to stay behind with the young guys seeing that everything is going on fine, when do you now have time to ease off tension? What are your hobbies? How do you relax or do you work 24 hours, 10 days a week?
It’s a funny question you just asked. Ok let me tell you, my philosophy of life is this, this is the spring time of my life so let me do the investments now. A time will come when I will have more time for leisure. I am youthful. I am passionate and God still gives me health so I want to do the much I can now. I look at great people and I discovered that they sacrificed something to get something. Sometimes it touches me that I don’t really have time for myself.
For instance, I’m pursuing a post graduate program now, I could not read. I go to exams on Fridays and Saturdays, so I work up till Thursday night, its only on Friday morning that I will go to my exam center then I spend the first 3 hours, I read and then that is how I write and I do not want to say maybe, I know God will assist me and then I pass. So it’s not really easy, then the other thing I do, is that anytime you see me, am either smiling, laughing or cracking jokes. That is how I ease tension, if I should concentrate on the amount of pressure I get at work then I will breakdown but it will not happen to me because there is a key secret to life. If you have it, then happiness is yours.
Ok I like that, so what’s your advice on the last note now to the workers of this organization? To those that have never had the opportunity to win this trophy, what’s your advice to them?
When there is a contest, only one winner will emerge. Your day will come one day. Keep on doing your best and the reward will come. It’s a natural law, if you give your best, expect the best.
Thank you very much.
You are welcome.