Q. I work in a top public agency where lethargy and corruption are the order of the day. Being a man of integrity, I am regarded with a lot of skepticism by my colleagues, who suspect me to be the whistle-blower within. As such, my job is at stake, only a little over a year since I began working here. I need this job, but I am tired of witnessing acts of gross violation of work ethics. What can a man in my position do?
I would like to commend you for upholding your integrity and being upright in an environment riddled with corruption.
You must be guided by values that you believe in strongly, which is very critical in succeeding in your profession. At this point, it is important to develop good working relations and team up with your colleagues to reduce the suspicion. You could also develop a network within the agency with other employees who are trying to uphold integrity in the course of their work so that you lead by example.
You must be there by merit, hence continue performing and meeting your objectives and targets. There has been a lot of focus on performance in government with the introduction of performance contracting, this I believe will eventually weed out non-performers.
You also need to be careful when dealing with these individuals, therefore ensure that you remain professional without compromising your values. The Code of Ethics in your agency can guide you on how to report the issues within. Also, there is a law known as the “Public Officer Ethics Act”, which binds all people working in government institution like yours. Familiarise yourself with it and ensure you are always in compliance in all actions you take to protect you in case people collude against you.
There must also be a person in authority or a position of power who can listen to your grievances. Approach this person and outline your concerns about the agency without appearing to accuse your colleagues.
After this discussion you will be in a better position to make a more informed decision on your continuity in the role depending on the attitude of the person in authority.
If at any one point you feel threatened, I advise that you think of either asking for a transfer to a different agency or look for an opportunity elsewhere.