Zimbabwe: The ill-treatment from my boss was a blessing to my success

Date: October 10, 2019
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I am a 32 year old married mother of two children. When I was married I stayed at home without a job for more than four years. I then got employed as a pre-school teacher in our neighbourhood. I would leave my place early in the morning then go to the learners’ homes to pick them up and return them after school. Two months into my employment I realised that I was pregnant. I continued with my duties after having assured my employer that I would cope with the duties. Later on fatigue started catching up with me and I would go home stressed because my boss had started insulting me in front of my colleagues and learners.  

I endured the harassment because I dearly needed the job. I found comfort in having the little learners around me and they loved having me as their teacher. Most of them would even run and embrace me whenever we met along the streets when not at school. My boss would embarrass her staff in front of the learners parents. She would order the kitchen chefs not to give us enough food as she said that we were getting paid. She did not consider that we left our homes early and spent nearly eleven hours at work.  

When I finally delivered my second child my boss reduced my salary to half. She instructed me to report for work within two months lest she would look for a replacement. I had to beg my husband’s sister who was not working to come and assist me. The harassment at work continued and it even affected my social life. I was always stressed and my husband was at pains to try and comfort me. I started forgetting very essential things. I consulted a medical doctor who diagnosed that my stress levels were high and advised me to find something less stressful to occupy me. I had no choice but to leave my beloved teaching job.  

Some parents who had children at the pre-school tried to make me reconsider my decision but for the sake of my health I refused. My boss visited me and offered me a salary hike but I stood with my decision. I rented three rooms with my family. My husband suggested that we use two rooms with the family and I use the third room as a classroom for my pre-school learners. I started off with very few pupils. After a few months I had more than 20 learners at my crèche. Some parents withdrew their children from my former boss’ crèche to mine and it created some tension. She reported me to the local authority for operating illegally. The council authorities tipped me and I instantly applied for a permit. My former boss usually pays me some courtesy visits but I really know that she wants to find out the standards and how I run my business. I thank my husband and the local community for supporting me in my business which is growing at a very steady pace. I have even hired two women and two males to help me run my business. I respect my assistants as they are my anchor team.