Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Truth About Corporate Prostitution

I had just finished serving my country judiciously for a year in the sun and in the rain back in 2012 and was just buying time before commencing the Msc adventure. I stayed at home for a little over a week when it dawned on me that doing nothing under my father’s roof was bound to make me lose my senses. Then began my first ever job search. I don’t know if it just a coincidence but it seemed most job vacancies I came across in the papers were marketing jobs particularly in the Banking or Insurance sectors and all had this “unholy” emphasis on females.
“Why the emphasis on females for a marketing job?”, I thought to myself then. But now I know.
The quest to get enough high end customers to deposit their huge sums in their banks coupled with unrealistic targets and the quest to survive in the uncertain labour market has birthed the evil called “Corporate Prostitution”. This is a growing phenomenon where marketers (mostly ladies) in a bid to meet the targets and particularly keep their jobs are consequently forced or led into prostitution with potential customers. Some targets are so outrageous that even if a female marketer were to stand nude on the road with a cardboard around her neck, she would still find it hard to meet. According to a banker friend, her bank recruit bankers (marketers) with clear instructions to generate between N150 million and N300 million within 3-6 months, while those in the operations department have specified targets, like N1 million per month, two savings accounts in one week or three in a month, depending on the branch head and stability of the branch.
Simply put, potential customers (mostly men) are approached by marketers (mostly ladies) to open an account and deposit their hard earned money into the marketer’s bank. The potential customer then demands sex as an incentive from the marketer to open an account. The marketer faced with gigantic targets and an impending sack chooses to play ball in a bid to save her job.
A friend once told me of her plight as a marketer for an insurance company. She spoke of how she and her colleagues go through a lot at the hands of casanova corporate guys and businessmen, who just want their backs on the bed before they even considered buying an insurance premium with her company.
The story of one Uche Okoro (pseudonym) comes to mind. She is a marketer with an old generation bank in Ikeja, Lagos. In her words, “seven years ago when l joined the banking industry, it was obvious that they had a hidden agenda because they did not mince words. ‘Go over there and woo new customers with all that you have’ were the words from our supervisor, who told us that we were lucky to get the job because it was competitive.”
Uche who did not confirm or deny whether as a marketer she has been a victim of corporate prostitution but emphatically said, “There is no university that will teach you how to be an efficient marketer; when you get to the field, you are going to navigate your way to get your desired goal whether by sleeping or not sleeping with anybody.”
Another story of Kemi Asani (pseudonym) just goes to show the lengths and pains ladies go through to meet their targets.
In her own emotion-laden words, “I got the shock of my life on the field because virtually all the targeted clients, who were mostly oil magnates, wanted to sleep with me before having anything to do with her bank. Out of frustration, coupled with the fact that I was running out of time on my target, l decided to give in to a young guy, who introduced himself as an IT consultant to one of the oil companies. He took his time after more pressure from me to agree to move one of his accounts to our bank. Before l knew it, l was warming his bed for almost a week, with a promise that as soon as he was off shore, he would give me a cheque to open a new account with my bank.
I almost fainted when l realized that he had issued me a bounced cheque. To make matters worse, l could not get him on phone and by the time l got back to his hotel, he had given a standing order that I should not be allowed in, that l was one of those disturbing him. Now to how many people would l tell my story and not look silly?” She lamented.
A close friend told me of how her madam at an Estate Management firm told her categorically to “shave your hairy legs so you will look the part when you approach clients”. Shave which legs? How does that affect the price of land or house? I am sure you get the manager’s message clearly.
The above are just a few of the unsavory experiences of female marketers (banks or a host of other firms) whose task it is to market their banks’ products and services and attract customers or get sacked with ignominy for under-performance.
Most banks would feign ignorance when the topic of corporate prostitution comes up but the buck of the blame should rest on the shoulders of the marketers. Why belittle/degrade/dehumanize yourself and even sin against God just to meet one stupid target and keep one rubbish job?
“Life is hard, the economic situation in the country is not improving and the labour market looms precariously by the day” might be one of the excuses a lady might give for compromising her moral standards. But need I remind you what became of Esau after he sold his birthright for a pot of porridge (common porridge). Don’t let hunger (lack of money) make you sell your birthright for that commission/salary/promotion. Be wise.


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