There is a popular Latin phrase, ‘quid pro quo’, interpreted as ‘favour for favour’. This implies that something always goes for something and nothing is ever given without a reciprocated effort. At first, the phrase was used in the sixteenth century to refer to a substituted medicine for another but with the passing of time; the phrase became more generalized and used even for business.
Now, especially in the corporate world, quid pro quo can be referred to as exchange of goods, services, favours, or any other kind of value. Sometimes, clients would prefer an exchange of something valuable for their money. On the other hand, corporate organisations, through their workers, are often willing to satisfy their clients’ demands as a way of retaining their patronage. Many a time, these organisations impose this task of meeting clients’ needs on their workers in order to keep the company running.
The attitude of ‘something for something’ is not only displayed by clients, but swings both ways and many other ways actually. Employers seek value in all the projects they embark on, employees want something in return for their creative ideas and input, vendors want something for their services, sellers want money for their goods while buyers want value for their money, investors are particular about what they get in return for their investment and the list goes on.
The concept of quid pro quo played out in Furo’s experience…
After several years of being unemployed, Furo finally got a job opportunity in a well-known and reputable bank. She groomed and brushed up herself in every aspect she could think of just to beat not just the work ethics but also set a high standard for other workers to follow. During her waiting period, she had attended seminars and workshops to increase her skill and knowledge about the banking industry. Furo was convinced she was more than ready for this job.
Few months into her resumption, Furo, who was assigned to the marketing department, was given a target to raise 10million naira within six months. She courageously took this as a challenge and began to work towards it. Three months had passed and Furo realised she was not making much progress with her goal. She had talked to family and friends who she felt were rich but was only able to raise 2million naira, which was far from the target. Other prospects were quite sceptical about putting their money in her bank.
Another month passed and Furo was at the verge of frustration. Everyday she woke up tormented by the nightmare of being fired for not meeting the target. Nobody at work ever asked how she was faring with the 10million naira goal but everyone wanted results. None of her strategies seems to work and more pressure mounted on her.
Having heard of the story of Belema who had hit her goals in the space of one month, Furo was too much in shock to believe. She approached Belema to find out how she was able to pull it off without much stress. Luckily Belema was honest and open about her means, which was simply to approach the ‘big boys’ in town. Since Furo was clueless where to find such people, she had to depend on Belema to link her up with them.
Within a week, Belema connected Furo to a wealthy entrepreneur who owned several ventures in major cities in Nigeria. Belema had told her he was in his early fifties but he looked younger and nourished. He smelt of wealth and walked around with authority. Furo spent the next couple of days trying to convince him about the benefits are attached to the account she was proposing for him to open with her bank. She had thought she was making headway until he began to speak.
“Furo, I’ve heard all you have to say and I must commend your ability to simplify all these banking terms,” he said, acknowledging her.
“But the amount of money you’re asking me to put in there is a lot you know, even though I can afford it,” he continued.
As he spoke, he drank a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice that he had asked his steward to prepare.
“I know,” Furo responded to break the short silence. She wanted to get this deal signed without spending the whole day watching him drink and talk.
“The thing is, I want something for this huge sacrifice I’ll be making. Like I told Belema, the only reason why I am considering this is because of her plea and the tight situation you’re in,” He said and took another sip of his juice.
Furo was a bit embarrassed that Belema had given him too much detail. Nevertheless, she braced herself for any outcome.
The prospect leaned forward, looking straight into her eyes, “You know what, I will open that account but on one condition,” he said and paused.
“Which is?” Furo asked, looking a bit perplexed.
“Well, in business nothing goes for nothing. You must always have something valuable to exchange for every transaction,” he smirked. “Let me just go straight to the point. In exchange for this transaction between your bank and me, I want some of your sugar. I want you, Furo.”
Furo was taken aback. It was only then she recalled what Belema had told her about these big boys asking for something in return, in this case, her body.
“Furo, I can go beyond opening that account to changing your life. Are you willing to take the ride with me? Go think about it,” he said.
That day as Furo left his house, she was in a state of dilemma. Would she succumb or get fired? She was not quite sure of her next move….
Unvoiced perspective, telling the corporate stories that are rarely told…
Let’s hear from you, what should Furo do?
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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