When journalist Fred Smith got a new job with Accra-based television ETV, he thought reporting early for work would earn him a little space in the good books of his colleagues and perhaps management.
He was later to learn to his utter shock that it would ruffle a lot of feathers in the media house.
Fred was expected to report at 7:00 GMT but did 4:00 GMT – three clear hours earlier – just to ensure he could help with production for the station’s breakfast show. He also wanted to avoid traffic on the busy roads from home during the rush hour.
Unfortunately, one of his colleagues reported Fred to management to take action against him. She claimed Fred’s action was “troubling” and was not best practice.
These revelations were contained in work memoires of Mr Smith who recounts his work life from a young reporter to an editor at Ghana’s biggest English language media house, the Multimedia Group.
“I was summoned by Management to answer questions about coming to work too early. Frankly, I was as startled as I was shocked. I just didn’t understand what was happening then until later,” Fred wrote.
Africans are often criticized for not being on time. The abbreviation for Greenwich Mean Time, GMT, is sometimes described as Ghana Mean Time, albeit jokingly.
Fred Smith has since moved on from ETV and is now an editor with the Multimedia Group’s JoyNews channel and Joy FM.
Asked if he’s still going to work “too early”, Fred said responded in the affirmative.
However, this time he’s expected to be in early enough to produce the FM station’s 6 am news bulletin.