It is hard to imagine that slavery exists in today's age and amongst the "elite of society", but it does. Wherever greed and the love of mammon is the overriding factor in a business, a fair days wage is the first victim. You don't have to wonder about the ethics of professional men (and women) that pay their secretaries and other administrative personal a non-living wage. You know what they are which is not what they pretend to be. The truth hurts.
The poor will always be with us - my favorite book, the Bible says so and that they should drink red wine to be comforted. However, the Bible also says to treat your workers / employees / slaves even fairly. So why is it that we see so called "Christian" professionals treating their people like dirt? Why do I see middle-aged moms struggling to survive on the pittance they earn at lawyers offices? Or doctors for that matter - actually all professions are guilty of this. They pay their workers as little as possible and reap as much as possible for themselves.
If you think about it; the secretary earns on average less than a six hour fee which you pay your lawyer and she earns that per month. That is right, it is outrageous! Let me say again - what a partner in a law firm earns in six hours, less than a day, is paid on average to the secretary for the whole month. It is a scandal of epic proportions. Why are there are no unions or some sort of a reaction on it? Why do they get away with this, which is a disgrace in the eyes of God, society and everything which is decent in life - because they are educated men? That should increase the burden of responsibility, not decrease it!
Now I understand that economic times may be tough (it never is for professionals - I am one too - you just follow the Shoprite / Petrol Station principle and increase your fees), but this is unacceptable. You often see more than what you read and let me explain: When you speak to the professional he will tell you "times are hard and you need to tighten the belt, cost cutting exercises etc." At the same time you notice the new Mercedes or BMW and the needlessly off-road equipped Sandton 4wd with bush caravan in the garage. Or the obese bodies dining with clients at expensive restaurants every day. So how tough are times for you Mr Professional? I don't see you walking to work. Or taking the bus, which is dangerous, or a taxi which is a death sentence at times. Nor do I see you scale back on your overseas holidays, or the diving holiday to Mozambique, or the shopping spree in Dubai. Seeing is believing - tell your crap to those who care - long haired liberals and your own despicable friends which is not me - I despise people like you. I know of law offices where the personnel turnaround is 100% every six months, which tells its own story. It is sad and to be wondered why not more of that type are murdered by clients or abused staff. What you sow you will reap - it is a very simple concept in life. Some calls it karma - I call it payback and judgment is coming.
I speak of this in my book Tricks of Trade - Memories of a Rogue Lawyer where we looked at something called the "Open Grave Syndrome." I guarantee you; if you accompany me to most of the law firms (and private hospitals etc) you will find the following: A very nice reception with an impressive library stocked with legal books no-one reads (it is all online and computerized these days). You will see and smell very expensive leather furniture and find a Pretty One sitting behind the desk dazzling you with a smile when you arrive. The boardrooms are the same - quite well stocked with everything from cold drinks to percolated coffee with genuine paintings against the walls. They themselves wear pointless expensive watches, the old university tie to show you how educated they are and probably shoes made by child labor in a Third World country. This is part of the bullsh-t game which comes with a professional and these days you also find the mandatory picture of political leaders too. Nicely against the wall so they can be seen as patriotic.
You may ask me "so what?" The answer is simply this - who pays for all that? Any well-kept grave looks the same. Nice headstone, nice grass, nice flowers and probably overlooking the hills but inside....dead decomposing bodies. If you care to walk with me to where the slaves are in this very same law office, you will find small cubicles where attorneys sit surrounded by noise and files. The poor things have no privacy when they answer your calls and everyone listens to the answers given - a serious breach of confidentiality. How they concentrate I would not know. Frankly, it is my version of hell.
Considering the Pretty One as a receptionist? Very rash idea - when you see a lawyer (since our beloved president signed the Legal Practitioners Bill yesterday the distinction between attorney and advocate is rapidly leaving our shores) you are usually in trouble. The smart choice would be to have a middle-aged motherly type who fusses over you. Nor should your office be too grand for it may then be seen that you suffer from the "Open Grave Syndrome" and clients will wonder if you are charging them correctly for someone (you, the client) must pay for the add-ons. It is never for free where the professionals are concerned. Many tend to have a terrible "I studied so I am entitled" attitude in life and it shows clearly. They still have to learn about the University of Life, the school of hard knocks where you really learn what is important. A diploma / degree just mean you studied and passed exams. No big deal.
It is easy to abuse a woman with children who really needs the job. You see them every day; they have lines on their faces from worry. They wear old but clean clothes because they cannot afford new ones. They drive old cars or take the bus because they cannot afford any better. But they are loyal, they keep on smiling, they run your practice for you and take care of you when you have a bad day. What type of man (or woman) proudly states his support for Rhinos and neutered cats on the back of his car but will not pay his employees a living wage? A Christian God Fearing person? Nope, a servant of mammon and worse if you ask me. Your deeds have just betrayed your god - that is why they say that there are no lawyers in Heaven. What would a lawyer do there anyway? There are no disputes, no hatred and no misunderstandings, nor crime. You are not wanted and your skills are no longer of no use to anyone. Go on then - serve satan as you did on earth. However, I believe your secretary will not be with you at that place.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.