I think, therefore I write. (我思,所以我写。)

Cogito ergo scribo

Monday, April 19, 2010


In JB now, all packed, yet again. Will be in KL for the whole of next week. Boss will be there too.

Since one of my staff is leaving, and he is the best programmer in my team, i'd have to make good use of his notice period, which is left with only a month. We both agreed that he should complete all the outstanding system development before he leaves. I guess the consolation i have a about his leaving is that we are parting on good note. He said i have been a good boss and manager to him, and that was why he would ensure he finishes all the tasks he has on hand and ensure a good transition. I am grateful for that.

Anyway, had a lousy Friday last week, both the IT Manager and i. Boss was in the APAC office, and we were both being asked to come to work on time, at least for two or three days a week.

Yes, we both have been coming in to work late. Our official working hours is 8.30am to 5.30pm. We would normally reach the office at around 9.30am, and needless to say, we NEVER finish work at 5.30pm

For me, i always leave the office after 7pm, and will continue working after i am back at "home" because of my involvement in the projects for countries that are of different time zone. As for the IT Manager, even though he leaves office everyday at around 6pm because he has to pick up his wife from work, he would work from home late into the night (such as 2am) due to the nature of his work (IT infrastructure work often requires the work to be done when no users are using the systems).

Actually in the regional office, no one really cares about the working hours. Most people travel all the time, and we don't even know who is coming in and who's not. A lot of colleagues from the other departments also come in late. This is simply the culture of this office. We don't have an official flexi-hour policy, but we do practice it.

Furthermore, we work till so late every single day, and hence we don't really care much about the office hours. We are doing regional work anyway, and as long as we get our work done, we do not really think that it is that important to follow the working hours strictly.

Yet, my boss doesn't seem to think the same way.

He is the kind of person who would come in to the office before 8.30am, and then leave at around 7pm or later. During the whole of last week, he came into the office everyday in the morning but not seeing any of us until 9.30am. Finally on Friday, he asked us into a meeting room and voiced it out.

Being a very "diplomatic" person, my boss would of course put it in a very nice way. He started off by saying that he needed us to help him to maintain the reputation of our department. At first we were stunned, as we didn't know what happened and thought something went very wrong that had tarnished our department's name.

Then he said he hopes that we could come in on time, even if not everyday but at least for two or three times a week. He said he doesn't want people to start saying things about our department, something like IT/IS department always has no one around from 8.30am to 9.30am. He said that he knew we all work very hard and long hours, but still we have to be careful so as not to let people talk bad about us.

Both the IT Manager and i were very unhappy about it of course. I asked boss if someone had already made any complaints to him, and that the other departments are doing the same too. He then said no one had said anything so far, and he also told us that other departments do that doesn't mean that we have to do the same too. He said if someone were to really raise any issue about this, he would sure defend us, but he needs us to at least come in on time sometimes so that he has a stronger ground to defend us.

Seriously, we both know that it is all his bullshit. Given the culture in this office, no one really cares about our punctuality except him. Furthermore, if anyone really has said anything to him, he should defend us instead of telling us off. And the way he put it is that despite having the need to work beyond the working hours, we are still expected to come in on time, which effectively means that we are expected to work more than 8 hours a day!

I told boss that since he already said so, we will certainly take note of it. But i also made my stand very clear about us working long hours without additional pay, going the extra mile to get things done well even in late nights and over weekends. I told him that when the company starts to be calculative with the employees on things like this, then employees will also do the same too.

In reply to my comments, he dealt his diplomatic card again and said a lot of BS that i don't even care to repeat here. Anyway, i will definitely start going to work on time as he has instructed, but similarly, i will no longer stay in the office until so late nor work in the night anymore. This is precisely what i said -- if he expects me to go by the book, then i WILL go by the book, i.e. to work the exact office hours. Well, perhaps it's good for me too. I will have to force myself to sleep early and wake up early, and at the same time perhaps take up some after-work activities to fill up my time.

There were a few other things that further demoralised us too, as if we are not already very much so. One of them was the annual pay increment.

We somehow came to know that the increment this year would not be good (only low single digit percentage, which is more like an inflation adjustment than a salary increment). Then to make things worse, our Asia MD was too busy to work on the pay adjustment exercise that she wasn't in time to get it done for April, which is the month for the annual pay adjustment. Hence we will not get to know about our increment until May, and it will be back-dated to April as well.

We then asked ourselves, is it really worth it be be underpaid and yet still expected to work like a dog?

Perhaps it is time to start looking out...

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Sigh~~~ why we are always facing the problem?
I was also "forced" to issue a memo for my staffs to remind there's a lateness pay deduction.(why remind? b'cos it's already in co policy). Of course I start to defend them as they are not coming late everyday like me :p
and if they really late for more than 1/2 hours, that means they really have something on, they'll call HR to explain & will stay back to work late or during lunch hour, so I normally just give & take.
Then my boss also give me the same reply like ur boss lor! She know they r working late, but this kind of cultural is not healthy. I know this will be very demoralised to them, as they have been working late with me till 7p.m. for almost the last whole year without any overtime pay. (their pay is low & is actually entitled for OT, but our co freeze OT pay due to economic crisis, so they are working voluntarily, and I did appreciate their hard work)
And I did highlighted to boss, this year many ppl expect significant increment, I don't want to wait until ppl tender resignation, only try all means to retain ppl, this mean nothing to me. I just hope won't receive any more resignation. Headache ah!!!!

If you start to look out and finally find another job, it's just repeating of the cycle, you must look out to be out of this cycle...

wow, another long work bashing blog, cool!

rules are there to be followed, or else there would be disorder, hmm ..... and you're certainly right in asking some fairness especially when the other team can continue the "privilege" while the likes of you who overworked have to show up early just for the sake of maintaining good reputation. this is really an insult. and i'm gonna respect you for rebutting your boss point blank that you'll follow exactly by book... however, to put at your boss perspective, he got his point in keeping the good look. Isn't quite unsightly when top people are missing in their cubicles at 930am? Or it'll become remark by your rival department? At least your boss is showing leadership by example. And then, kindly and diplomatic, your boss did not utter "well, that's because of your incompetency that you need to stay until late to finish the job" (chill, chill).

it's not good to pick on other department wrongdoing to justify one self, but at the same time your boss too is at flaw for not standing up for you all. if the system does not make sense, it should be changed. if the employees are disgruntled, it will be loss for the company too. I remember a taxi driver told me story how he fought in his ex-company on petty cash claim to have it paid upfront rather than bank-in at end of the month (or 2 months later). As an ex-engineer, he used to travel to test sites and the taxi claims were chalked up to hundreds and ate up half of his salary. So he with his other colleagues voiced up this nonsense and the company eventually amended the system. I even heard that IBM's office time starts at 930am. Rather than continuing this nonsense, maybe your boss should "proactively" feedback this to HR that it does not make sense for 830am to start work since the majority work beyond 7pm. it's not about reputation, it's about common sense. hey, who knows by voicing out, your boss might get credit for changing to the better, and good reputation in eyes of top management and also his staffs. maybe you (or your boss) can propose total hours in a day minimum to be 9 hrs, or in a week minimum 45 hrs?

i might be idealistic but it's quite unhealthy and unproductive to think all the unfavourable events of the company when energy should be channelled to make the project successful. When you deliver the project successfully, you prove yourself and your words and voice will then be the loudest. Try to stay positive and think the job as skill and achievement for your own good.

Sui, i have a solution to your problem -- before you receive more resignations, you resign and come to work in SG instead. I'm waiting for you here! ;)

Angel, actually i did do some introspection after that and recognised that my boss had his points too, even though we'd have wished that he could have more courage to stand up for us. I know it isn't easy for him to survive at his position too. He may not have been the best boss, but he isn't the worst either.

See, this is me -- always rant first then self-reflect later on... haha...

singapore is good, can earn good money. and much safer too.

but preaching people to jump ship is not good lah. we must fight and never surrender. we must prevail and never think of losing. and we'll be champion when we're the pioneers who right the system.

(oh my, i'm writing of what i'm not going to do, if i get better offer, i too will immediately jump ship .... )

Share your cogitation

Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:38 am: My troop
Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 4:34 am: Sleeping late
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 @ 3:42 am: I'm so not cut out for this
Monday, April 12, 2010 @ 3:47 am: Summer Bearista
Monday, April 12, 2010 @ 3:27 am: FB Status
Saturday, April 10, 2010 @ 3:46 am: Grandma's condition
Friday, April 09, 2010 @ 3:57 am: Dysfunctional family
Friday, April 09, 2010 @ 3:32 am: Alternative snack
Thursday, April 08, 2010 @ 4:21 am: Still unwell
Thursday, April 08, 2010 @ 3:58 am: To an angel