Dragging myself to work once again
Nothing awesome there for me to gain
Seventy people divided into clans
None of which into I could blend
Russians, Malaysians and Singaporeans
Sales, HR, Research and Development
Amidst them all stood an alien
Wondering where indeed is her realm

Managers These Days

Case 1

A customer purchased a product by this company I am working for, and encountered some issues, and insisted on having a refund. The Sales team refuses to take his calls, and the Sales Regional Manager asked me to get his email address. Even a Regional Manager does not have the guts to take on the responsibility of just answering a call from a dismayed customer. What kinda manager is that? What capabilities does she have, other than behaving like an Ah Lian and putting on layers of make-up?


Case 2

There is a conference call scheduled for tonight, and all employees are expected to dial in from all over the globe. I did not know, as I am simply a receptionist, and nothing else, except for the email from the CEO, was received a couple of days ago. This morning, HR sent a mass email to remind on this call. I asked if everyone has to participate. Indeed. I do not know if it is a simple teleconference thingy, or do I have to log in to Webex. When I asked the HR senior which number to call from our end, she did not reply. Till now. I asked another HR colleague, he was in a meeting, and asked me to check with the HR senior. I then asked another colleague, and she told me she has an appointment tonight, so she will not be dialing in. She asked me to tell my HR manager that I have an appointment to excuse myself from it.

I then sent a Skype message to my HR manager, asking her if everyone has to call in, she replied, “Yes.” I sensed the dullness in me straightaway, and simply asked if the toll-free number is what we are supposed to dial. She replied with another “Yes”. Period. I refused to say a word more. If I make any excuses, I suppose she will dislike me more, and my days here will be more tortured than ever. Thus, I resigned to my fate. If everyone has to dial in, why are some people excused? This is the so-called double-standard, and I hate it so.

Miseries At Work

When I came for interview for this current job position, I was told that I would be reporting to the HR manager, and that the HR team would assist me whenever in whatever areas, should I face challenges. Now, I feel deceived, extremely.

Not only was the HR team unable to render support, I was guided in the wrong direction 99% of the times I approached the supposedly senior HR employee, who has been in the company for 5 years and even longer than the HR manager, who is here for 2 years. Is she deliberate? Or is she simply of no help to me? I guess the former.

My predecessor left because of her, only to my knowledge much later, which was 2 months after I joined the company. I still keep in touch with my predecessor, as whenever I am troubled with the job or the people here, I would turn to her for advice. From the very beginning, I had tried to sound her out a couple of times on her reasons for leaving, but she was tight-lipped. Only until 2 months into the job, when I confided in her that I was having some issues with some coworkers, then did she share with me the real reasons that pushed her to tender her resignation. Apparently, the senior HR personnel was jealous of her close relationship with the HR manager, as well as with other colleagues, that the former began to tell my predecessor lies, such as how the HR manager disliked the way she dressed, how the other colleagues disliked her and talked behind her back, etc.. None of those tales were true, she found out later. In the end, she left because she felt humiliated by how negatively the senior HR employee commented on her dressing. She felt it was a personal attack, no longer something to do with her work performance.

I have been very cautious around this HR person, ever since I joined this company. I admit that I judge people. I judge people based on their faces. I believe, a person’s character reflects clearly on his/her face. That is, you can tell what kind of a person you are dealing with, from his/her looks. In this case, this HR senior I have talking about has an unfriendly and scheming look. She tries to behave chummy to me, but we all know how villains stab their preys in the back while with all smiles on their faces.

One morning last week, a colleague, was asking for the binding machine and materials, as she had documents to prepare for her superior, and it was urgent for his appointment. In my near 4 months here, I have never seen the binding machine, but I knew that an ex-colleague was the one who was using it all the time. I went searching for it from one end of the office to the other end, and found it at the HR department. Then, I went to get the binding combs and covers, but I could not find the clear front cover in my stationery cabinet. I was appalled, as there is a big stack of back covers, but none of the front covers, which is not quite possible, as my predecessor was a detailed person who would order in advance more than sufficient stock. And I did not remember seeing the front covers even once in the past 3 months. I had no choice, but to ask the accountant, as I supposed other than HR, Finance colleagues would most likely be the one to do binding. But the accountant did not have any of the front covers, and she suggested reusing what we have for our staff handbook. I ran to my workstation to retrieve mine, and dashed back to where the colleague was doing binding, and realized that the clear cover I have was different from what the accountant has. Imagine my frantic, and the colleague who was doing the binding was in frustration, and suggested to ask the HR senior out from the HR manager’s room, where the team of 3 was having a teleconference meeting. I knocked on the clear glass door, and obviously, the HR manager was annoyed as she waved her hand impatiently, signalling me to get in, without looking up. I called the HR senior, and signaled her to come out. Then, mystery solved. She kept stacks of those clear front covers in her cabinet! I was not fed up, but relieved when we got the covers for the other colleague.

When I was back at my workstation, the colleague, who did the binding, came out to me twice, complaining furiously about how ridiculous and unreasonable the HR senior was. The former understood that the office stationery costs does not come from the HR department’s expenses, which means all items should be kept in the common stationery cabinet and be accessible by all employees. She was bitter about how selfish and mean the HR senior has been with her gestures and attitude. When I asked for the clear front covers from her earlier on that morning, she gave the displeased look, as if we were taking what had belonged to her. The frustrated colleague said she wanted to send an email to the HR manager, complaining about this matter, that no one should have kept any excess stationery to themselves, without informing me, the one in charge of ordering stationery supplies, that we had run out of it in the stationery cabinet. But I stopped her, explaining that the HR manager would have sided with the HR senior, and eventually, the blame would come to me, for not checking the inventory. In the end, she did not make the complaint, but was so pissed for the whole morning.

I have been sensing that the HR manager does not really like me, maybe even to the extent of disliking me. One can feel whether another person dislikes him/her from the latter’s attitude, behavior, or even simply a look. This morning, I affirm this feeling of mine. I was late yesterday, due to a train fault somewhere down the line in the opposite direction. Yes, the opposite direction. I wonder why it affected the direction I was travelling in, as well. Anyway, I was late for less than half an hour yesterday, and I made it up by starting work half an hour earlier today. I was at the pantry, doing my daily routine task, when she came in, she knew I was there, but she walked to the sink, dropped something, then walked to her room in the opposite direction, without looking up. Then, she came to the pantry again, this time walking past me to get some cookies, and briefly said a “Good morning”, without eye contact. I felt like a dead person right there and then. I have observed how she interacted with other employees, the other person I saw her “entertain reluctantly” was the colleague who was terminated on the spot last month. I suppose I will be the next to leave in that kind of circumstances.

I have begun looking for jobs. If nothing comes up, I am thinking of registering for a course, and change my career path. I am exhausted of this position and similar scenarios everywhere I have been. It seems to me, even clearer than ever, that HR personnel are assholes. They should be the ones preventing office politics and conflicts, and promoting work harmony. Yet, many of those I have encountered are agents from hell. I am contemplating to stay, due to the insurance benefits and annual leave entitlement. However, given the circumstances, and with the dignity I was born with, I doubt I will be here for long.

Buddha, please enlighten me and lead me to a better path. Thank you.

Monday Blues

When the alarm went off in the morning, I let it snooze for at least three times before I reluctantly dragged myself out of my beloved bed. I was contemplating on going on medical leave today, not because I feel unwell, but simply not in the mood of facing those so-called colleagues. Then, I remembered it is Monday, and my goods are coming in today, and I have to be there. Not that it is an important task, just that it is my duty. Sigh.

The drag-me-to-work feeling continued to my daily routine of preparation for work, then to my journey out of my sweet nest. Here I am, on board the packed train, amongst other early riders, with many heads down staring at the you-can’t-live-without mobile devices. That includes me, with me venting my sorrows here, as early as seven in the drizzling morning.

I have never enjoyed taking the public transport, plainly because of fellow inconsiderate passengers. As I am typing away, the lady standing next to me keeps knocking me with her bulky brown handbag. I always hug my bag in front of me, so as not to block others’ way or to “touch” others unintentionally. Some man has been coughing away so badly, somewhere to my right, and he is not wearing a mask. Young ladies are seated at the priority seats, while an elder lady is standing right in front of them. Well, very few people think of others while in public. I have been brought up knowing my “please” and “thank you”, and the basic manners. Thus, imagine my constant surprise and cannot-understand-why bubbles. And my frustration. Perhaps, we were all brought up with the same rules, however, many people simply do not care.

As I pour out my grievances, I am reaching my station, in another three more stops. How time flies…