Sunday 13 April 2008

Whom should we hate

There is a guy who joined our department not too long ago. Having been in the department for a few months now, he hasn’t really made a good impression of himself, at least not amongst the colleagues.

Words are going around that this new guy, let’s call him Matt; is only willing to do ‘high level work’. I don’t work with him but judging from the words of Matt’s team-mate, seems like Matt is only willing to do high level analysis and prepare high level report; those that go to the top management.

Of course, you might see nothing wrong in that, Matt is merely being ambitious. But then again, you and I know that working in the corporate slavery world means there are a lot of low-level donkey jobs that need to be done. I am not referring to photocopying or filing, I am referring to stuff like monthly reconciliation statements, monthly closing reports, monthly control checks… stuff like that.

Apparently, when Matt is given such work, he will actually say ‘NO’ to them. He will reiterate that he is there to do high level analysis report because that’s what he was employed to do; he is a former analyst. Therefore, if you ask him to do monthly calculation based reports and control checks, he will rejects them.

That’s where the problem began. Work rejected by him is then conveniently handed to other people in his team. Now, they have to do these donkey jobs. They initially thought that having an initial head count will lighten their work load but seems like they are wrong. Naturally, comments such as “he thinks he’s damn great”, “he thinks so highly of himself” and “that smart ass” began to spread.

Like I said, I don’t work with him. On top of that, I am quite close to people in Matt’s team. Naturally, biasness creeps in and I began to have a very negative impression on Matt. And because he rejects work, he gets to leave office earlier compared to the rest. That is like the nail in the coffin! How many of you would despise such individual?

After doing some reflection, my impression on Matt changed…

In Matt’s first week, he was telling people about his experience and that he was employed to do analysis. Now, I don’t know what transpired during the interview but I will not be surprise if the management promised him the sun, moon and stars during the interview. Therefore, when Matt rejects work that he thinks is not in his job-scope, is he doing something wrong?

So Matt says no to donkey jobs, and he only gets to do high level review and analysis report. As there are not many such reports, he gets to leave early which made us all upset because we need to stay late. Wait a minute; is Matt taking advantage on us? Or is he just doing what his employment letter allows him to do?

Because Matt says no to all these donkey jobs, they landed on the desk of my colleagues and they have to do it, adding load to an already over-loaded schedule. I know a lot of these donkey jobs are outside my colleagues’ job scope. They have to do it because we are all infected with the I-cannot-say-no-to-my-boss virus. But hey… in all fairness, should they be mad at Matt simply because they have no guts to say ‘no’ to the management?

I know some of you will say that Matt should have a sense of team-work and share workload with his team. Make no mistake, this ‘sense of teamwork’ or ‘do not let your colleague suffers alone’ is a silent curse. That is the thing that enslaved us… and that is what employers feed on, manipulate… and make us do their biddings. My friends… refusing to employ more people and then make us exercise excessive ‘team-work’ is how we are all enslaved…

And you know what is the irony of it all? From what I observed, Matt’s chances of promotion, increment and bonus is just the same as my other colleagues.

So, should we hate Matt? Should we hate our bosses? Or should we hate ourselves?


Anonymous said...

If I were the boss and I hired Matt to do 'high-level' analysis and I find out he's doing donkey work, I'd be pissed.

Anonymous said...

My colleague, B T is like Matt. He has done nothing much and the whole company know that.

But like Matt too, simply because it is not B T's scope of work.

I starting to like the way B T works.

myop101 said...

Well, like I said, just keep it to contract employment. Makes life simpler if they think we are contractors and any variation in job scope will result in variation orders aka higher charges.

That will force management to plan its resources better....:P

Anonymous said...

well, i guess when you are standing at different angle, you'll see different things..and how u potray it is great!

who to hate? if the management really gave him the specs of what he should do then i guess saying no is ok since it's not in the job requirement.

i guess got to check ourselves first before we point fingers, eh? check what we are employed to do and do it properly.


Aleckii said...

Exactly. And I always believe that there are both sides of the story. Although our friends might get the better of us, it is simply unfair to jump to any conclusion.

And yes, I salute people who dare to say 'no'. He could have just bowed down and rolled over, but he didn't, he dared to say no and stand up for his rights. Some might think these people are crass, rude, I just think these people have character! Never settle for anything less!


Anonymous said...

yes, darn right.
had a situation before where my job scope just doesnt include doing menial admin work. not to say that i was being arrogant and a bitch, but have u seen the dentist being "ordered" by the nurse to go do banking? urgh, hello! no thank you!

i said no. she called me a bitch.
i said go ahead, but if you check my contract, doesn't say that my job includes doing banking or admin work. that's YOUR job.

my fault was that i was being too nice in the beginning and helped out, in the end with that kind of mentality of theirs, they naturally think they can walk over me.
sorry, no.

at times you gotta put your foot down, but within reason, obviously.

KittyCat said...

I agree with 'Adrian' above. I used to be infected with the "hate to say no to the boss" syndrome esp if he/she is good at justifying why I should do it. After a management training, I realize (as Matt clearly does) that you ARE supposed to only do what is stated in your job description. Good post!

flaminglambo said...

I thought it was a Gen X v Gen Y post.

Admin and occasional brain-dead tasks is covered by the term 'ad hoc duties' in most job specs isn't it?

I think it's ok to say 'no' amongst colleagues when one is loaded to the teeth but the person that gets the rejection also has the right to go up to the manage/supervisor and inform them that so & so has rejected the task. It is up to the supervisor/manager to deal with it because they're the ones that will conduct the performance review and to, well, manage or supervise.

Personally, if Matt is good at what he does, I'm pretty certain that management will let it slide. If they want to make sure that he's a team player, they would mention it at performance reviews.

Seaqueen said...

I agree with myop101. It all depends on what you want in life. Whether you think you're born in this world to please others or to make yourself happy.

Anonymous said...

"trying to be hero" syndrome in the office

end up having people depend/take advantage of you

matt may be annoying but he still "perform" in the eye of upper management

i say matt is smart...he knows how to avoid slavery

if i were single/young fresh grad...i dont mind to do those thing because i'm looking for experience

Huei said...

ok fine i hate myself for doing every shit work in my previous company..i'm was programmer doing admin work! actually more of an exam invigilator..damn sad wey..they wana change my title oso! so i did wut i had to do..RESIGN!

Purple~MushRooM said...

I also refuse to do anything which is out of my scope of work. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I did my part well, so, whatever that's not part of my job scope, I prefer to leave it to someone else to handle it. There are always junior to do all those donkey job. I was a junior before and did many donkey jobs, so now its my turn to pass all donkey jobs to juniors.

Anonymous said...

The business increase numerously, the workload increase proportionally but the workforce and salary increase minimally. Sooner or later people will jump ship and the management happily hired new graduates with peanuts pay.

Typical Malaysia local company's management.

Jorji said...

matt is right and if we all follow matt style, we all will be free from slavery (means,all business will closed also)

bongkersz said...

I love Matt. Matt is smart :) We all should emulate Matt. I refuse to do things outside my scope of work too, to a certain extent of course.But, if I have the time and lesser workload I am happy to help. The syndrome of 'hate to say no to the boss' is really not healthy. If you never bitch it when things are assigned to you, don't bitch about it later. I had countless of conversations with friends.

A : So tired and fed up. Many things to do and some of it not even within my job scope. My boss/senior just dump everything on me. But I see other colleagues quite relax, not many things to do. *sigh.. sigh*

Me : Then talk to your senior/boss about it.

A : I don't dare/Nevermind la/No use one/Aiya what to do/ (Along that line)

Me : ..........

Anonymous said...

Betcha your dumb colleagues tell their salary history to their future employers too.

I get volunteered that information when I never asked for them when I go through applicant's resumes.

Then these people bitch about how they never get better pay, because they don't know or bother to learn how to negotiate their salaries.

Helen said...

Of course not. Matt is hired by the company. If the company is not happy with him, they can ask him to go. If other colleagues are not happy with the way Matt do things, DEAL with it. Fellow workers are not the one paying Matt.

Summore I don't have respect for people who bitch behind about workload and never have the guts to speak up. Donkey jobs are suited for silent suffering donkeys.

Nobody should hate Matt for working smart. :-)

CK said...

should hate Matt cox he's damn smart.
should hate bosses for not employing more ppl.

BUT should hate ourselves cox we chose to be where we are now, chose to be silent etc.

Jennifer said...

I'm surprised that the responses of this turned to be like this. At first I thought many will hate this Matt but surprisingly more and more are feeling/being like Matt. Nothing wrong with that honestly. I guess in big company, making your stand is important. I also think the management should make clearer appointment letter too to outline every employees' job scopes. I have heard too much complaints too.

I too am doing more than my scope but I never complain actually. Mine is a small company. Even though my title is IT administrator, I do a lot of admin work and marketing work. Sometimes help with proposal and typing report too. What to complain about when I still get to go off work on time. Hahaha!

Anonymous said...

The first stand is to stop revealing your salary history, nuff said.

Else, you all got no balls ever.

huntressmoon said...

hate yourself for not having the guts to say no to your boss.

i too have rejected donkey tasks and hit the ball back the person who is suppose to do so.

other than that, know your job scope and be confident with it. if you are hired as an analysis and required to work within the scope, do it. once in a while you can always lend a helping hand but if its a chore like duty then i can say no.

Jun said...

wat wud u do if u were in ur colleague's shoes (ie under matt)?

sengkor said...

many years ago my boss hired a girl to leverage my workload.. but during the training, she told me she wun do filing. so, evertytime she completed her work, she'll pass me the paperworks for filing. of course i brought this up the boss! wtf..

zewt said...

adrian - not really... if he does it ON-TOP of his normal working hour... arent u please?

k.h. - yes, BT is not doing anything wrong. different perspective...

myop101 - so... we should change the scene to 'more contract job' eh?

Lynnwei - we always check what we are supposed to do. but we are always asked to do more... and that sucks. so it's up to us on how to handle that.

aleckii - judging from the way things are progressing, i have a feeling more and more will begin to say no. it's a good evolution.

pavlova - so, you're dentist eh? dentist doing admin job, that is a bit too much la. should really say no.

kittycat - we always know what we are supposed to do... but can we be assertive enough to say no?

zewt said...

flaminglambo - i heard he is good at what he does, just that the rest arent very happy with his not-so-asian attitude. yes, the management will have to handle everything, we should stand our ground.

seaqueen - we are born to please ourselves. then we ask... can we please ourselves without money?

erm - experience? that is also another self-dug grave... it's a trap... it's a trap.

huei - hahahaha... that is the ultimate step. if you have no commitment, then ok la.

purple mushroom - you're on contract, you are not looking for promotion and increment and bonus... the situation is different.

willchua - you have brilliantly put everything in a nutshell. well said.

j or ji - bulls eye.

zewt said...

bongkersz - hahaha... there are just so so so so many As in this world... right?

ShadowFox - you go through ppl's resume? hmmm... you're a big boss eh? :) ok, i will remember your salary advice.

Helen - precisely... my sentiments exactly!!!

CK Tan - wah... so much hatred meh? hahaha...

Jennifer - hi, welcome to AZAIG. hahaha... if additional work is just keeping you occupied and not giving you extra stress, then i think it's ok la. but when you're overloaded and kept being loaded more, that's when the problem come.

HuntressMoon - yup... let's keep this spirit high. let us spread this good virus... let us all be slave no more.

Jun - i said 'this is not my job' to my boss a few days ago. what do u think i will do if i am in the same team as Matt?

sengkor - what did your boss do to her? :)

Jerrenn said...

Hate no one and make peace instead =) haha...

Cocka Doodle said...

Actually, why do you always feel 'enslaved'?
Did you not do your homework properly prior to joining this line of profession or the company?

I always tell my boys, "if the kitchen is too hot, get out. The door is always open." You have that choice.

myop101 said...

of course zewt... we should. remember, i am not in 1 place longer than 2 years...:P

Huei said...

ohh ofcourse..must have backup plan. find a new job and sign the offer letter first! =P hehehehe

huntressmoon said...

cocka doodle: do u know, the higher the turnover of staff is the higher the loss of the company.
this is a change of century, nobody works for a company for being enslaved no more. that is why job hoppers are not a bad thing anymore, they are merely opportunist. Everyone wants to be appreciated. If a staff leaves the company does not make them a quitter that they can't stand the kitchen. it shows that they have a bad leader. if they cant handle the job, identify the root cause first because telling them where the door is. that is ONE of the main reason why people leave.
I remember my ex CEo used to say to his new staff, our company is like a bus. Anytime you feel like leaving the bus, just press the button. He stopped telling that story after 30 staff that served him more than 5 years left.

zewt said...

poseidon - wahh... defeat the purpose already like that.

cocka doodle - wait till all my commitment is settled, i will certainly head for the door.

myop101 - hahahaha... too much hopping is not too good either la.

huei - smart... smart move.

huntressmoon - your ex CEO must have had the time of his life. i think the mentality of ppl has changed already. i can tell that ppl in malaysia are getting more and more vocal and daring. soon, the employers will face the reality ... just like how the govt face the reality on march 8.

Anonymous said...

None should you hate. You should hate your boss instead.

Jun said...

haha i dunno... tht's why i asked ;)

zewt said...

jam - can also...

Jun - i will say be Matt, version 2.

Cocka Doodle said...

Yes, I also know that if management don’t ‘nip the problem in the bud’ and let them go, it can lead to a GREATER loss to the company.
Change is good; I’m all for it. However it is advisable to be done incrementally as opposed to drastically. I’m not saying that I’m in support of slave-drivers, but don’t you agree that the employee is equally at fault here?

Yes, everyone needs recognition and appreciation undoubtedly; but in order to get that, one has to EARN it and prove that he/she is worth their salt.
Depending on which side of the coin you’re looking at, one of the main reasons why staff leave after a short stint is also because they don’t really know what they are getting themselves into in the first place; and the job demands etc.
This is largely due to their complacency and lack of research on the company and the line of business they are in; or like you put that they are merely ‘opportunist’. Coupled with an attitude problem or lack of passion and drive to excel, they normally don’t fit into the corporate culture and they end up blaming the employers rather themselves for their deficiencies.
Here, it is imperative that the company’s HR gets its screening process right. Whenever we screen the resume of a potential candidate that has worked for a number of companies over a short stint, undoubtedly, there will be a pre-conceived notion that the individual is a jobhopper.
In a company like ours, we usually don’t paint a rosy picture of the scope of work and the expectations. In fact, we tell them how shitty and tough the job demands can be, so as to prepare them mentally and if they think the hat fits, they are expected to give it 110%. Nothing less. Having been selected, the 6 months arduous probation imposed would really suffice to tell if the candidate is suited. We make it clear that as much as the company is testing him out during the entirety of the probation period, the candidate should also gauge for themselves if the job is right for them. It works both ways.
Oh yes, and we do not exploit them by not paying them overtime.

Aiyah Zewt, sorry I hijacked your comment box for such a long winded comment. LOL

Cocka Doodle said...

One more thing, Zewt, in the event of a headcount due to economic downturn or technological obsolescence, the likes of Matt would be amongst the first on the list because they can be perceived as not versatile or cross-functional.

zewt said...

cocka doodle - i think in times of economic downturn... i think they will kill those high pay fellas first... those high pay and not in senior mgmt... certainly not me... and not matt...

Anonymous said...

I've done what Matt has done before, rejecting work when it is clearly out of my job scope.

My boss once, after a full work day asked us to stand by 24 hours for an event (which they should have hired events people).

I was pissed and I just went home. I did that for a few other incidents and later on they considered me for a management role. Because I knew how to say 'no'.

It pays to be gutsy sometimes.

zewt said...

mr jp - well done... well done... you should write a testimony.