I remember this article hanging at the cubicle of one of the assistant managers of my ex company... which says something like "What the cow says on Boss vs Leader..." It has since been an inspiration for me to put up articles all over my cubicle, some humorous some ironic. But everytime I get frustrated over management, what the cow says comes into mind..
Probably have blogged a million times on bosses and supervisors and work frustration. Today, it'll be a little different. Lets talk about people. We do realise that organisations are in its entirety about people and are all made of people. Yet, many times the asset we value most is not people but achievements.
Some people work for years, gain lots of experience, achieve tons for their company, only to have the company hire someone inexperienced to supervise them. Some people get paid peanuts for building Rome, while watching others get paid buffets for building a mole hill. Some people get screwed for their incompetencies, by those that are incompetent in finding their competencies.
A recent survey of the government sector showed that the no 1 concern of civil servants was the transparency of performance appraisals and rewards or remunerations. It has always been a known fact that appraisals were based on how much your boss liked you, rather than how much you did for the organisation. A HR officer responded to such query by saying that "it is as much your responsibility to make your boss like you, as it is for your boss to like you". My response to that..."BULLSHIT!". So, how can a performance appraisal be transparent when its based on what an individual likes? I remember doing an appraisal for a staff under me. After completing the appraisal, I was told that his final Grade was low and that I had to tone down his appraisal report. I mean, how fair can it be when you get the final Grade first, then write or revise the report? I also remember looking at the appraisal of a person that was promoted. "He is a great worker and is well liked by the staff around him". If I was the manager, I'd shoot the worker then shoot myself. There has to be objective means of assessing a persons worth to an organisation rather than how much people liked him, right? Thats why bosses are being paid 5 figure salaries to find that out, right? Or are these people being paid tons to just be models or garygoyles?
A new initiative that was carried out is the salary revision. Though I shall censore my personal feeling of the issue, one thing I do feel appropriate to discuss is the underlying reason for people to leave the government sector. I do hope that someone would study this and seriously ask why turnover rates of government staff are increasing. There are much much more to salaries and rewards that people look for in their career. Theoretically speaking, we have job security, job satisfaction, responsibilities, blah blah blah. Practically speaking I would say that there are only two things involved: people and living. On people, we have the overzealous peers, the overbearing supervisors, the overscrutinizing bosses, etc... we all know these characters and are involved with them some time or the other. I know people who quit job after job only to find out that these "over-" species are everywhere! There's no way you can avoid them. Either you learn to accept them, or you leave. So, some people I know change jobs every year. Has anyone realised that people are the things that are driving other people out? If you remove a boss from an organisation, you might be able to prevent 10 staff from quiting. If you remove a leader from an organisation, you'd be inciting 10 other people to quit. And chances are, in your current organisation, if you'd pick a target at random, there's a 70% chance you'd hit a boss. They're numbers greatly exceed that of leaders. 70% is a little too kind... I think the ratio is at 9:1...
The second issue is on living. While we all agree that Singapore is a nice country to live in, times are increasingly difficult for the common man. GST is up...housing prices have escalated from "oh shit" to "oh my god". Petrol prices are higher than alcohol. Medical expenses are at "god, please let me die". So, while all these are increasing, funny thing is that salaries are increasing at a much much slower pace. So, how is the common man to survive? I seriously think that one off payments are childs play. "Give you $10 to buy sweet ah.. but from now, cut $1 from your allowance for the rest of your life". Do the math... in 10 installments, the $10 is gone but you continue to bleed. Only thing is that you've bled for some time and don't realise that you are still bleeding. People work to earn a living. The keyword is living. Living comes from the word life...which means, you have to be able to support your own life and the life of your dependants. To me, the minimum a person needs in this century is a shelter, food, transportation, medical coverage and a little entertainment.
Here, you need to take up a 25 year loan to be able to stay in a flat... its not yours per say, you're renting it for 99 years or less. Food is more and more expensive as petrol prices increase. Mee siam that used to be 50c is now $2.50. Transportation is expensive. Getting a car is like having a mistress; it leaves you after 10 years unless you change to another mistress before she leaves. And the current amount of cars and COEs released in the market isn't helping out at all. Cars = Jams = Increased Waiting Time = Petrol wastage = Accidents... You can see that I am not very good at math, but you get the point right? Wonder what they are doing about traffic control. COE and ERP now seems more like a fund raisers rather than traffic control.
Medical coverage has always been a problem, especially for the elderly. And the new policy to allow GPs to set their own consultation fees is not a good move in my personal opinion. I know of a GP who once cheated a child to take a vitamin injection costing $120 while his dad was in the restroom. The same GP charges $60 for consultation, even for the common cold. In the clinic, he give you panadol or paracetamol for fever, lomotil and some activated carbon for diarrhoea, antacids for gastric... purely symptomatic relief. I don't mean to criticize the medical profession, but I do seriously think that these 1 or 2 doctors are abusing the fact that they are the only doctors in a location and that people don't have a choice but to pay them the amount they want. I am very afraid of the future, knowing that sickness follows old age and that our medical expenses are increasing and that the only recourse we have now is to depend on expensive insurance packages.
The other thing I seriously feel strongly about is making the elderly work. Yes, it is a good point to keep fit and have a healthy mind. But nowadays, the issue is not about working to kill time, but working to survive. I spoke to a cleaner at a food court who told me that he can't stop working even after he is dead, because he has wife and young kids to support. Another one told me he needs to work to earn his lunch and dinner...no work = no food. To me, I always believe that old people should do some work... work like Taichi, playing chinese chess, having fun with grandchildren... not sweeping floors, cleaning toilets and wiping tables.
Well, as usual I am disgruntled. While disgruntled, I still stand by my principle that life has to go on. We still have to face people and continue living. So, the cow has given me some thought. Think about it. Have you given it some thought?