As you all know, life is made up of nice (and some not so nice) little pictures tucked neatly into the 2 albums called the Brain and the Heart. And as with all pictures, they fade and degrade and after a long time, we can no longer know what the pictures are trying to tell us -- these pictures are the ones stored in the Brain album. If you really want to preserve pictures (especially the most treasured ones), be sure to put them in the Heart album. They will always be there for you to remember and enjoy for the rest of your life.
I will share some of these vignettes from my recent life with you over the next few weeks. They are still fresh in the Brain album.
The Case of "The Irritating Colleague"
When I left my job in Singapore, the company was going through (and still is) a very common problem, that is the influx of cheaper (and more easily satisfied) foreign workers. The company can pay them less because they come from poorer countries and they are also willing to work harder for the same buck than their Singaporean counterparts (who have risen above the "poverty level"). This influx usually makes the workforce less cohesive, leads to anti-harmony in the workplace and saps the already-dwindling fun out of it. However this is inevitable as a country progresses and so its people must somehow find a way to swim or sink.
Under this umbrella term "foreign workers" are a few major sub-divisions which differ in notoriety. I have always heard complaints from friends (both from the engineering industry as well as others) that foreign workers from a particular country step on their toes especially hard. I have always reserved judgement because I have not worked with these people on an intimate level. But this global sweeping workforce-conversion phenomenon has finally gotten to me and now I know the basis of these complaints. I will not mention the country in context but I think many of you will be able to guess it anyhow.
Irritating colleague trait #1: Always trying to get his face into the picture
Example: The boss and I were talking about me completing all the required online training within a particular day. He was not even in the conversation but had to force his way into it by saying "I also completed the training". In actual fact, I did more online training than him on that day.
Irritating colleague trait #2: Being ultra-friendly to colleagues but totally foul-mouthed outside
Example: He would be all friendly and Westerner-like to the people working in the office but he would be very quick to swear at things like slow drivers, late trains, etc. If you are a friendly person by nature, you won't swear like that. That is simply what I am trying to say.
Irritating colleague trait #3: Not respecting the privacy of others and being very rude
Example #1: I am at my desk writing on my work journal and he would pop behind me and look over my shoulder at what I was writing and then ask me what I was writing. Is that any of his business?
Example #2: He had problems with his computer and wanted to try something on mine. I was not using my computer then but was just beside it reading. He simply walked over and started using my computer FIRST before asking. What is this? The stone age?
Example #3: During one of the training sessions, I placed my handphone face down on the table where he sat as well. Without asking, he just took it up and looked at it. My goodness! Need I continue? Of course Ision's face was my phone's wallpaper and he had to ask who that was. I simply said that he is my partner (my mini coming out story) and nothing more on that came from him. Thank God! I wouldn't want to educate a caveman on human sexuality.
Example #4: We were talking to the boss in his cubicle and he just proceeded to flip through my boss' documents laid out on the table. This is rather telling -- invading the privacy of others with his rudeness is simply his innate dysfunctional behaviour (and not even the boss can escape from his "wrath"). He really doesn't know it is something very rude!!
As all of you already know, I am a person who tries to avoid conflict and awkward situations as much and as best as I can. So I did not really express my disapproval to all the things I cannot stand about him. One might call me a doormat... But I know I have a breaking point like every one else and once that threshold is crossed, I will make myself heard. So far it is still bearable because unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary, I will not talk to him and distancing myself from him like that (and in the process identifying him as a bumpkin from a third world country) has helped to make me feel better in his presence. We started as new employees on the same day and I guess we still have a long way to go and that is yet another reason why I refuse to blow things up unnecessarily. It also doesn't help that we get to and from work on the same shuttle bus and train line. Sigh. Why can't he be a cute hunky Caucasian?
How would you deal with a person like that if you were in my shoes? And have you guessed which country he is from?