Do you see what’s wrong with this picture?
Of course, you do. If you see the same thing happened in the news, your first reaction probably be why no one is helping the fallen old man. If the old man is someone in your neighborhood, you might ask around to see if he is alright. If the old man is injured and requires donation for medical aid, you will be reaching for your wallet right now.
But why don’t we applied the same empathy in our workplace? I’m sure if a colleague spill coffee on herself, you’ll quickly pulled a few tissues and offer her. But the help I’m implying is assistance in the work involved. One of my friend, Emily once gleefully told me that her colleague in the same sales team is not making the cut this year and probably will lose her bonus, if not her job. Another of my friend, Anna who joined an American data procurement company as a sales executive beginning of this year, quit her job after 3 months due to lack of support and too many office politics around in the environment.
Curiously, I just had to ask the both of them since they are on the other side of the fence here. I spoke to Anna first as she was pretty upset (and depressed about being broke!), why she would throw the towel and gave up especially the firm has a good reputation in Singapore and the remunerations are great in comparison to the current economy. Even she would want to resign, Anna being a smart girl, would find a replacement job before handing in her letter. Walking out the door without a safety net is not Anna’s nature.
Bundled up in her old blanket and a cup of hot chocolate, she revealed how horrible her workplace was and how shocked at some of the colleagues would maliciously sabotage someone just for a laugh or steal clients from under her nose. Clients whom she had spent weeks trying to close the deal, was swiped away from her. Reporting to her boss was useless, as he himself does the same thing, ordering every staff to “give” up a client or two per month to him so that his personal sales profile looks good on paper. HR’s only advice to her? “Dear, please try to fit in. I know it’s hard because you are new.” That’s not the point! New or not new, that’s blatantly bullying!
The straw that broke Anna’s back was when her colleagues knew she was rushing off to an important client, it was her first time closing a big million dollar deal, someone purposely parked his or her car in front of hers, blocking the only way she could get out of her parking spot. She was rushing around like a headless chicken asking the security team to move the car and back to her office, asking if anyone knew whose car it belongs to. Everyone just shrugged their shoulders. She did make it to her client half an hour late by cab but by that time, her client changed his mind and decided to go with a competitor. Later did she find out the car belongs to one of her colleagues and he was the first person she asked if he knew who the car belongs to. That does it! She left the next day.
While Emily is one of the top sales executive in her firm and she basked in her superiors adorations for being the goose who lays golden eggs regularly. She explained while she knows being secretly happy while someone is having a crappy day makes her a horrible person, it’s part and parcel of the sales world. I beg to differ but I was not about to interrupt her just yet. She wouldn’t stoop as low as stealing a colleague’s sales however, she wouldn’t refuse either if the client prefers to talk to her instead of her colleagues. So instead of guiding someone new to learn the ropes, she usually throw them into the sea and see if they swim or sink. If they swam as well as her, she’ll throw in a few sharks too. Emily insisted she is not a bad person, she just have to do what she did for survival. Forming lunch cliques, gossiping behind someone’s back and snooping around to see whose client lists are just part of her job. “If it means someone loses his job, it also means I have one less person to share the pie with.”
I do know how the business world can be a dog eat dog place. I have been there and see it happened all the time. Some companies realized the craziness how competitive a human can be when he or she is guarding the well-being of his job, they put in rules and incentives, like team work bonus, team outings, department events or even redesigning the commission payout scheme. Ultimately, I believe it belongs to individuals who should be in control of their behavior.
Would you walk over to the fallen old man and step on his hand? No, I don’t think so. If you like what you read, don’t be shy, come and leave a comment.