What Happens When You Don’t Take Responsibility At Work

Reading this article makes my blood boil. A while back, Singapore (considered as one of the safest countries in the world as well as known for our efficiency) has its national healthcare system attacked by hackers.

Personal medical records were exposed to a certain extent. Many of those records belongs to important people like ministers in the country. Immediate actions were taken and investigation were conducted in a serious manner.

This led to the vendor and department in charge of system security being questioned. The shocking part is when the system engineer whom alerted his superiors of the suspicious network activities, his superior choose to to wait for forensic analyses to be conducted first instead of raising the alarm.


Part of his decision was he did not see it is his responsibility to raise the alarm and part of it was that in his own words, “I thought to myself: ‘If I report the matter, what do I get?’ If I report the matter, I will simply get more people chasing me for more updates. If they are chasing me for more updates, I need to be able to get more information to provide them.”

Even as the system engineer alerted his superiors the second time when attempts had been made to access 100,000 patient records, the reply was “Once we escalate to management, there will be no day, no night.”

The issue that I have taken anger with is that the whole incident can be easily avoid if everyone takes responsibility and pride in their role. Every role plays an important part in the community, in the department and the whole organization.

A true leader isn’t afraid of more work. A responsibility person isn’t afraid getting his hands dirty. If it is a nasty problem, roll up your sleeves and dig into it before the problem gets nastier.

Avoiding problems and choosing to step aside while thinking that someone will tackle it, is downright selfish. When in fact, a lot of those problems are easily tackled before it rumbles to something bigger.

If it means raising the alarms, do it. Even when you had doubts. Sometimes, it is better to err on the wrong side but that is what a manager is hired for. To make precise decisions and bear the consequences.


And as the system engineer, I would have gone beyond my direct superiors and straight to the decision maker. You know something is not right, you feel it in your gut, in your bones. It is up to you to make things right even when there is a boulder in front of you.

I never believe in hierarchy. Sure, due respect is given and I do act according to procedures. However, there are times when situations call for me to seek assistance beyond my supervisor, I do that.

Of course, I’ll never go behind my bosses’ and stab them in the back. I don’t tattletale. But I do know it is my responsibility as an employee of the company to report discrepancies.

If my direct head choose to ignore my good intentions, I don’t just shrug my shoulders and walk away. I make sure I’m heard because I serve my company, my employers and my customers but not my supervisors.

There’s more to this incident and you can read the rest here. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

You might be interested in these cases of abuse:

Whisper: My Father Belittles My Job
A Word Of Advice: Someone’s Gunning Down For Me
Guest Post: Bullying in the Workplace


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20 Comments Add yours

  1. ptkmkl says:

    Sad indeed 

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kally says:

      Yeah, I’m saddened by this too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. idoliov says:

    It starts with culture and that needs to be nurtured from the top. Culture is hard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kally says:

      I totally agree with you. Culture is indeed hard to influence but we have to start somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. harper1852 says:

    I was on Facebook one day a few years ago. I asked how many people were at work. Fb went radio silent. How can you expect effencue in the work place when everyone is playing. This computer generation will be the end of us all. I feel like I’m sleeping with the enemy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kally says:

      That’s true. Too many people are social media addicts and risking their jobs for a quick update on FB.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hammad Rais says:

    What matters the most in situations like this is the outcome and how much it will be. Like you said, worst of the worst case scenarios can easily be avoided up if someone use his/her head smartly, at the right time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kally says:

      The sad part is that many still don’t think they are wrong to push away responsibility. If everyone can own up to their mistakes and learn from it, not hide and push away the blame, the workplace would be a much efficient place.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hammad Rais says:

        I couldn’t agree more.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. msw blog says:

    This is a great post to reminded us all that we have a role to play in the bigger picture. Sadly, ever profession has these incidents , you and your readers may enjoy this poignant post on the subject

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kally says:

      I always love your posts. I try to find time to read them in a batch! Thanks for sharing them here.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. msw blog says:

        Thank you. I enjoy yours as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Presumptions of safety are a KEY to THEFT. Abetted by incompetence only adds to the likelihood.

    A manager who first ask “HOW WILL THIS AFFECT ME” ought to be terminated

    May God Protect us from the foolish and FOOLS


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kally says:

      I wish I have an armor that protects against fools. Can’t stand them, can’t join them either.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Even the best system can be compromised by incompetence and indifference.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kally says:

      Totally. After all, it’s the humans that create the system.

      Liked by 1 person

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