The typical Singaporean office looks nothing like what you see on Suits. Actually, being at work can sometimes feel like being on the set of Phua Chu Kang, just that everyone's in G2000 office attire instead of yellow boots. If you've ever held down a full-time job in Singapore for an extended period of time, you'll probably recognise the following archetypes in your local colleagues.
The Balls Carrier
While the Balls Carrier isn't terrible at his work, he definitely isn't the best. Yet he gets ahead, always receiving generous bonuses and being first in line for promotions. That's because the Balls Carrier knows how to make the boss feel oh so good.
His top priority is answering his boss's calls and emails in a timely and friendly yet professional manner, which to him is more important than his actual work. He laughs appropriately at all the bosses' jokes and often pops into his office for a "chat". He is often the only junior employee getting asked along to lunch with the bigwigs. The other colleagues ostensibly get along with him because of his amiable nature, but don't think for a second that anyone trusts him.
Ms Kancheong Spider
The Kancheong Spider personifies the word "kiasee". She lives in a world of fear and panic, and her jittery demeanour is an endless source of annoyance for her colleagues due to her incessant pestering and nagging. Any documents she needs must be delivered immediately or else she'll die of a heart attack.
Her kancheong nature also extends to life outside of the office. She's always the first to rush back to the office after lunch for fear that the boss will see her coming in 30 seconds late.
The Wayang cares deeply about what his superiors think of him, and he'll do anything to create the impression that he's hard at work at all hours of the day. This guy makes a big show of the fact that he constantly stays late at the office.
He proudly walks around the office at 8pm, making sure he's as visible to the boss as possible. He sends out emails before going to bed at midnight, just so everyone can see that he's still "hard at work". Whenever there's a meeting, he's always the first to offer suggestions, no matter how poorly thought-out, a habit that's surely a vestige of his university days when class participation points were awarded.
In actual fact, the amount and quality of the work done by the Wayang is just average, despite the fact that he "spoils market" by always being the last one to leave the office. That's because he just does his work very inefficiently in order to fill up all those hours, spending most of his time surfing the net and chatting with colleagues. But his ruse has worked, and the boss really think he's a hardworking guy who's willing to sit around and show his face. Obviously, he is promoted before you.
The Working Mum
The working mum always comes to work looking exhausted because she was up till 3am trying to get her two kids, aged 2 years and 6 months, to shut up and go to sleep. The boss does not bother to mask his disdain of the fact that she's always running off at 6pm on the dot so she can pick the kids up from childcare, even if she continues working at home when the kids are in bed. (In fact, her output is about the same as that of the Wayang.)
At some point, the Working Mum cracks and, pushed by her colleagues' snide remarks, resigns in search of a more understanding employer.
Mr Bare Minimum
If there's one thing to be said about Mr Bare Minimum, it's that he knows what he wants in life. He has a social life, or at least a gaming addiction, that he deems more important than his career. Good for him, but for his colleagues, Mr Bare Minimum is a pain to work with.
Tell Mr Bare Minimum that you want him to write a report, and he'll send it to you a day late, only to have you realise that by "report" he thought you meant a 50 word summary. Obviously, Mr Bare Minimum is always the first one out the door once the clock strikes 6, leaving his colleagues to pick up the pieces of his half-finished work.
The Office Auntie
It's likely there's more than one Office Auntie at your office, which is great for them, because this species of employee needs other aunties to gossip with, otherwise they wither and die.
The Office Auntie thinks it would be "boring" if she stopped working, mainly because her entire life revolves around gossiping with her fellow aunties. Whether she's bitching about the young upstarts the company just hired, complaining about the boss or discussing the latest in Korean dramas, the Office Auntie knows everything that happens in the office, from which boss is having an affair with his secretary to which employee will be the next to get retrenched.
The Ninja leaves at 6pm on the dot every day, having magically completed all his work to a satisfactory standard. He maintains a low profile at the office, mainly because he is actually working instead of gossiping with colleagues or surfing Facebook. The Ninja does not want to prolong the amount of time he spends at the office, but unlike Mr Bare Minimum, he actually gets stuff done. Due to his lack of OT, the Ninja is probably the company's most efficient worker.
Unfortunately, the boss hates the Ninja due to the fact that he never seems to be at his desk at 8pm. Interpreting his lack of face time as laziness or, worse, a lack of respect, the boss gives the Ninja lousy bonuses and poor treatment.
The Ninja inevitably leaves to work for a foreign company with ang moh bosses, where he is no longer berated for not sitting around in the office till his supervisor has gone home.
How many of the above workers have you observed at your own workplace? Tell us about them in the comments!
The article first appeared on MoneySmart.
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