Saturday, October 15, 2005

Different Meaning Of Life To Different Culture

As a reminder, I have worked in a semi-government company, in a project situated in a village in Kedah, and in a commission based company, and corporate company. What I have experienced in terms of people there is interesting.

People here are a happy bunch. There's way too much slack time when there's not really a project being undertaken. As long as there's delivery of work, the workers can practically do whatever they wish (within the boundary of appointment letter). Similar to government workers, they can take some time off to smoke, have a drink at the cafe, chit chat with colleagues at their cubicles, etc. Most departments are quite laid-back, while some departments are always on their toes at all times, where they don't really get to slack much at all and occasionally have to stay back everyday (for about a week).

The government benefits bestowed upon them is good. Pay is only satisfactory or below satisfactory, but workers utilise the benefit fully. The strength of this type of company is the family-environment within departments. The weakness, one of the reason that made me not want to continue, is the "laid-back culture". At 40 years old, yes, I'd like that, but not at 24 at that time.

Flexible working demand, average to low salary, most are in satisfied level (that can lead to complacency or loss of drive on life). Travelling within Malaysia is a norm. Travelling overseas is a luxury. Prefers cafe or economical food. Fast food is acceptable. Restaurant eating is a luxury (as compared to Accenture / Ernst & Young that finds is a norm). Hardly ever go to Starbucks or Coffee Bean.

Village People
No, not the group that sang YMCA! Working in a village, be it in a government sector (ministry of agriculture), or own business of paddy fields and fish/prawn rearing, life is simple. Average income is RM400 - 600, from admin staff to accounts executive. Works according to government hours, start work at 7am and leaves by 4pm. Paddy field farmers, according to how many relung they own gets about RM8,000 - RM20,000 per half year (that's as little as RM1,300 to quite a lot at RM3,300 per month!!), usually a family business, so the per month salary is further divided by at least 2 person. Works from 8am to 12pm for four months, and from morning till evenings for two months, and repeat.

Strong family-type amongst colleague, and very strong family bond for farmers. Pushes children to finish up to SPM and then work, or to STPM and then work. Pushes children to get a stable job with the government. Usually difficult to obtain job in corporate sectors due to not having strong command of the english language. Nevertheless, entire families are a happy bunch.

Long after-office hours for family, low pay, most are in happy level. Travelling within Malaysia is acceptable, usually just travel nearby on motorcycle. Travelling overseas is a luxury (and usually not needed other than going to Makkah). Eating at home is a norm. Eating out (be it kedai kopi) is expensive. Fast food is a luxury. Restaurants and hotels is ridiculously luxurious
(and they don't even have the feeling to do so.) Basically, their needs is very very simple. Will NOT touch Starbucks or Coffee Bean.

Commission Based
Most start-up workers are young people between the age of 18 - 25. Due to it being commission based and no or a salary as low as RM400 per month, most only buy motorcycles. Fast food is a luxury, usually will eat economic rice or skip lunch totally, to eat at home after work. Unhappy lots unless they're hardworking and even hardworking ones needs to have the skill to sell.

Average, not sad and not happy, but always worrisome people. Low pay, hoping for commission, therefore hoping for sale. Usually between unsatisfied people, due to constant rejections to selling. Just an example, how would you feel like having to walk from one factory to one factory hoping to sell cartons of Uncle Toby's to their boss to give their workers? As mentioned, prefers to eat at home. Practically wants to save as much money as possible. Due to the non-constant salary, during good commission, usually throws away the commission celebrating or buying something expensive. Vicious cycle of unhappiness and happiness.

Corporate Sector
NO slacking! If you're required to work 8 hours, you WORK 8 hours. Being monitored silently by bosses, and those who don't perform are transferred around the company, to initiate a decrease in motivation to make the person quit on his/her own.

The only place with worker's burn-out, and the ones totally making full use of their annual leave and MCs. From executive levels and below (not managers and above), 30% are satisfied, 50% are unsatisfied, and 20% are always checking "careers" section in the newspaper on a constant basis. The company ranges from small IT company of 5 people, to a huge corporation like Price Waterhouse Coopers.

Workers generally hit above RM1,800 salary mark. Looks forward to weekends to partaayyy... or go out socially with friends, or stay home play Playstation 2 which is affordable (for single people). Sundays to rest to be healthy to face another week. During weekdays, the house is practically a hotel, to go home, eat dinner, do some homework, sleep and stary work again.

Mostly unsatisfied lot. Average to good salary (but only compared to non-corporate, but if compared against work load, it's average to bad salary). Travelling within malaysia is a norm. Travelling overseas is semi-luxury (nearby can lah). Fast food is a norm. Restaurants is a norm for BIG 5 company workers, who can afford Delifrance and Dome quite often, but for non BIG 5, restaurants are acceptable. Starbucks and Coffee Bean is also acceptable or a norm. Eating at home is a luxury!! Haha... serious! With the time left after work, there's hardly time to prepare and cook, unless it's maggi mee or nasi goreng, or rice and one dish.

In summary
Life is on a scale balance. It's USUALLY emotions vs workload vs salary. Workload little, salary little, emotion okay to happy. Workload a lot, salary a lot, emotions not happy to okay. Workload a lot, salary little, emotions sad.

The KEY to workload a lot, salary a lot and happiness a lot is to be really hardworking. That's why workaholics enjoy their work, and usually end up in managerial positions and later have lots of money. Rich Workaholics = Donald Trump & Bill Gates. Rich Workaholic who really prefer to be at work than home = Hugh Hefner. Workaholic who knows when to have fun = Richard Branson. These people are either hardworking, or have courage to initiate things they believe in, which 95% of the world population does not have.

Personally, for me, I cannot be hardworking for 7 hours (minus lunch) in a day. MAX total hardworking-ness is 3 hours in the morning. After lunch, no mood liao.

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