Survival and Godly Life

Recently a friend shared an article on Face book entitled “ I didn’t get where I am today by being nice…

It talks about the fact that good natured and nice people earns £4500 less than their more ruthless counterpart. And it gave the readers a whole list of “Bosses from Hell”

I remember a friend of mine who gave up his comfortable live back at home, and choose to demote himself and work in a place less ruthless than his home town. Indeed, in the world of corporate greed and globalisation, it has turn the workplace into a place where the ruthless survived better.

There was another buddy of mine who lost his managerial job because he choose not to engage in corporate blame pushing . Finally he was overwhelmed by the blame and he ended up burnt out and left his workplace. He would rather lose his job than to direct the blame on his subordinate and to treat them unfairly.

As I was reading the bits and pieces of what the “bosses from hell” is capable off, and the achievements that they have achieve. I cant help wondering how many people are suffering under them. In fact, if one is working long enough we know that people that are unreasonable usually survive longer than the others.

Indeed, the modern office does not like qualities such as, fairness, justice and honestly. They are quick to push blames to others, busy writing emails saying “I did not do it, its not my fault” and the modern office rewards the people who do not work by giving them good performance rating (as you cant screw up if you never did anything) while persecuting the rest who are trying to do duties by pushing the blame onto them and starting massive email wars with others.

The way of survival in modern office is to ignore everything and be mediocre in what you are doing.  Not doing anything will usually prolong your job, as you are less likely to be a target of Corporate blame pushing.

However, this is contrary to what the scriptures tells Christian workers.
“Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,” – Paul (Col 3:22-23)

However, to be able to do that mean that you would not be able to live long in your workplace

I remembered the words of Paul

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” –Paul 2 Tim 3:12-13  

The Descendent Of Cain and Seth

Looking at the achieve the article wrote about the “bosses from hell” I cant help but refer to what Moses wrote about the descendent of Cain in Gen 4:16-24.

Just a quick summary of what is going on in Gen 4. After the death of Abel, God gave Cain a mark, and from then on, mankind is divided into 2 fractions. The descendent of Cain and the descendent of Seth. These descended are described in Gen 4 and Gen 5.

Lets take a look at the descendent of Cain. Here are the summary of some of the descendants of Cain

1. Enoch : The first person who build city, a master city planner builder.
2. Lamech: The first person who practice polygamy, violent in nature. .
3. Jabal: The first entrepreneur, as he dwells in tents and keep livestock
4. Jubal: The first musicians celebrity
5. Tubal-Cain: The first blacksmith and metal worker

Ironically, many of what they were doing were against the commands of God, God wanted the people to populate the world, and they started to use music for secular purpose and they all life full of excitements, they went against the rules of one man and one wife.

They all led lives that had big impact on mankind isn’t it? AT the same time, you if you are looking at the descendent of Seth, there is only did a few thing

1. They are born
2. The have children
3. They died.

Please do not misunderstand that Christians are not suppose to be musicians, city builders, tradesman or entrepreneur. But what i was trying to say is that, the people of God did not glorify in their achievements in life. They lead a simple life following the commands of God and they are not at all bothered about, getting to the top.

what does this had to do with us in the present world? So far i can think of a few points.

What do we want to be remembered for?

The news article, Gen 4, all talks about the big achievements of the people of the world. They are remembered for their glorious achievements, but yet they all seems valueless in the face of God. At the same time, the people in Gen 5 were remembered by God as his truth followers. and they became the line of Godly people remembered by God.

God once spoken through Prophet Malachi

“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another,
  And the LORD listened and heard them;
  So a book of remembrance was written before Him
  For those who fear the LORD
  And who meditate on His name.
  “ They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts,
  “ On the day that I make them My jewels.[a]
    And I will spare them
     As a man spares his own son who serves him.”  
  Then you shall again discern
  Between the righteous and the wicked,
  Between one who serves God
  And one who does not serve Him.” – Malachi (Mal 3:16-18)

So let us learn to be valuable in the eyes of God.

My friend was sharing about the vanity of the work place, and how companies nowadays kind of, through the administration of performance and appraisal, reward the people who are not doing work and yet fire and persecutes the people that are dutifully doing their duties.

Many a times in life, bosses do not remember the 1000 good things you have done, but yet they remember than 10 things that you have made mistakes for. Once a friend of mine showed me his appraisal, which is made up of many accusations of the things he hasn’t done.

Actually, my friend wanted very much to quit from the company, but yet, despite the low “Performance rating” given by his superior, they refuse to discharge him of his duties although he had written for a transfer many times.

His predicament reminded me of this little parable spoken by King Solomon
There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it, besieged it, and built great snares around it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man.” – Solomon (Eccl 9:14-15)

No wonder King Solomon called life as vanities of vanities, and all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. (Eccl 1:14)

For that Parable, the Solomons conclusion is found in the next few verses
“Wisdom is better than strength.
Nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised,
And his words are not heard.
Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard
Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.
Wisdom is better than weapons of war;
But one sinner destroys much good.” – Solomon (Eccl 9:16-18)

I really wondered, with all the funny things that are going on in our corporate culture, are we progressing or just “making a living”? We have to remind ourselves that we live in a world where 80% of work is done by 20% of the people.. while the remaining 80% of the people spends time criticising and downsizing the 20% all in the name of “Better Efficiency” and “Lowering Cost”.

It is hope that one day the management will reward the right people, encourage the right culture. But i guess with the advent of the Sukhomlinov Business Managers and the Report Hungry Generation, that will be an ideal that can never be reach. But again… I still believe in Solomon’s conclusion of the matter 😉 . Let us read it aloud together

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil. ” – Solomon (Eccl 12:13-14)

Meanwhiles, for both of my friends, let us take comfort that although our work is not appreciated, we are still deemed as wise man (At least in Solomon’s eyes). Let us learn to lift our heads high as the poor wise man, and wait on the Lord for his justice.

Lately I met a friend who made an interesting comment “You cant push the blame when there is no blame to push” I was asking him what happen and he said

They were working on an old server that ran out of disk space.. strangely, when the customer resolve the issue.. they just wanted to say that the problem was clause by unused files on the server.. and suddenly his colleague jumped up claiming.. the files are not his and it belong to a my friend..

So we both think, perhaps in our current world, we are so afraid to be blamed for anything.. that sometimes we seek to push the blamed whenever we can. This is particularly true in a corporate culture where the person who made the error is force to commit seppuku. Under the false reason of accountablity.

Sometimes I wonder, is it really that bad to make a mistakes? Doesn’t mistake allow people to learn and grow? Why then is it that everyone is so afraid of making mistakes? And finally, why do we keep singling out people to take the blame instead of spending time thinking about what lessons we can gather from it?

Theres a Chinese sayings 多做多错, 少做少错, 不做就不错. (duō zuò​ duō​ cuò​,shǎo​ zuò​ shǎo​ cuò​, bù zuò jiù bù ​cuò​ ). Meaning, the more you do something, the more mistakes you makes, the lesser the work, the lesser the mistakes, therefore, no work means no mistakes.

Sometimes corporates likes to fire people who makes mistakes.. and they prefer to keep staff that are flawless and makes no mistakes.. Perhaps they may be keeping the wrong man and firing the people that are working.

OK.. lets enjoy this song. I dedicate this to my friends colleague

Title: Sorry, Blame It On Me
Songwriters: Sparks, Clinton; Thiam, Aliaune;
Artist: Akon

As life goes on I’m starting to learn more and more about responsibility
And I realize everything I do is affecting the people around me
So I want to take this time out to apologize for things that I’ve done
And things that haven’t occurred yet
And things that they don’t want to take responsibility for

I’m sorry for the times that I left you home
I was on the road and you were alone
I’m sorry for the times that I had to go
I’m sorry for the fact that I did not know

That you were sitting home just wishing we
Could go back to when it was just you and me
I’m sorry for the times I would neglect
I’m sorry for the times I disrespect

I’m sorry for the wrong things that I’ve done
I’m sorry I’m not always there for my sons
I’m sorry for the fact that I am not aware
That you can’t sleep at night when I am not there

Because I’m in the streets like every day
I’m sorry for the things that I did not say
Like how you are the best thing in my world
And how I am so proud to call you my girl

I understand that there are some problems
And I am not too blind to know
All the pain you kept inside you
Even though you might not show

If I can’t apologize for being wrong
Then it’s just a shame on me
I’ll be the reason for your pain
And you can put the blame on me

You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me

Said you can put the blame on me
Said you can put the blame on me
Said you can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me

I’m sorry for the things that he put you through
And all the times you didn’t know what to do
I’m sorry that you had to go and sell those bags
Just trying to stay busy till you heard from dad

When you would rather be home with all your kids
As one big family with love and bliss
And even though pops treated us like kings
He got a second wife and you didn’t agree

He got up and left you there all alone
I’m sorry that you had to do it on your own
I’m sorry that I went and added to your grief
I’m sorry that your son was once a thief

I’m sorry that I grew up way too fast
I wish I would’ve listened and not be so bad
I’m sorry that your life turned out this way
I’m sorry that the Feds came and took me away

I understand that there are some problems
And I am not too blind to know
All the pain you kept inside you
Even though you might not show

If I can’t apologize for being wrong
Then it’s just a shame on me
I’ll be the reason for your pain
And you can put the blame on me

You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me

Said you can put the blame on me
Said you can put the blame on me
Said you can put the blame on me
You can put the blame on me

I’m sorry that it took so long to see
They were dead wrong trying to put it on me
I’m sorry that it took so long to speak
But I was on tour with Gwen Stefani

I’m sorry for the hand that she was dealt
For the embarrassment that she felt
Just a little young girl trying to have fun
Her daddy shouldn’t never let her out that young

I’m sorry for Club Zen getting shut down
I hope they manage better next time around
How was I to know she was underage?
In a 21 and older club they say

Why doesn’t anybody wanna take blame?
Verizon backed out disgracing my name
I’m just a singer trying to entertain
Because I love my fans I’ll take that blame

Even though the blame’s on you
Even though the blame’s on you
Even though the blame’s on you
I’ll take that blame from you

And you can put that blame on me
And you can put that blame on me
You can put that blame on me
And you can put that blame on me

And you can put that blame on me
And you can put that blame on me

I remember once when I was teaching a lesson, there was a student who shared with me this very unusual case. She spotted this particular classmates cheating in the exams, and she reported that to her teacher. I think to myself, this should be commendable, but then she raised a question to me. “Well, I really reported my classmate because I do not like him, so is this a good thing?”

Her questions reminded me of another friend of mine who wanted to report a person who was giving him alot of problems in office to the corporate ethics department. He managed to gather alot of information about the person and found many proof of his illicit dealing. But in his mind he was purely revenge. He was talking to me about this intense feeling of revenge that motivated his action.

This lead to me to think, what is God’s view over the matter? Is it really something such as Right Actions but Wrong Intention? From the 2 examples given above, the right actions are namely
reporting the evil deeds such as cheating and illicit dealings. But the wrong intention here is hatred and revenge. So we can be sure that there are things like Right actions and wrong intention.

In fact, we all know that our God is a God of justice and hate treacherous dealings. We can read it from the following verses in the bible,

“Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight.” Prov 11:1

“And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien- Because they do not fear Me,” Says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 3:5)

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you. But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (Mic 6:8)

However, as we are doing the right thing, we must also remember that God also delights in mercy and forgiveness. God also revealed that although we may be doing the right thing, God is still the God that looks at the heart of man (1 Sam 16:7). As much as God likes Christians to do the right thing and report injustice and wrong doing. But God ultimately discern the hearts of the man to check for the motivation behind our actions. We can see this in the famous sermon of the mount where Jesus was talking about committing adultery in the heart (Matt 5:27-30), as well as killing a brother in the heart (Matt 5:21-26).

If we suffer wrong and is seeking revenge, always remember that it is God who would dispense justice and take vengeance (Deut 32:35)

God would want us to do justice, at the same time to love mercy. Hence, we all must be careful of what is the motivation behind our acts of justice.

I was out with an old colleague and friend for coffee. He is a supervisor of many operators, and their duties were to handle business forms processing. According to him, the work load for the day varies from hour to hour. There are times where there are no work to do, and there are times where the operators could hardly take a break.

What happen is once, there was a colleague who wanted to give him problem, she visited his project site, she picked the exact time where there was less work to do, and pop in to say hello to his operators.

The next day, she made a huge complain to his boss, commenting that the operators have nothing to do, and it is not very “Cost Efficient” and his boss, being all suspicious of him all along, believed her. And force my friend to cut his operators to a 2 persons operators.

As I am listening, I recalled another management person that someone else shared. This “Management” personnel is constantly suspicious that his hourly paid operation staff would tend to”Work slower so as to clock more hours” And he force his supervisors to devise thousand and one reports so that he can read. He also came up with very funny “Productivity calculation”. The easiest way to illustrate is to take the following example
“It takes 4 hours to fly from Singapore to Hongkong using 1 aircraft”
“Therefore with 4 aircrafts, it is possible to fly from Singapore to Hongkong in 1 Hour”

Now wait a minute is this calculation making sense? Well.. I guess most of this Sukhomlinov business leader cant care less. After reports are being created using such weird logics, these sukhomlinov leaders then call for all operations management to the meeting and complain why it is so “Cost Inefficient” Then they will suggest cutting the manpower to one less head-count. Then they will start the process of “Site visiting” once again.

These problems are a result of the management not understanding the following thing.
1. The nature of the business they are handling
2. Unaware or unconcern about what their operators are doing
3. Always having a feeling that the workers are out to cheat the company money
4. Where the source of income is and where the expenses are

And the result of the managements dumbness, leads to the following
1. Many man hours producing management reports that doesn’t show any important data
2. Man hours spent in meetings staring at these funny looking reports and trying to make sense of it
3. Funny decisions made to the companies operations result to more inefficiency
4. Man hours spent coming up with new ways to track old data.

Now consider this, is it more worth it to concentrate on things that matters? rather than to waste all the time staring at these reports? Is this business of suspecting the operators really a good way to get a business going? Feel free to comment.

Today when I was with a friend, he was feeling pretty downcast…. and being a good friend as I am, I started to hear what he had to say.

Well this friend was working in a place where there was plenty of corporate information hiding, most of the information required for his duties are hidden away, his boss did not care, all they care about is whether, my friend was able to guess the next month revenue, and whether they all get to see their funny reports which can never tally.

Unfortunately, one of the reports receive customer feedback…. which has a butterfly effect similar to the Marco polo bridge incident. Where a minor problem get blown out of proportion. They all surrounded him and accused him of “Not having a good view of his project”, “Does not put his heart into his work”. Which result to now some big shot from the customer end was making a huge fuss over the matter.

In fact, that report never had any link to any bills and was only requested by some report hungry sukhomlinov business leader who never once made any sense with the data until lately he/she got so free to look at it… and thus a simple problem got blown out of proportion. when that happen, it depends on whether one would like to resolve the dispute simply or choose to begin a barrage of emails which is the climax of the corporate game of blame pushing.

Sometimes I wonder if I were him what would I do? Indeed, in the modern game of corporate blame pushing, it is inevitable that one day that they single send an accusation to us, in order to save their own backs. When you are wrongly accused, or verbally abused by your bosses, how should one react?

As I am praying about it, the Holy spirit allowed me to recall the scene of Jesus at his Crucifixion

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.” (Matt 27:27-31)

Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.
And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing. (Matt 27:38-44)

Then, I recalled what Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

Over here Jesus continue to do the work that is necessary for him to finish (Despite all the accusation and insult he received)… During that prayer, I recall another scripture spoken by Elder Peter

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
” Who committed no sin,Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Pet 2:18-25)

But understand this is one thing, I can only pray to God that he would give my friend the strength in spirit to withstand the reviling and accusation brought before him for a simple problem.

Once I remember when i just step out to work, there was many types of companies that interviewed me. In Singapore, there were companies for various sizes, there are companies as big as 400-500 staff, and there are some as small as 6 staff. The like to give themselves many types of abbreviation. Commonly in Singapore, you can hear the following term

MNC : Multinational Company
SME: Small and Medium Enterprise
Listed Company
Local Company with a Global Presence

What does these term really mean to an average worker? Sometimes I remember during the interviews sometimes I asked.. “So, what is the main reason why I should join you?” and the interviewer may say something like “Ohhh,,, You will now have a chance to work in a MNC… (Or Listed Companies). Once in my project, there was this client who always like to brag about her days as a CEO of some MNC.. (From what I know, sells toilet papers only).

Sometimes when she was leading her SME, she is still unaware that there is a huge difference between her ex MNC and her current SME.. she keep making noise over the slightest matter saying “You know… when I was working in the MNC.. I will never accept this type of quality” and over a very trivial matter she made everyone slog for hours and giving excellent productivity.

In fact.. so what is the main difference about being in MNC, listed company SME? To an worker who draws a monthly salary, so how does all these things apply to them?

MNC
A MNC merely means that this company has facilities and other assets other than their home country. They have a global management, very big and diverse businesses. Note that some MNC are merely combination of many small and medium companies which may or many not coordinate their efforts in profit making.

Such companies had an advantage of a huge capital, and the ability to buy up many small companies… leveraging on them to provide service at a much lower cost compared to other smaller companies.. However, their disadvantage is a lack of the overall view of all their businesses, only relying on numbers to make their decision.

One of the major characteristic of the MNC is that they have the highest number of Sukhomlinov business leaders and and fakes.. In good times this is alright because the company has massive capital, and since the management looks at numbers only. The Sukhomlinov leaders and managers can make good looking report (AKA Magical Dress in the Emperors New Clothes) to fool the management. And since the management only has time to look at numbers.. this is usually suffice.

Usually such organizations is full of corporate inefficiency and are slow in making decision. Due to the size and the number of people.. Simple decision can take thousand of years… and the Sukhomlinov leaders created alot of complicated business processes.. slowing down everything.

A MNC is somewhat like a huge monster who needs huge resources in order to maintain its business operations. This is the reason why it needs huge ERP and other softwares, however, with the abundance of Sukhomlinov leaders, they creates tons and tons of paperwork and administrative duties depriving the company of the ability to make quick business decision which is necessary for the current business climate.

For SME employing staff from an MNC, be careful of the creation of many MNC like corporate structure and inheriting the business politics and the start of corporate inefficiency. It would be disastrous to think that the small and miserable enterprise can have the capital of a MNC to maintain such corporate inefficiency.

I never realized I wrote so much, so I better divided up the discussion into 3 post.