Thursday, June 21, 2007

Your choice

Someone has observed that many people in Singapore work long hours - often only having dinner at 10pm, sleeping those few hours (with hardly any interaction with the family) before they start the grind again the next day. In some societies, this is a good thing because it means that there is work to be done and overtime pay to be earned. But in Singapore, people who are under such regimes are probably executive types who are not entitled to overtime pay.

So why do people stay at work until well over the end of the official hour of 5.30pm or 6pm? Regrettably, many do so because of the boss. When I was working in the Raffles Place area more than 4 years ago, I was one of the few who knocked off work on the hour - 6pm. Even if some work remained for me to complete, I always felt that it was another day's work. My family mattered just as much, if not more, than my office. But I did notice that many of my colleagues DID NOT DARE to go off on the hour because they are afraid that their bosses would see them in the lift lobby and think that they are not as dedicated to the company - unlike those who stay until 7pm - well past the official working hour. So Singaporeans stay in the office because they are afraid that their punctuality at leaving the office will be perceived as a liability when time comes for promotions and bonuses.

In other words, if one only gets to have dinner at 10pm, I'd say they have only themselves to blame - not the company - not even their hardworking colleagues who have no life outside of the office. If staying late everyday is a demonstration of devotion and dedication to the job, then it is not sustainable. Something will give - the family, your health and your own sense of meaning in life, a better salary package at another firm, etc. Indeed, I agree with the parting shot - "I want no part in it". But, truly, it is really a choice only we can make. We need to overcome that peer pressure, and weigh the benefits of getting promoted and saddled with more responsibilities that in turn requires longer hours, or be satisfied with a certain standard of living and live a fuller and more happy life.

We have to ask ourselves honestly if we really need to live in a condo, or drive that car, or hob-nob with the trendy in that club house. Why isn't the beach near that much larger HDB apartment (compared to any comparable condo) with easy access to the MRT station not good enough?

The choice is really yours to make.

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1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Thumbs up for you!!

You know what? I am software professional n i have an offer from a top tier MNC investment bank in singapore. Everything ranging from salary to designation is perfect but i got to know that people on average work for 12-14 hours daily, so i am really thinking to change my mind because i cant compromise my family life(just me n my wife).

Hey drop me an email. would like to dicuss this more in detail with u.

My email address is " s h o a i b k h a" (remove spaces)

I think its culture of singapore to work late?