Friday, June 10, 2005

The War of the Office

Trouble brews in the office. It is a storm here to stay, perhaps, and it is not one of those in a teacup. It will be interesting to find out the consequences, the damages and the victims; I am rubbing my hands together in anticipation already (yup, can you feel it? How all these sound like a Hollywood disaster blockbuster!). I don’t know how and even when it began – for this was my first day back. But there was tension aplenty, and you can’t help thinking you have to stay clear of others’ tempers, the so-call landmines; you don’t want them to blow up in your face, no-no.

I am still shell-shock, I think. Let me first introduce the main casts of this hell of a satirical drama. The public no.1 villain is none other than my manager (nickname: Hitler’s Young), who is newly-promoted, ably assisted by my branch supervisor (nickname: The Screamer/Schemer). On the opposite ring, we have a team supervisor (nickname: The Big Buffalo) who apart from possessing an acidic tongue, I can also say that I count my blessing everyday for not being in her team. There are servant-leaders and self-serving leaders, and she is definitely not one of the former. And lastly, we have another team supervisor (nickname: Timid Mouse), who like a mouse, scrambled all around, in “fire-fighting” style for her work involving system data. But she is also like a mouse when it comes to voicing up her opinions.

The set for the First Act was a meeting called by the manager to discuss ways to improve our workflows. Her idea was to have all parties to listen to the current procedures, so as to gather ideas and feedbacks and at the same time, to brief everyone on their new job scopes, all in one sweeping move. Somehow, message was distorted to the extent that everyone thought it was just a short update of job scopes. And that really got everyone irritated when we read her plot. Sarcastic and unkind remarks were whispered, in between, criticisms were passed openly, namely by another strong character, Big Buffalo (this adequately describes her figure, or her lack of one), whose strength lies in her rare skin colour, which she gleefully shared with our big boss (racial supremacy is only commonplace). But Hitler’s Young, though she is no big boss, was determined to have her way. Don’t get me wrong, I am an absolute follower of Hitler’s Young, out of respect for her way of thinking and applications, nothing more. So amid the disarray, two swords were crossed and Big Buffalo’s prowess was for all to see as Hitler’s Young had to back off for breathing space. I have to say that Hitler’s Young was not supported by his loyal soldiers like me, so that her setback was inevitable. As such, Hitler’s Young had to announce that the meeting (ours are usually marathon-like) would be only for an hour but who’s complaining.

The battle scene switched to one between the Screamer/Schemer and Timid Mouse. I can’t help thinking that Hitler’s Young had been somehow bought over by the Screamer/Schemer. Typical of her, when she talks, it sounds like she is screaming with the pitch of her voice at its breaking point. So I was holding my breath as she conjured her plot in front of everyone to push some of her responsibilities to Timid Mouse, in the name of centralisation and cutting down of workflow. I happened to sit beside Timid Mouse, who I guess, has already known about this beforehand but felt powerless. She was heard whispering under her breath how her tasks keep increasing, while other’s deplete. Well, this one was a no-contest - the Screamer/Schemer won hands down.

The battle line has been drawn. For the rest of the day, with Hitler’s Young’s absence, Big Buffalo was at her desk, cursing and swearing. What a start to her weekend, I thought. I suspect that her anger did not just flare overnight, something fishy must had been going on long before they reached this stage. And I could never put myself in that position. For Hitler’s Young, regardless of her people’s skill, has always had good reasons and intentions for her actions, if you care to read into them. I am keeping myself out of these political wars, as far I am concern. As for Timid Mouse, all she could do was ignored the Screamer/Schemer’s invitation for lunch together.

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