What’s it like at work nowadays?

Don’t get me wrong. I love my job.

Over and over, I’ve always said that I put in the hours not just because of the money, but rather because of the pursuit of excellence. Hence, it makes me high after a huge career achievement despite the exhausting days of non-stop work.

However, I’ve not been liking work lately.

Not because of the change in job description, but rather on the tense and competitive atmosphere at work, made even more challenging given the upcoming layoffs expected in 2009.

Gone are the days when people are friendlier and more relaxed. Now, people are releasing their inner beasts and biting out to those who try to latch on their territories. My colleague is the worst. It pains me to work just beside her. Some days, she’s so manic-depressive that I can’t help but mutter, “Bitch” under my breath.

Isn’t it great that there’s a bit of competition going on?” my line manager told me yesterday. “At the least, everyone is inspired and works even harder. Now, I see a team that’s just going and going.”

That bothered me.

I hate full-on conflict. I dislike rough competition. I like work environments where everyone gets along and moves towards a common goal, not a place where everybody wraps their arms around their tasks and go, “Mine, mine MINE!”

My heart doesn’t like the negative vibe at work. It’s even worse that everyone’s desperately trying to keep their job to the chagrin of their colleagues. It’s just a bad for the morale when you know business would not be great in 2009 and it’s the time when no job is secure, no matter how much you kicked ass previously.

Whenever my boss places the spotlight on one of us, the rest become jealous. It’s not a terrific place to go to work. And, if one day my colleague got promoted over me, I swear that I will quit my job. I refuse to be in an environment where I am forced to work and cooperate with people I don’t like and respect just because they fight dirty. Because hell, I am NOT that desperate for money. 🙁

These days, I receive messages from concerned client friends and contacts, worried that I’ve already left the Firm. Emails about my firm’s negative news are being forwarded to me by colleagues who are unhappy about their bonuses which btw, is around 50 to 80% down from its peak. It frustrates me when everyone finds it difficult to focus on the job and rather are concentrated on office politics instead. I find it dismaying that people joke about leaving or not being able to afford lunch.

The financial tsunami is here, and it is real.

You see it in the news and everywhere around you is affected. You see the huge waves coming and there’s really nothing you can do to stop it, save to strapping yourself to a tree, bid a prayer and hope that you don’t get washed away.

And for me, what is it that I need?

I need some peace at work. I want to focus on the job itself than passive-aggressively fighting with my bitchy colleague.  I wish that I can be friends with my other colleagues, quite impossible especially nowadays when everyone has that you-against-me tendencies. I want to save my company. I need to get back to my a-game and just stop being worried.

God, when will this end? What will happen to my firm and is this the right time to look for greener pasteurs?

Luckily, I don’t have a family to support me. However, given my ridiculously expensive apartment and higher cost of living in Hong Kong, I am being pushed to compete. To bring out the bad side in me and squeeze those who stand in my way to pieces.

Am I really like that? Can I really survive in this harsh business environment or shall I be punished for being naive?

In the end, I cannot predict what’s going to happen. However, I do pray that I can still be myself, learn all I can and find a way to survive. Lord, if possible, please have me pass this test.


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