This is my new office. I started work a few weeks ago and it’s definitely not what I’m used to. While my previous employer was a monopolistic juggernaut that had thousands of drones chugging away at its engines every day, my new company is a tiny set-up — and its smallness hit me hard on my first day.
Like every no-name outfit out there with limited start-up capital, there is a helluva lot of Ikea furniture around here. There is only one cleaning lady, no IT support, no 24-hour phone assistance, not even air-con. In fact, I can bet you I’m gonna get paid in hand-written cheques.
The company is in the confectionery services sector, and I am one of only two employees. I am, in the grand Singaporean do-it-all tradition of bau geh liao, cover everything from design, production, marketing, promotions to delivery. The other employee goes by the name of Z, one of those irritating, bossy types who thinks he’s the smartest, funniest, best-looking one around — not unlike Ricky Gervais in The Office. But he only comes in in the evenings and on weekends so he’s got nothing on me.
The real bosses here are, of course, the company’s owners — a pair of sisters who are known throughout the industry as hard task-masters. Rumour has it that they have a huge appetite for success and will stop at nothing until they get a giant slice of the pie. They’ve been pretty cordial to me so far, full of smiles and good mornings when I walk pass their rooms every day. But I am not blindsided by such superficial pleasantries. I know that once shit hits the fan, I’m gonna be busy.
Let me tell you about the older one. She’s the sort of boss who gets excited over the slightest idea and needs to be briefed and debriefed all the time. But thankfully, she goes for self-improvement classes every morning, so that gives me time to deal with the real terror of the territory, the younger sister.
This fat, waddly one hasn’t said a word to me since Day 1. From outside her room, I often hear her screaming at the cleaning lady to do things faster, better, now, now, now. Seated on her high pedestal, she bangs her fists and demands up-to-the-minute updates on wet-market movements. Very soon, she’ll probably want me — as if I haven’t got enough to do already — to pick up her laundry. And then what? Wipe her butt?
Then, while everyone is slaving over her targets and deadlines, she slips off and takes long afternoon naps — right there in her room and in full view of everyone!
But I am soldiering on. There are several plus points about this job, such as the short commute and the 24-hour pantry that’s stocked with many things I like. And, if worse comes to worst, I will adopt this mantra that I have observed from working 15 years in a big company — which I believe applies to workplaces both big and small: There’s nothing that a bit of ass-kissing can’t fix.
Personal aside to readers: Of course, my home doesn’t really look like this. The total-unglam bottle sterilizer, milk formula tins, unsightly trash can, aprons and clearance-sale mugs were all shoved behind the counter before the shoot. The baby though, at least to me, is gorgeousness confirmed 🙂