Support Site for The Unemployed & Underemployed
Friday April 18th 2014

Local senior manager terminated by foreign talents and promoting anti-work place bullying movement

Gilbert,

The latest posting captioned Female PMET unhappy with imminent job termination struck a deep chord in me.

I truly empathized  with the writer  as I was placed  in a worse situation than her. 

Let me elaborate further.

More than a year ago, I was terminated from a senior manager post in a well known foreign MNC in the transport sector.

One can see their transport vehicles everywhere in Singapore and their logo  has a distinctive color and a trademark name – I will leave the  transport company’s name  to your own imagination.

I was bullied, humiliated and then  terminated unreasonably.

In fact, they recalled me from my leave and had me terminated (labelled as redundant) just to prove a point.

I was also  instructed to do menial chores for other colleagues (think what a general worker usually do) as well as non-meaningful work in the last months before I was  terminated.

What is even more incredulous was that, when I brought my grievance before my superior,   I was made redundant shortly after and the grievance was not  even addressed at all.

But yet, I would dare claim that my work output, attitude and performance gave meaning to the term “meritocracy and excellence”.

Always encouraging others to do better, providing positive inputs into issues, highlighting colleagues’ good work and finding new initiatives to promote the company’s interest even though these are not part of my work scope.

But it is never good enough when the local senior management (actually foreign talent) felt threatened  and there is a always this unhealthy  silent cold war  between them and their overseas counter parts who are their superiors.

That result in innocent parties becoming sacrificial chess pieces  and for “dark hats” parties to assert their rights to power, influence and control.

I also agree with a reply to the thread that HR professionals  tend to be the executioner for those in power.

In short, we have developed a toxic atmosphere and culture of allowing fear and envy to spread in our workplace.

These workplace bullying and negative office politics are   unnecessary stressors  in our lives  that no decent human beings should be subjected to as  it  seriously  decreases our work productivity.

Our  foundation, happiness and growth should be  underpinned by respect for one another and in particular, no organization can flourish very long when fear and rule of force dominate the workplace.

 I dare say our overtly competitive nature has led us to this present-day ugly work environment.

I proposed you start a movement together with our government workplace agencies to campaign against work place bullying.

I also humbly disagree with you in your reply to Ivonne that MOM intervention seldom achieved any good outcome.

My own experience demonstratd that  they provided a platform  for one to air out  grievances though  the mediation outcome is also  dependent on the co-operation of the other party as well. 

Thus, like the kindness movement, you could take up this cause and positively influence mindsets in organizations.

Many good points I found in a website (www.workplacebullying.org) recently can be implemented here. 

Should you chose to publish this on your website and should the aggressor stumbled upon this posting, I want them to know that  I have forgiven  them but not forgotten.

Before I conclude, please relay to Ivonne to soldier on and believe there is an unseen force that sees everything and justice will be done.

Rgds

Bullied & Humiliated

Editor’s Note: Dear readers, do you think that we should start a campaign against work place bullying here? Please provide us your feedback on this matter if possible. If you have personally experience incidents of work place bullying, we want to hear from you. Email me at gilbert@transitioning.org and we will get in touch with you. All correspondences will be treated with strictest confidentiality. Thanks.

*********

Early Signs of Bullying

You know you’ve been bullied at work when….

Experiences Outside Work

  • You feel like throwing up the night before the start of your work week
  • Your frustrated family demands that you to stop obsessing about work at home
  • Your doctor asks what could be causing your skyrocketing blood pressure and recent health problems, and tells you to change jobs
  • You feel too ashamed of being controlled by another person at work to tell your spouse or partner
  • All your paid time off is used for “mental health breaks” from the misery
  • Days off are spent exhausted and lifeless, your desire to do anything is gone
  • Your favorite activities and fun with family are no longer appealing or enjoyable
  • You begin to believe that you provoked the workplace cruelty

It feels as bad as it looks.

Experiences At Work

  • You attempt the obviously impossible task of doing a new job without training or time to learn new skills, but that work is never good enough for the boss
  • Surprise meetings are called by your boss with no results other than further humiliation
  • Everything your tormenter does to you is arbitrary and capricious, working a personal agenda that undermines the employer’s legitimate business interests
  • Others at work have been told to stop working, talking, or socializing with you
  • You are constantly feeling agitated and anxious, experiencing a sense of doom, waiting for bad things to happen
  • No matter what you do, you are never left alone to do your job without interference
  • People feel justified screaming or yelling at you in front of others, but you are punished if you scream back
  • HR tells you that your harassment isn’t illegal, that you have to “work it out between yourselves”
  • You finally, firmly confront your tormentor to stop the abusive conduct and you are accused of harassment
  • You are shocked when accused of incompetence, despite a history of objective excellence, typically by someone who cannot do your job
  • Everyone — co-workers, senior bosses, HR — agrees (in person and orally) that your tormentor is a jerk, but there is nothing they will do about it (and later, when you ask for their support, they deny having agreed with you)
  • Your request to transfer to an open position under another boss is mysteriously denied

http://www.workplacebullying.org/individuals/problem/early-signs/

Reader Feedback

24 Responses to “Local senior manager terminated by foreign talents and promoting anti-work place bullying movement”

  1. J Y says:

    You mean to ask Ivonne to “soldier on” instead of “shoulder on”, right?

    I can empathise with your situation. I seem to be able to empathise with the writers of many articles here.

    After reading about the plight of others, I realise that I am not alone and my past unpleasant experiences with “bad people” seem so trivial compared to some of the people who is in a much worse situation than me.

    It is always very strange that there are always others who dislike you or even make things difficult for you when you have not offend them in the first place. It is also harder for us to trust other human beings if “bad people” hurt us so many times due to malicious reasons.

    Some people said that it is called karma. Maybe we have done them wrong in the past life and they are here to seek retribution. That is the only explanation I can get when I cannot find answers to my woes.

    Many times, voicing out our problems to our supervisors is useless. Sometimes they will put salt in your wound and make matters worse by asking you to leave voluntarily. They will also said that there is also a long queue to take up your position.

    Thus, the only undesirable option is to leave quietly without accusing anyone. The problem is that it is always more difficult to find another job which you like and pays well as well.

  2. jj@39 says:

    HR professionals will always tend to be the executioner for those in power.

    When you encounter some problem in work & you request for help from HR. Don’t harbour too high hope the HR professionals will come to your aid coz they also don’t want to offend those in power. They usually will brush you off with all kinds of theories & excuses.

    That is why i have never consider taking up HR courses. Bcoz what can i do to help those that are calling for help in a company? Unless i am not worry that i will offend those in power & lose my job. Even though it is a HR professional’s job to attend to these requests for help to solve conflicts & misunderstandings. But how many HR will risk his/her job to help others out?

  3. Johson - Australia says:

    In working life, it’s everyone for himself/herself.

    • bullied and humiliated says:

      If what you say is the default position in most organization, I can only add that our attitude to earning a living and the values we passed on to the next generation will ultimately lead us to our downfall as a civilized society.

      Moreover, I always wondered whether there is any link between workplace bullying and excesses in organization as reported by the media.

      If such manipulative, deceptive and vile acts are celebrated as what is it to be successful, than, I’m afraid we cannot move forward as a civilization as destruction is the end outcome for humanity.

  4. jj@39 says:

    Bullied & Humiliated,

    Does your former foreign MNC in the transport sector practise Jack Welch’s vitality curve? Is a supporter of using lean six sigma?

    Does this company also implement a lot of KPI stuff to measure its P&L and on employees’ performance?

    All these measurements will force a company to create redundancy & dismiss the redundants.

    Instructed to do menial chores for other colleagues as well as non-meaningful work, that’s a sign of redundancy.

    • bullied and humiliated says:

      I am not familiar with those performance enhancer metrics but I will say that my last performance appraisal was rated at a high level as well as meeting all my KPI.

      I also believed that if such was the case and to justify redundancy, then my situation was somewhat unique. There was no retrenchment exercise then and I was the only one targeted at that point in time. No due process of closing out the grievance procedure apply to me either.

      I also understood from the “white hats” that they were shocked that this happen without their consent and could not do anything about it because they were not informed of this sham redundancy.

      Notwithstanding, it is not that one cannot be made redundant but the vicious way to inflict emotional and psychological harm on the victim. For me, instructing one to do menial chores and non meaningful work is a vile and vicious way of making a point.

      Is this really a sign of redundancy or bullying?

      Moreover, I have been made redundant before in an SME and in my working career. But it was always done in a sensitive and humane manner that does not cause trauma. In fact, the person in that SME who terminated my employment, I still consider him a close friend until today.

      As I put it plainly to the company representative at the mediation, I have no issue that the company can deny me a career and an income but they have no right to rob me of my dignity.

      So, the issue is really about dignity at work.

      • jj@39 says:

        Why i asked you whether is the company using vitality curve & lean six sigma is bcoz many foreign companies are big fans of these stuff.

        Aren’t you a senior manager in the company? How come you don’t know what are the performance enhancer metrics used? This could be deem as a sign of danger.

        • bullied and humiliated says:

          I was hired in the tail end of 2008 when the financial crisis exploded. This newly created role concentrated on risk discipline.

          During my tenure, the role expanded from a regional one to global one. I provided advice and recommendations to senior leaderships across the offices elsewhere so they can evaluate what decisions to take.

          As a stand alone resource individual, none of those metrics were ever mentioned but of course as you said, it is possible there are business units that does that.

          So if your argument that being ignorant of those metrics somewhat is my undoing, can you please elaborate how does the ends justify the means and to have me removed?

          • jj@39 says:

            All these vitality curve, lean six sigma or KPI stuff are use for measure performance, to minimise cost & maximise profit. Many companies are big fans of it. Especially, those foreign MNCs. During financial crisis, many companies tried to cut costs & reduce headcounts. Some will resort to make one employee to perform two employees’duties or limit the quantity of A4 size papers use.

            As you were a stand alone resource individual, some might see your position as a redundant coz it shoud be expand to a dept if it’s important.

            You flew globally to give advice and recommendations to senior leaderships across the offices elsewhere so they can evaluate what decisions to take. Maybe not everyone knows what you are doing and do senior leaderships like your advice & recommendations?

            I don’t know whether it’s consider as your undoing for not knowing the existence of those metrics or not. But these metrics might affect you greatly in the company if it were being used. In order to minimise cost & maximise profit, companies will do things which we dislike.

        • bullied and humiliated says:

          I did an internet search on the management tools using vitality curve and lean six sigma concept respectively. It is used as a method to achieve and measure efficiencies in organizations.

          For the former, vitality curve categorized individuals outputs as either high, average and poor performers respectively. In all sincerity, I identify the output I produced as corresponding with the criteria for high performance.

          According to this theory, the poor performers are targeted for removal. Thus this, 10-80-10 principle as practiced by leading large multi national enterprises allows the leadership to run a tight ship.

          However, some critique of the method also pointed out the dark side where it can be abused. For example the company, Enron was a leading proponent of this methodology. As a result of those performance driven metrics imposed on their staff, it lead to excessive risk taking and the diminishing influence of risk controls. Of course, we know what happen to Enron in the early part of the last decade.

          Notwithstanding, if those metrics applies in my case and the risk management role no longer justified, why was it not done across the width and depth of the organization and at the same time for other job functions like most sensible organizations do? Was this hasty way of doing it, so efficient that it was easy to recognized by the powers that were without any committee being formed to look into this downsizing, the elimination of only one particular role or merging with another one achieved instant and expedient results from the economic point of view. Should not the person holding that role be given a chance to defend the intrinsic values it brought to the position that may not simply be measured by monetary terms and before such decisions made?

          The point I wish to make is that the leadership bench may be so mesmerized by the tools that we forgot to asked ourselves whether the results from using the tools can be exploited and manipulated to achieve agendas. The sad part is that we are made to feel as though we are an economic digit to be consumed and thrown away. Worse, we lost our humanity in the process, as the ends justifies the mean.

          So I have to disagree with you that my ignorance of such metrics is indirectly responsible for my situation. Somehow, there is a sense that a workplace is not an environment for being a compassionate, gracious, supportive, encouraging to others and generally being appreciative to your fellow human beings. Instead, it is filled with hate, envy and the need to outdo others by fair and foul means. Moreover, one’s dignity can be taken away from you in the process.

          Do you not agree with my sentiments?

          • jj@39 says:

            I don’t know which foreign transportation MNC you have worked for?

            You said you worked in a foreign transportation MNC. That’s I mentioned these vitality curve, lean six sigma concept & KPI stuff.

            Many foreign MNC liked these stuff. Once these have been implemented, the mgmt expected to see results. So someone will be asked to leave.

  5. Samuel says:

    To sidetrack a little, does anyone know of any foreign MNC in the transport sector that uses vheicle logos in distinct color with a trademarked name in Singapore?

    I went through all the public and private transport companies in Singapore and could not recall any one that resembles the writer’s description. He could possibly be refering to an airline, shipping, construction or logistics company but I doubt any junior staff will describe such industries as transport sector, much less a supposed “senior manager”.

  6. Samuel says:

    A shinning bright sun logo!?

    Erm… seriously I have no idea what transport company you are refering to.

    Anyone has any idea?

  7. J Y says:

    Is it Sun Express?

  8. ck says:

    bullied and humiliated,

    From the circumstances mentioned, it sounds like a deliberate effort to make u resign quietly but your resistance resulted in termination instead.

    Did the mediation process achieve anything worthwhile?

    • bullied and humiliated says:

      Your first paragraph is an interesting explanation. Does it mean that the organization power elite endorses workplace covert discrimination and allowed to use psychological tactics to achieve the minimize cost and maximize profit objective?

      Whatever happens to the code of conduct that most MNC says they abide to? Whatever happens to transparency in the process if some roles were at risk?

      With regard to the mediation session, it was conducted in a professional and neutral manner. One must give credit to our institution for that. However, I cannot say the same for the company representative who displayed an arrogant and mocking tone. Even an apology would had suffice but not forthcoming. Instead, there was this patronizing attitude that I could bring this matter to court if I wish to seek redress.

      Why do I bring out what happen to me in this blog? I do not wish to see individuals regardless of whether local or foreign be mis-treated this way. Regardless of our origin, we are one humanity after all and we honor the higher intelligence by spreading good to all.

      I hope that by my example of what happen to me, enlightened organizations can come up with an anti-work place bully policy, procedures and measures for genuine correction to unhealthy workplace behaviors.

      I also hope that “dark hats” in the organizations out there, think of the company’s welfare by stopping what they are doing as they are not only hurting the victims but also depleting the company’s bank of “spiritual goodwill” that cannot be measured in monetary terms.

  9. Anon says:

    Frankly speaking, most of the managers and directors in companies don’t give a shit about you. Unless your hard work and smarts can make them look good and get them fast promotions and fat bonuses. The better ones will then support your promotion after they themselves have been promoted. But if you don’t keep kow-towing to them, if you become slightly arrogant, if they think you are a threat to them, they will engineer your death in the company.

    As for the management BS like vitality curve, 6-sigma, lean, etc and whatever KPIs, the important stuff is what is recorded officially on paper and in the HR electronic system. IN MANY ORGANISATIONS, THE FULL OFFICIAL HR RECORDS AND PERFORMANCE RECORDS AND COMMENTS BY DIRECTORS ON YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE SEEN BY YOU. And most of the time, what is recorded officially depends on your relationship with your director or some senior-person with real authority. If your relationship with anyone of them is poor, or if you don’t porr them as well as your colleagues (competitors), be prepared for lower official scores (which you often don’t know).

    Sometimes, your immediate manager has not much power, or is black-marked by higher mgmt, or is simply too bochap or no balls to fight for you. Just happy to have no problems and collect monthly salary and year-end bonus. If your boss is like that, then be prepared to be ranked lower than other same-level colleagues in the organisation, even if their actual work output is lower and less quality.

    After just 15 years in S’pore workforce, I’ve seen and experience as well as given out all kinds of shit. So don’t be surprised.

    And BTW, the higher-level ang mohs ESPECIALLY IN THE FINANCE INDUSTRY know all these and play the game VERY WELL. In fact, a handful of them even sued in S’pore courts against banks and finance houses when they felt they had been “unfairly” terminated, and THEY WON. Their winnings have been in the MILLIONS OF DOLLARS (since their pay and bonus are million-dollar level).

    These court cases are usually low-key and not published by SPH or Mediacorp. But sometimes they will be reported in Bloomberg or Reuters.

    As for local Sinkies, they always end up as shits for the longkang.

  10. ck says:

    Its plain corporate politics bs in play. You can do 10 good, but they’ll penalise u for one minor fault. The only “greater good” in their minds are looking good in terms of performance and survival. The weakest link will be sacrificed. In such a cut throat environment, its either u join their game or walk out.

    Let me to quote “corporate crisis mgt” from a comic strip:

    We need to find a new source of people to screw over soon, or we’ll be forced to actually produce something.

    • bullied and humiliated says:

      It is enlightening to hear from those who had been there, tells us the blatant truth like it is.

      Yes, maybe the majority of us visiting this blog had similar experiences of being unjustly displaced. If it is any cold comfort for us, take a good look at what is reported in the media on shenanigans committed in organizations in recent years during and after the financial crisis.

      I firmly believed even though I had not seen serious academic literatures on workplace bullying and its effects, whether the root cause of serious commercial offences was because workplace bullying aka “dark hats” was allowed to fester and grow and “white hats” neutralized.

      Notwithstanding, my position is that workplace cruelty and covert violence has no place in a workplace environment.

      I like the quote taken from a comic strip: it encapsulates a truth that hypocrisy and sycophancy is what it takes to survive and prosper in the corporate jungle.

      • jj@39 says:

        These performance enhancer metrics are taught in dip/deg courses, promoted by those professors/lecturers. MNC mgmt are usually make up of degree holders, they have been brainwashed. Many local & foreign MNCs practise & worshipped these performance enhancer metrics.

        Always be extra careful when working for those companies that practise & worship vitality curve, lean six sigma, project management(PMP) or KPI stuff. These companies won’t hesitate much when they want to get rid of employees in order to cut cost & maximise profit.

  11. fedup_pmet says:

    Now locals bully by FT senior, I also have this experience recently.
    I worked for a local Indian company which employed a lot of FT from many countries especially India. Later there was a Malaysian Indian FT joined the senior management and started to immediately making the life of chinese staff under him unbearable. He interacted very well with his same race but would find fault constantly for chinese staff under him.
    In the end chinese staff including me were dismissed, reason due to performance issue and I am no surprised that soon or later will be replaced by Malaysian Indian or India Indian.

Leave a Reply