House of Cards 2; The Wall Will Fall

Last time we talked about the House of Cards and the employer’s view, but a company doesn’t consist only of employers who set the rules of engagement but also employees, right? Right! So today we will be talking about the other motor in the company that actually gets the company going and can lead the company to either a stunning success or a stagnant failure.

During my brief 12-year career, I’ve had the opportunity to work in several companies and this gave me the chance to work with a wide range of people whether these employees within my company or within my client’s companies. And to be fair and honest, while there are really dedicated, hardworking and inspiring employees, there’s at least 3-4 times that amount what we would better call employees from hell! The people who actually give the bad employers more than one excuse to use ‘السيئة تعم’ which is can be translated ‘A bad act is more likely to be stereotyped and generalized’. Now I won’t talk much about how good some of the employees are because they deserve a post in their own right and they deserve to be highlighted in a much better way. As for today I’ll just focus on the negative end because it is really disastrous and causes more problems not just for them but for those around them.

Dear Employee,

I know that life is difficult as it is for each and every one of us, and while we might vary in the types of problems we face depending on the different parts of society from which we come and our economical standards are quite different, but one thing remains the same; the minute we sign a contract to be an employee, we are all employees. Yes, there are juniors and seniors and ranks, but by the end of the day we are all just serving our companies to which we inked our name on a contract.

Inking your name is a sign of commitment, meaning you have to give your 100% since the day you join till the day you actually leave the company. Your handing over days are not an excuse to go down to 50%, it’s an act of maturity and actually will reflect to other companies what kind of a dedicated person you are.

Our society loves drama. We drown during the month of Ramadan in a huge amount of TV series to the extent that they go to work with us! A good amount of time is wasted in work not just on TV series discussions but work dramatics. Employees tend to pay too much attention to who’s doing what rather than spending their time on the job they actually should get done. Of course this focus leads to lots and lots of gossiping, and ends up dragging up to maybe 2-5 employees on average! With that my friend you have taken down the productivity of about 5 people just because you want to spend your day talking about why did that person get a promotion and you didn’t! By the way, I am not saying that you may or may not deserve the promotion – But let’s be realistic; life isn’t always fair, but in the end we have to do the right thing and we have to do our part.

So waste your time on actually doing your job and save the drama till after work! Complain, escalate and do whatever you want, but make sure you deliver your work.

Also doing your job is not a favor to the company, it’s the job you signed up for, and if you feel you are not appreciated, underrated or underpaid, then start looking for the place that suits you, which is completely your right by the way. But in the meantime, as long as you remain in the company then do your job a 100% not any less. Also note if you can’t just quit, as simple as that, since it is not as easy as it is said, I fully understand that but seriously if you will not be working, there’s no need to be a parasite, just quit because someone else deserves that job in that case or just do your job until the opportunity knocks your door.

Talbees’ which literally means ‘Dressing’ in slang Arabic but it actually means ‘sticking it to someone else’ and this is when an employee basically sticks something to someone, like a task they didn’t want to do or a blame for something, and of course the unsuspecting victim on the other side finds him/herself faced by a situation which they usually have no clue about! (Talbees agents are usually nice and fun when they first know you, then they try to drag you closer so they make sure you wouldn’t be worried or suspect that they might harm you!)

Seniors and managers (I am not referring to management, I am referring to the executives under them), yes your role is to take management orders and implement them with the teams you are working with but at the same time it’s your job as a senior and a manager to lead them, to train them and prepare them. One of the major problems we face is that these seniors usually get a bucket of orders from management and they just take it, drop it on those under them.

This gets me thinking if you are just going to drop the bucket just like that, what value are you adding? You are just following management instructions, that’s true, but the way you follow the instructions is entirely up to you, how you manage your team is your own responsibility.

And team members, please understand that sometimes things are outside everybody’s hands, and yes, it is frustrating but bad things happens so you need to get your act together.

Every place is an opportunity to learn, build new relationships and having fun and doing your job to perfection, all in one go, try to keep that in mind.

There’s no perfect environment, you have one thing, something else comes in its place, also before you ask yourself why aren’t you working in the x or y company, ask yourself, why should they hire you? Would you do your best? Always?

‘على أد فلوسهم’ or literally ‘Enough work for what they pay’ is an Egyptian sort of job quality estimation, means if they’re paid well, they perform well, if not, then they do not perform. But let’s agree to a point here. You came to company X, signed a contract for a salary Y and you were not promised a 50% increase next year nor did your contract state any of that. So, while the company abuses employees in so many aspects, you made a choice and agreed to it. Focus on doing your job better, this is what will get you eventually to better places and help you develop more and even get paid better. But when you don’t, people will just know what you’ve been doing in company X and eventually the market will speak about that employee Z who hardly does the necessary just to keep things afloat. Don’t be that person!

Agree to disagree! Yep, that’s what we as employees do best. We have no trust in anyone or anything and we tend to waste huge amounts of time just to set an action plan and even when we do agree on something, we do after 8 hours of thundering wars that end up by Zeus coming out and hitting everyone with a lightning bolt to put an end to it and says this shall be done in that manner. People still insist on doing things their own way ignoring everything they’ve agreed upon! Dear sir or madam, what is your problem? You do realize that by not doing what is needed or agreed upon you actually make things slower, often making your company waste time and money and hence normally management will decide ‘These employees do not deserve any better!’ Yes, my dear friend you are handing over your head on a silver platter and even handing them the sword to chop it off with!

We go into discussions to reach a conclusion, a set of points, action plans, your plan or idea doesn’t necessarily have to be the best EVERYTIME! You are not right all the time, in most cases not even half the time. If you are so self-centered and egotistic that you think that for some reason your suggestions are a calling from Heaven, they’re not! Not picking your suggestion means you’re supposed to stay silent. It’s called a team, haven’t you ever watched an FC Barcelona match (Am a Real Madrid fan personally, but Barcelona plays better as a team, to be honest), observe how it’s not about one individual, it’s about the whole team winning, it’s called ‘Team spirit’ and trust me this is not any self-development or coaching nonsense, it’s real time working experience. Try it out, even on a small scale; try getting a PlayStation game and play with a friend as a team and you’d be amazed with the high scores! Same applies to work.

Dear Employee, please try not to be the employee from hell! There are many out there and we need to change that!

By: Tarek Hassan Refaat

Photography: Mahmoud Mansi

EDITOR: Sarah Shalaby