Right after I graduated, I had a belief that I have to "love" the company that I work at, "love" my manager, and "love" my job. It didn't help that the only company that I have ever worked in was a Swedish startup called Videoplaza made me feel very much that way.

On day one, the fresh intern me was given a brand new MacBook Pro, tasked jobs similar to a full-time software engineer. At meetings, I felt like my opinion mattered, even though I was this naive little idiot trying to pick fights around  Linux VS MacOS. I cringe recalling that.

At no time did I feel restrained when it came to working hours, or what I did at work, but I respected the company and the team enough to never violate that trust.

Then I came back to Singapore and started a company. With my very first interns and staff, I treated them the way I wanted to be treated:

  1. To be given all trust until you violate my trust
  2. To not have rules until you exploit the system

Slowly but surely, I had my naivety reeled in.

  • Almost every staff will abuse the MC on days they do not feel like coming in, so I had to implement an MC cap. (Except for the best staff)
  • Every staff will push the reporting hours with the pattern starting with them reporting early, then on the dot, the incrementally late.

Then cancer emerges:

  • I had a staff taking numerous emergency leaves to leave work so they can meet their "property clients" during office hours.
  • I had a 19-year-old staff fresh (Polytechnic) graduate shouting at me because I was that friend at work, not her boss.

This is what I have come to realise: That I am not like most Singaporeans, and Singaporeans, in general, require discipline through enforcement unlike Swedes, by which the fear of shame is much stronger than the fear of rules.

Anyways, it works for me. Because I'm an asshole anyway and now I get to be myself at work.

PS: This article is specific to Singaporeans. My experience with Indonesians are not the same.