Your leader’s the odd one

This must be the first time I’ve worked under someone I completely disagree with multiple times. It is good to err on the side of caution and believe that your boss is right but it gets harder to take it in the same faith when everyone else thinks that she’s off the scale.

I’m a clerk in my unit, an overworked one with the amount of responsibilities I’m carrying currently. But that’s cool, I’ve always been the workhorse. Not just the workhorse but a WILLING workhorse. Back in Primary / Secondary and even in MI, I did most of the groundwork in projects to ensure that the results were above expectations. I didn’t care much if others didn’t put in the same effort, always thinking that if I could handle 90% of the project myself, I would be best prepared in the future since I can DIY nearly everything from background preparations to onscreen speeches. And it has always been smooth because the requirements were clearly stated and they did make sense.

Life has a weird way of putting you into situations. Enter NS and I meet people really out of sync with reality. People who are completely oblivious to the perceptions of others. Wait, not “people” but one person. Now if its one person, it shouldn’t be hard ain’t it? Nope, not when she’s your boss.

You see, when I posted into SAFTI MI, I heard disturbing stories of my boss to be. It came from the general population in my unit from the recruits to the officers. Now, I’m one to give a benefit of a doubt even to a person who is ridiculed by others. Maybe, there’s a misunderstanding. Maybe, there’s an important part missing from the picture. So, I gave her the trust that she might be right and the rest might be missing a crucial chunk. After all, she’s been in the unit since it was first established. And yes that makes her even more senior (in year count) than my Commanding Officer (da big boss). Just so that you get the magnitude of seniority, our camp passes are issued with serial numbers tagged on them. I’m around 800+ and am completing my service. She’s Number 13. A good choice for a number really.

So first we had a communication problem, her English was awkwardly ridden with befuddling grammer. No I’m not judging her based on her English standards but it does become a problem when it get so bad you can’t make out what she’s saying. Took 7 months to clear that communication hurdle and what my branch found out is that sometimes, or rather most of the time, she can’t express herself in words. Maybe she does well in Chinese but my Chinese is just as good as my Tamil or French or Japanese or Sinhalese.

The scary part was when I found her decision making factors rather confusing. Let’s put it this way, she is one that would cancel a flight just because it is raining. Over reacting to minor details. I’ve seen her argue with her superiors over such and when she looks to me for support, I have no better response than a nod and a smile. Could I say “No Mdm, that’s retarded and you’re wrong,” ? Hell, I’ve seen her superiors tell her that her perspectives are horribly skewed and she dares (yes thanks to year based seniority) to tell them “No, SIR, YOU are WRONG”.

Wow.

So she calls me this Saturday afternoon and tells me the presentation of my juniors were not up to standard. Let’s make it clearer – not up to HER standard. How should I tell her that the world doesn’t revolve around her opinions? or that I would rather not even have my juniors do the presentation than to do it her way.

My branch operates on a “Who-takes-the-blame” phillosophy. More or less its: Boss > Me > Juniors. Now that boss is untouchable, that leaves simply yours truely.

Now I have two options. First, align myself to take the exact same stance as her and shift the blame to my juniors. Or stand true to my beliefs, align myself to take the stance of the entire unit (but her) and be the buffer (punching bag) between my juniors and her.

The later sounds a lot more painful but for the sake of sensibility, I’ll take that spot for my final 2 months+.

Dear MINDEF, we need more talent sense in your regular base.



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