Who’s the boss around here?

It has been two months since I started work at my current position. I have to say that thus far the job nature is exceedingly interesting and enjoyable! I never realised I could come to care so much for the ‘fans’ of our Facebook page, allowing it to make or break my day. This is really mind-boggling.

I have started a daily regime of skimming through daily news using Google Reader for one hour a day and this has surprisingly kept me abreast of things that happened around the world. Sadly, I also become laden with the depressing news that plagued the papers especially with regards to floods in Pakistan and China and heat waves in Russia and the worst part is feeling helpless.

I guess I try to make a difference by insinuating values into Facebook members by sharing these news though they are not exactly relevant to financial planning. The more you read about the society at large, the less penchant you have for money-grubbing. Alas, one has to survive nonetheless so I try to make the world a better place in whatever ways I can. If only I can share about my faith as well but that would be bordering on the brink of self-destruction.

My colleagues and especially my direct supervisor have been great! I never really expected to actually enjoy the company of fellow female colleagues and while there are the unspoken boundaries still tightly entrenched, I realised if you keep to your side of the line, it can be pleasurable to talk about children and the man in your life.

My supervisor is cool because he understands how easily it is to be jaded by life in the public sector. And I sense that he may be trying to ‘protect’ me from the unnecessary bureaucracy so that my fresh enthusiasm and creativity is not quelled. I think he hopes that my desire for change will somehow infect the rest of our department. 

I was recently ‘volunteered’ to sit in a brainstorming session to come up with ideas to promote our organisation’s key values to our members in accordance to a specific directive from top management. While I laud their intention and innovative suggestions, the time constraints which was further laid on us, made it quite impossible for a good decision to be made.

After the initial brainstorming, several good ideas were formed but many of them had to be shelved because there was just no time to implement them by the deadline set. At this point, one colleague pointedly raise the issue if we’re just going through the motion. If we really wanted to invest all that money into an educational initiative, we might as well do it with a bang, make it impactful and deliver its purpose.

Another colleague responsible for communicating to management, commented that while this was most ideal, ultimately we needed to propose ideas that meet the exact specifications regardless of their effectiveness.  

So I offered a middle ground – why not submit two sets of proposals? One that would meet management specifications and another that we unanimously agree is the best idea but highlighting that this would require a longer time to complete. Same colleague replied that the danger of this approach is that we might end up making life difficult for ourselves should management like our idea and still insist it be commissioned within the same time frame.

Really at times like this, I question who we should be listening to? Our boss, our customers or ourselves. And even for the latter, there is the tug-of-war between what’s easier for us and what’s right for our conscience. Perhaps we can all take a little lesson out of social media to figure this out.

Web 2.0 technologies now allow voices of the customers to be heard louder and clearer so that we can develop initiatives that can reach out to them more effectively. It is advocated that web initiatives have to be designed from the angle of answering consumers’ problems and not just force feeding what organisations want to tell them. 

It seems that it is simply easier to just follow instructions than to challenge the norm and make a difference for the better and that seems to be the prevalent problem plaguing our society especially when it comes to efforts in climate control.

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