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The reality of being an SQ GAL

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MirageBomb
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Thoughts of an SQ Girl

Postby MirageBomb » Mon, 16 Nov 2009 3:27 pm

Am an SQ girl. Overseas educated, mostly. 5 years working experience in various Singapore-based MNCs. Plays dumb and smiles like the Joker on nitrous oxide to avoid trouble. I think I just heard a number of 'juniors' inhale, because it's well-known that the ones who are perceived (keyword : perceive) to have a higher education get a crapload of flak from the "seniors" (i.e. discriminated against). The only locals who get more flak are crew of Indian and Malay descent.

Wanted to travel, see the world. Sailed through the interview on the first try without pretending to be someone else, was told that I'd do "very well". Turns out I'm doing extraordinarily well with the passengers, I make them crack up and we get along famously.. and I've made a lot of ground in terms of networking (an idea seniors have scoffed at in the past) - but I can't say the same about the 'senior' crew or the management. Have worked in other companies before, and from my observations I'd reckon that the SQ culture is the Singapore workplace culture magnified .. ohhh, just about 10 times.

SQ is full of very talented boys and girls from all over the globe - it's amazing. The best of the lot eventually move onto flourish in other industries.. but the ones who desire this but are unable to create the opportunities for themselves can be very, very sour indeed.

I think this is the root of what we now know as the notorious "SQ crew culture". It is a combination of outright denial, jealousy, insecurity on the part of these handful of senior crew, some of whom started off as sweet and lovely people too but have forgotten themselves and become perpetrators of this culture instead.. contributors to the cringe-worthy cycle of abuse and high levels of stereotyping and discrimination..

Despite this, it must be said that most of these bullies truly do work hard for their money.. they think juniors need to prove themselves by working harder than them but again it is all about perception - breaking nails and looking busy does not equate to a job well done, being able to articulate thoughts does not bespeak of an "attitude problem", communication is not a one-sided affair.. and one does not have to resort to being a pushover to retain the Asian experience (come on, do we Asians want to be associated with such a poor quality?)... And to have a senior who can barely enunciate the English words over the PA give you a 6/10 for "Speaks good english" on an official check report simply because you are junior is just infuriating, and ridiculous (yes, that one bad check can be reason enough (keywords: can be) for the management to extend your probation, forget about explaining - communication between us is a one-way street.. no prizes for guessing which direction the traffic's allowed to flow ;-) ).

Many appear to lack a deeper understanding of their own behaviour, preferring to put it down to differences between "Gen Y" and "Gen X", and the treatment of the seniors by the unsupportive management immensely aggravates their abusive behaviour - and it all trickles down - making them turn on juniors to seek the due validation our company will not reward us, and fearful of being fired at the flick of a finger. Or for being treated like a criminal for falling sick that one time. Incidentally, there is no crash course in crew culture to mentally prepare greenhorns for this - why would there be, the management's practically in denial about the existence of such a culture.

Many of these seniors have spent their entire working life in SQ, and have not known anything else. They will tell you different; perhaps they truly believe in their own words, perhaps they are consciously denying reality to stay sane.. maybe the aimless routine and steady sum in the bank has made them complacent. Whatever it is, they are accepting the status quo way too easily, letting the management intimidate them with manipulated statistics. And they *are* easily intimidated. And go about signing stupid union agreements with terms that they don't fully understand - honestly, it should be a 'compromise', never a 'sacrifice'.

I feel a lot of sympathy and respect for those who deserve better but cannot leave - but that ends where the bullying starts.

As one of my favourite IFSs put it, "The statistics are not encouraging.. this is a terrible longterm job for girls. By the time a girl reaches red (red uniform - they tend to be mid-30s and above), she would have more than a few screws loose.. a little mentally disturbed, picking on all the junior crew like there's no tomorrow. I'm sure you've noticed that. Case in point, D. Soo. Listen. 9 out of 10 senior stewardesses are single with love problems, and that remaining 1 out of 10 is either married or divorced. You are young, get the money and leave while you can.. don't look back."

I only have first and second-hand anecdotal evidence to offer, but I'll only list them out if anyone expresses interest. Wall of text and all that jazz, y'know. :-)

Not surprisingly, I, along with several fantastic fellows I've met in this airline, have decided to hand in our resignation letters.. and this will happen very, very soon. We will not regret this journey, but I, for one, do not wish to deal with the feeling of emptiness when I peer into that retirement goodie bag to discover exactly how the company has decided to reward all those long hard years of service, and unnecessary mental torment.

Which is a pity, because if not for this ridiculous "seniority-based" cowardly crew culture (I believe the management can be fair if only our union knew how to put out the demands), this would have so much potential to be a very, very wonderful job indeed.. one full of all the beautiful intangibles that could lure those of higher education away from our plans to "get the money and go", and not look back in regret years on.

Love from the Titanium House of Flying Daggers,
QP
Last edited by MirageBomb on Sun, 07 Feb 2010 3:56 pm, edited 9 times in total.
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Einstein

JadeiteJade
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Re: Thoughts of an SQ Girl

Postby JadeiteJade » Mon, 16 Nov 2009 9:20 pm

haha.D.Soo.
anyway, well said!! :wink:

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MirageBomb
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Re: Thoughts of an SQ Girl

Postby MirageBomb » Tue, 17 Nov 2009 6:51 am

JadeiteJade wrote:
haha.D.Soo.:wink:


:wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:

<2 more years till the terror is forced to retire.. she's still at it though, no sign of the chilli padi mellowing. :lol:
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Einstein

akiheartfelt
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Postby akiheartfelt » Thu, 26 Nov 2009 12:03 am

Mirage u've said all that i find so hard to put into words :) well done.

In here you find a group of people who govern themselves and judge others by their own unique made-up set of laws and rules of life. Excessive exposure is risky (to one's mental health). 'take your money and run' is therefore the best policy :roll:
The world at your doorstep...

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Blade
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Postby Blade » Fri, 27 Nov 2009 5:00 pm

Superb observations,very insightful [the Singapore working culture X 10! brilliant] and everything in a nutshell.You forgot one aspect: the nightly ''potato chip'' run during outport!

You should have joined CX they would really appreciate someone of your intellect and PR skills.All the Singaporeans there have real careers with tremendous pay and benefit/retirement package.Most are going all the way till retirement at age 55.Don't laugh at the grannies and aunties still working on United,AA etc.As i said It's a real career. And you are treated as an valued asset to the company.


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