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Strange Work Environment

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Blaster
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Posts: 4
Joined: Tue, 03 Nov 2009
Location: Singapore

Strange Work Environment

Postby Blaster » Tue, 03 Nov 2009 10:51 am

Hello All

I graduated from a university in Vancouver and came to Singapore to work. My salary is not very high and obviously i am not on an "expat package".
My problem is that my work environment is very strange. My team consists of 5 singaporeans and none of them talk. When they do talk it is in chinese and they treat me like i am invisible. The whole atmosphere is very unfriendly, when i ask something that i dont know, they reply in one word like i've been working for 25 years. Often they ask me for documents on projects/assignments i am assigned to without telling me the reason, when i ask the reason i get replies like "i just want to see it" and often times my stuff ends getting modified. I dont mind that, sometimes i screw up and reports need to be modified but i think its fair to inform me if you change stuff i am working on. We are sitting practically next to each other and if they want to ask a simple question, i get an email. I worked in vancouver as a co-op (intern) student and the atmosphere was just the opposite.I have been working here for about 1.5 years now and nothing has changed.

I know i am still relatively "new" to the working world. Is this common in Singapore? Please Help!!! :cry:

beppi
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Joined: Thu, 07 Sep 2006
Location: Ahlongistan (O$P$)

Postby beppi » Tue, 03 Nov 2009 12:00 pm

Hi Blaster,

While what you desribe is not, in my experience, a typical work athmosphere in Singapore, you should nevertheless realize that it reflects your colleagues not being comfortable talking or working with you.
There might be many reasons for this, but most are caused by unfamiliarity (be it because you are new, because you said/did something wrong without realizing, or most likely because of cultural differences).
They have been there longer, presumably have not been waiting for you, and obviously have less problems working like this than you do. It is up to you (not them) to change something.
You could of course quit if things are intolerable, but I suggest you take some active steps instead to improve things (you can still quit if nothing works).
Do not confront or criticize them - this isn't done in Asia and even where it's done it's seldom welcomed by the criticised! Better start conversing with them, e.g. over lunch (a very important social occasion in Asia which you HAVE TO attend!) about private matters, show interest in their family and activities, ask to join a few if possible. Also tell them about yourself and try to arrange something they could join (of course sensitivity to their situation is needed - obviously a hiking trip in Indonesia or a night out pubbing isn't right for a family man!).
Humour also always helps, both at work and outside (but again be culturally sensitive!).
Once they get to know you and lose their insecurity in dealing with you, you'll see big improvements in the work athmosphere.
Remember: It's up to you to make the first steps - they won't! (Just as you wouldn't when in your old place of work back home a totally weird stranger who does everything differently suddenly showed up.)

Good luck,
Frank

Blaster
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue, 03 Nov 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby Blaster » Tue, 03 Nov 2009 12:47 pm

beppi wrote:Hi Blaster,

While what you desribe is not, in my experience, a typical work athmosphere in Singapore, you should nevertheless realize that it reflects your colleagues not being comfortable talking or working with you.
There might be many reasons for this, but most are caused by unfamiliarity (be it because you are new, because you said/did something wrong without realizing, or most likely because of cultural differences).
They have been there longer, presumably have not been waiting for you, and obviously have less problems working like this than you do. It is up to you (not them) to change something.
You could of course quit if things are intolerable, but I suggest you take some active steps instead to improve things (you can still quit if nothing works).
Do not confront or criticize them - this isn't done in Asia and even where it's done it's seldom welcomed by the criticised! Better start conversing with them, e.g. over lunch (a very important social occasion in Asia which you HAVE TO attend!) about private matters, show interest in their family and activities, ask to join a few if possible. Also tell them about yourself and try to arrange something they could join (of course sensitivity to their situation is needed - obviously a hiking trip in Indonesia or a night out pubbing isn't right for a family man!).
Humour also always helps, both at work and outside (but again be culturally sensitive!).
Once they get to know you and lose their insecurity in dealing with you, you'll see big improvements in the work athmosphere.
Remember: It's up to you to make the first steps - they won't! (Just as you wouldn't when in your old place of work back home a totally weird stranger who does everything differently suddenly showed up.)

Good luck,
Frank


Thank you very much for sincere advice. I agree with you that i need to take the first step and till now, i hate to say this, i ignored them. I will be more open and lets hope all goes well. Once again thank you very much.

Charlene0527
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Posts: 9
Joined: Sat, 14 Nov 2009
Location: Farrer Park

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Postby Charlene0527 » Sat, 14 Nov 2009 1:05 pm

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Last edited by Charlene0527 on Mon, 21 Apr 2014 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Deetz
Member
Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat, 05 Sep 2009

Postby Deetz » Tue, 17 Nov 2009 9:16 am

Hey hey I'm from BC myself. What industry are you working in and how much are you being paid? If under $4k a month that might be a bit rough. Most grads from Singapore start around $2-2.5 it seems but travelling around the world to earn that oh boy.

Anyway if you ever want to go out for beers and complain about your job lemme know :P :D


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