Thursday was the 1st of Ramadhan and nobody seemed to have enough energy to work and struggling to stay awake. The silence in the office was unbearable. Everybody seemed to have lost the ability to crack a joke or make stupid remark on something. Takut pahala puasa berkurangan, maybe…
Then at around 10.30 a.m Mr. Z came to my cubicle with a long face. Before I could ask him ‘What’s wrong?’, he spilled out what’s been bugging him all morning. He felt victimized by the latest management decision. Yeah, it was another paksa-rela department change to support the company’s transformation process. I just listened to what he had to say. I couldn’t comment much, just nodded and agreed to some of his arguments. After about 10 minutes he left me to join another colleague to go ‘lepak@tangga’ – I hope they didn’t go there to smoke, puasa la wey!
It was at 11.15 when I started experiencing the Ramadhan ‘kick’. That’s what I call when your tummy starts growling, and the gastric juice races to your throat then followed by ‘angin’ attack. My ‘angin’ attacked my head and I started to have headache.
That was when sour faced Mr. Y came in his usual cream colored jacket, hands in the pockets. I knew he was going to complain on something when he asked me to read the latest email he sent. Before I could even finish reading the forwarded email, he started telling his long and sad story. He told me that his boss was being unfair. Mr. Y has another teammate who enjoyed ‘tai-chi’ing works to him and his boss had been keeping one eye closed. According to Mr. Y, the boss was somehow under the guy’s spell (I wish he’d teach me the spell…. Hahaha). That day, his teammate refused to attend a problem at customer’s place and managed to come up with a strong enough reason that the boss re-assigned the problem to Mr. Y.
Again, I couldn’t comment much as I didn’t know his teammate well. I just told him to ‘tai-chi’ the work back to his teammate. He liked the idea and spent the next few hours running away from his boss, ignoring his calls and emails – playing hard to get lah kononnya tu…. Whenever we bumped into each other that day, he’d proudly update me on how many missed calls he had on his cell phone, then we’d both laugh knowingly.
It turned weird when Mr. Y’s boss (let’s call him Mr. R), suddenly emerged at my cubicle wearing a worried and tired look. Mr. R pulled the nearest chair and sat face to face with me. I was silently praying he’s not going to complain about his engineers because I’d rather hear the story from only one side, and I couldn’t possibly be providing solutions for both sides.
Mr. R was having a common problem faced by many managers: resource shortage. No, it has got nothing to do with Mr. Y or the tai-chi expert. I must say the company’s transformation process has caused more headaches than expected. After the re-alignment and resource mobilization, many senior engineers decided to jump ships leaving gaps and holes in our day-to-day operation. Mr. R was not looking for solution from me; I was the solution to his problem. I was asked to fill a gap for at least 2 months. It was something that I could not ‘tai-chi’ to any other team member. (Walaupun ada niat jugak sebenarnya…. Hahaha)
Well, by now my job scope has officially changed from regular hibernator to The Shrink cum problem solver. The funny thing is, I’m not even a good listener.