The Corporate Dogs of Sri Lanka
The corporate world for some reason is viewed as the avant garde space in which the professionals of Sri Lanka work. Funnily, Sri Lankan corporate culture is still quite stuck in the ark of civilization in its practices and the type of characters it seems to encourage. Mahaththaya complexes, sexism, nepotism, sexual harassment are rampant but few really care or do anything about it; Because there are plenty to propagate this archaic culture in the workplace. Below are a few of the stereotypical corporate dogs that one may happen upon.
If you ever get caught working in a family company, you will inevitably have to deal with the ‘heir’ of the family establishment. More often than not, they are educated overseas and come back to be put in managerial positions. Unfortunately this does not mean automatic intelligence or grit. They are apparently starting from the bottom up but hey, you will always be the boss’s kid, even if you are sweeping the factory floor. So yea, privilege goes unmentioned. And they can do no wrong. There will be a hired scapegoat to take their shit and the blame for the heir’s mistakes. Because in the eyes of the boss (AKA the parent) the heir can do no wrong.
The scapegoat is the paid bitch of the owner, the owner’s kid or the blue eyed boy’s fall guy. The scapegoat will bear titles of being marketing, sales, brand manager etc. but will be blamed even when the flush in the commode does not work. Coz the scapegoat must answer for top management fuck ups. Such characters go thus far and no further. They will not be CEO, Chairman or Group Head. They will stay high up enough to make decisions but low enough to be blamed when the necessity arises –which is quite often in many cases.
The Blue Eyed Boy
In a conglomerate, typically the ‘Blue Eyed Boy’ would be the groomed next in line to take over the company. Often the character has to be a typical Alpha male. No women are generally groomed for these roles as it expects the behaviour of a typical male – the spectrum ranges from passive aggressive to silent assassin, opinionated to being a yes man, decisive or indecisive etc. Blue Eyed Boys are usually identified at managerial levels and are promoted and noted. They often get away with murder as a result of the privilege they enjoy and they gladly do so. Few are actually professional in their approach to the impending responsibility.
The Old Boys’ Club Pick
Often companies that have a top management from prominent schools would hire products from their schools, overlooking a more suitable candidate because the ‘school’ matters for some misplaced notion of brotherhood that exists in their Old Boys’ circles. The Old Boys’ progeny knows that he is privileged from the word go and often misuses that position to get away with petty crimes – coming late to work, using office equipment for personal work etc. or even serious crimes – staying on the company account when on personal holidays, getting a cut from regular suppliers, sexual harassment etc.
The Brand Whore
Being a former European colony seems to have made Sri Lankan corporate workers favour the European style of attire and accessories to show that they are from the ‘corporate world’. From ludicrously priced Mont Blanc pens (with a rather dubious looking spatter design on the top)which have to be placed in one’s pocket, to wearing Rolex, Audemars Piguet and whatever fancy branded watch to wearing Gucci suits, Armani ties and belts etc. Women would be decked in Coach, Kors & Vuitton bags, Charles & Keith (which is quite a mundane brand but hey it’s Singaporean so hence fancy apparently), Aldo, Clark shoes to CK and Rolex watches and of course make up from MAC, Dior, Tilbury etc. Vehicles would have to be a Merc, Beemer, Subaru, Audi, Range Rover etc. Acceptable would be a Toyota, Honda or Kia. Unacceptable would be Maruti or Wagon R vehicles. Tuk Tuks and Buses would be like “Oh my gawd”.
The Kiss Ass
This character is the pain and the bane of everyone’s lives. Working with a Kiss Ass is literally a pain in the ass coz they would do what it takes to get themselves ahead. The Kiss Ass is always massaging the boss’ ego and is constantly buttering the boss to a point where colleagues want to puke but can’t. They also sell out others and are terrible team players. Such characters are often embraced by insecure senior managers coz they feel they can be used to do whatever they want.
Most offices have if not one, a couple of perverts who are either constantly cracking inappropriate jokes, commenting on women or making unwanted advances. Some would even send suggestive emails, images and would be deadly to deal with at office functions. They are often complained about but HR is busy playing diplomatic games and the senior managers issue ‘warnings’ (which are more like advice on how not to get caught next time coz the senior manager is also a pervert ).
This role can be a man or woman. Coz there are those in senior management who use their privilege and position to compel younger staff to do their bidding or grant sexual favours. They would threaten to terminate their employment or make work difficult if the junior staff do not comply. HR pretends such things don’t happen usually or advice the complainant to seek help from outside to deal with the matter. It’s tougher when the predator is in HR.
The Tech & Talk Expert
This character is a PowerPoint wiz with the gift of the gab. They would be experts at presenting other people’s work in fancy graphs, charts and slides with some fancy words to go with it. This would be seen as impressive by the senior management who gives the ‘expert’ higher ratings and promotions vs. the quiet doers whose work the expert presented with zero credit given.
This one will be diligently doing their work, helping others and trying to maintain some semblance of work life balance. The worker actually works and keeps the cogs in the wheel turning. The worker is hardly recognized, not glorified and rarely promoted. This is also because the worker does not believe in self promotion and as a result suffers at the hands of the talkers.
Usually this character would be akin to a tornado – from the moment they enter till they leave – it is one thing after another. Some crisis en route to work, some work related crisis, some accident in the elevator, lunch room, car park etc. They are chaotic but good natured but the chaos often leaves others reeling or kneeling to pick up the mess.
This is the devoted slave to the company. Not even the owner’s children have this kind of devotion. They have chosen to dedicate their lives to the company in every aspect – so much so that there is no boundary between work and personal life. The loyalist’s reward is more work and constant demand. They go thus far and no further up the corporate ladder and will be given a token at the end of 25 years of service. They live for this token which is a drop in the ocean compared to their devotion and hard work.
The Known Devil
This would be the boss’s relative or family friend. Divisions and job roles are created for these people whose contribution the rest of the staff is yet to see. However the boss is happy and so this person exists. They get special privileges in coming late to work or getting afternoons off. If they’re young, they would be gymming, tripping, camping etc. while other staff members don’t have such privileges. Known Devils usually don’t last for long because their redundancy becomes obvious after a time.
The Great Pretender
This is the one who stays at office till late to show he/she is ‘working’ when actually they are just wasting / killing time so that they can show the boss that they are so hardworking. Their productivity is actually not higher than their colleagues because they are dragging out what could be done by 5pm, till 8pm. In between would be phone breaks, cigarette breaks, walks around the office, chats with people, social media chats etc. But these are strategically done so the insecure boss thinks the Great Pretender is actually working when they are not.
The Femme Fatale & The Fuck Boy
These two characters would be the office temptations – well turned out and charming in a lot of ways. Their trump card is their looks and how they present themselves. Their work is often overlooked because their charm gets the job done – often by others. Some are just tantalizing temptations while others do what it takes. Either way, they play their sexuality to their advantage.