The Politics of it all. People are people.
It was an Elton John song, right? “People are the same wherever you go. There is good and bad in everyone” I wish this was not true but it is. I am sad to say that I encountered more office politics in Jakarta than I have ever had in my life. Now, this was something that I could deal with but the “behind your back,” backstabbing was worse than North America for one simple reason.
The salaries in Indonesia are low compared to Canada. Many people even in what would be considered good positions may only make between $600 to $1000/month. There is a considerable amount of corruption that takes place. It is often in a person’s interest to be able to accomplish something and get a kickback as a result.
How to Manage in a Backstabbing Environment. Carry a big stick.
Yes, that’s a cliche but being a writer, I loved to people watch. This subtle art of people watching and noticing small changes in people’s body language always comes in handy.
Sitting in a very large boardroom we often had more than 20 people in a meeting. When it came to decisions such as advertising or marketing meetings, this subtle art of people watching was the most fun a writer could have. It was much like watching a movie… We can pick out the characters that were backing each other and the protagonists that threw a stick in the spokes so to speak. Then we watch the general shit disturbers that say shit for the sake of causing an uprising.
I loved all of it, but the part I loved the most was what I call “planting seeds”
What is planting seeds? Why do I do it?
You may also call it planning or forming partnerships. One of the most feared and hated person in our company was the CFO. I didn’t know why people hated him, besides the obvious reason that he was there to manage money. That is putting in in the simplest terms imaginable. The CFO was responsible for taking the company public and managing millions and millions of dollars.
However, I will say I planted friendship seeds. Watch people, learn and thrive. I trust everyone until there is a reason not to.
As more and more games began to play out, I realized that I had entered a very different world.
Keep your enemies very close. This is true.
I had a feeling that a few people were upset when I came in as COO but it didn’t matter. I had no choice but to survive. A very demanding boss and managing several departments was not the difficult part.
It was the lobbying of the right people internally. Juggling the subtle clues and taking in the reactions of the people involved, was the hardest part of the new career I had chosen.
In the process, I made amazing friends. Slowly you get an idea of whom you can trust. One of them was the CFO. The most hated man in this company became one of my best friends. So that must mean that I too was hated.
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