Career Changes, Part 5.

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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Published by Zsolt Zsemba

Zsolt Zsemba has worn many different hats. He has been an entrepreneur, businessman for over 30 years. Living abroad has given him many amazing experiences in life and also sparked his imagination for writing. After moving to Canada from Hungary at the age of 10 and working in a family business for a large part of his life. The switch from manufacturing to writing came surprisingly easily for him. His passion for writing began at age 12, mostly writing poetry and short stories. In 1999, the chance came to write scripts. Zsolt took some time off from his family business to write in Jakarta Indonesia for MD Entertainment. Having written dozens of soap operas and made for TV movies, in 2003 Zsolt returned to the family business once more. In 2018, he had the chance to head back to Asia once again. He took on the challenge to be the COO for MD Pictures and get back into the entertainment business. The entertainment business opened up the desire to write once more and the words began to flow onto the pages again. He decided to rewrite a book he began years ago. Organ House was reborn and is a fiction suspense novel while Scars is a young adult drama focused on life’s challenges. After the first two books, his desire to write not only became more challenging but enjoyable as well. After having several books completed he was convinced to publish them for your enjoyment. Zsolt does not tend to stay in one specific genre but tends to lean towards strong female leads and horror. Though he also has a few human interest books, he tends to write about whatever brews in his brain for a while.

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