Friday, May 06, 2005

Loggies guide to having your way in your department

As a loggie myself I've been to many admin and logistics departments, and I always notice a common trend. There are smart people who seem to know how to get their way in the department, and others who constantly seem to be getting into trouble.

So I've compiled this guide for people who aren't afraid of putting in a little extra effort to gain a whole lot more out of your NSF experience. For those born with a disposition to slacking, the suggestions here may seem too difficult. This guide is probably not for you. If you are interested in burning a few weekends and putting in some extra effort for the unparalled benefit of gettign your own way in your department with the backing of your superiors, read on.

1. Make yourself indispensable. Do your work fast, don't procrastinate. If you can't do it one way, try another. Your superiors will appreciate you much more if you're the kind that can help them get things done.

2. Offer your help where you know your boss needs it most. Of course, this requires you to have intimate knowledge of your boss' main projects and workload. Don't be afraid to ask; he/she will probably be more than willing to tell you. Try not to go out of your job scope though; if you're the admin clerk it's okay to go a little into the logistical side, but don't dabble too much in maintenance, it will kill you. Of course, if you have really intimate knowledge of the department's inner workings, your'e ready to be king of the hill.

3. Dont' be afraid to put in extra man-hours if you have to. Especially when your boss is putting in extra hours too. This is usually the perfect time to develop a better working relationship with your boss. Get to know his main anxieties. If you want, go ahead and mention holidays you wish to take in the future. If it is les than a month away, don't bother. Test the waters first.

4. Keep your boss updated. Tell him what's wrong on yoru side, and what you're doing to rectify things. He/she wants your assurance that things are normal and you'er working to keep them as such. Telling him/her that thigns are perfect when they're not is only going to put a time bomb in your hands.

5. Don't. Ever. Shout. At. Your. Boss. Yes, it is unfair that he/she can shout at you and you can't shout back, but that's the way thigns are. And besides, there's no faster way to throw your effort away.

6. Be beyond fault. Don't do really dumb things like keep your hair down to your neck, or wearing your shirt tucked out in full view of people outside your department. Feel free to take a few liberties, like wearing PT kit in the store, but not too many. If other people complain about you, make them sound like nit-picking assholes.

Once you feel things are going really well between you and your boss, it is time to start having your way.

7. Learn when to ask for favours. Don't ask when everyone else is asking. Don't ask when the department is going through a crisis. don't ask when your boss is in a bad mood.

8. Learn how to ask for favours. Always provide a good reason. Smoke a little if you have to. It could be your best friend's birthday, or perhaps you have to pick up something, but don't ever fake the demise of a close one. If possible, take the whole day off but show your face for at least 15 min at the start or end of the day - it goes down somewhat better. And always follow up your request with details of arrangements for others to cover your duties, or at least of the steps you have taken to ensure thing swill not go haywire when you disappear (e.g. settling stuff which isn't due for another few days).

9. Learn the reasons for asking for favours. Don't ask for days off when you know that all you're going to do is sit home and slack - you're just wasting imperial favour. If it's something really important, like Mambo night or something, try to at least stay the morning to talk to your boss/colleagues (relationship/building, we call it) before running off. And if things suddenly need to be done, don't run away and disappear - it reflects really badly on you. Stay a little while, and once everyone seems to have something to do, announce that you would really love to stay but have to leave there and then. It's all about tact, people.

10. Get an understudy. It's no good being the only indispensable guy around - sometimes they really need you. The attention goes a long way in helping you get what you want, but if you can get another subject into the limelight you can retire from your duties and continue to enjoy imperial favour at the same time. Talk this over with your boss, express concern that after you ORD things might start spiralling downwards. Don't wait until it's too late. Get a reliable understudy, not some dumb slack shit, and start teaching him. If you are so capable the duties you handle can't be covered by one person alone, get two. Teach them well, slowly hand over your duties to them, and tiptoe out of the limelight. Chip in occasionally on more important matters so you don't look like you're slacking. Whenever people ask, say you're supervising. Of course, don't forget everything you've learned from your job. Not ORD yet, leh.

Once things are in place, you have the favour of your big boss (the biggest guy in the department; the smaller ones are not so important, though it's good to get some support there. otherwise, your'e good as long as they don't hate you) and you have someone to cover your duties, you're good to go. take off whenever you see the need to. if you can't, try taking leave. if that fails, don't push your luck. If you take things slowly you can probably still get one or two days off per fortnight.


Gerad said...

I disagree with Point 1. Depends on your boss. Sure some bosses appreciate people who do work promptly. But the vast majority will tend to exploit the person...very soon, you become their target board, afterall, any task given to you will be done efficiently, why let others do it and foul it up?

Worse still, there are some bosses who REFUSE to recognise your matter how efficient or good you are...they'll just take it that you HAVE to do this.

My 2 cents view.

yk said...

I can attest to these guides. I was arrowed to be the OSA and OC PA on top of my active duties back then when I was in NS. So you can guess that I had to stay back more often then my frens and had more work to do.

But being the OC slave does has its merits. By showing yourself responsible, you do get more freedom that others might not get. I'll always remember the feeling when CSM screwed a bunch of guys wanting to take last min off, but then signed my last min off pass.

About point 1, I think the point is to be indispensible. Working prompty does not mean you're indispensible, only efficient, which usually you do get exploited. For me it was kinda easy cos I was the OSA and controlled all your computer accounts, etc.

Thus they won't arrow you cos they know you can make things hard for them .

jk said...

actually the thing is that some slackers dun need to do work, boss wun give them work..cos they noe he's the type u tekan oso wun do a good job..might as well give to the on-the-ball there u have a vicious cycle

yj said...

Having managed to finagle 7 weeks of off for my ORD clearance, I can attest to the validity of these suggestions, even if they do sound like a guide to sucking up.

I'd add "don't afraid to defy your boss once in a while", actually. This could go a long way in building good relationships with your fellow NSFs co-workers, and could prevent you from having to do some of the dumber tasks you're assigned. I managed to get out of some of the stupidest assignments my boss gave me by just plain refusing to do them until he made someone else do them.

kureshii said...

jkaiser: i have drivers like that. i havent' signed any off forms for them yet.

yj: of course, oppose your boss if you ahve to, like when you know he is blatantly flouting a directive taht you are aware of but he is not. cover his ass and he will cover yours (if he's not an asshole; pun intended)

if your relationship with the NSFs is deteriorating, then you're doing something wrong. this is a guide for getting your own way in your department, and you can't do that if your'e pissing the NSFs off. you have lots of power in your hands; you can help them tell their side of the story when they dont' get heard, and with your knowledge of SAF directives you can help them get many things. As a storemen, you can help them indent goretex jackets which they might not otherwise get. Help them out whenever you can; the effort will pay off.

Agagooga said...

Huh? A day or two every fortnight?! Wah lao!

Is this all free off? I had to earn all of mine :0

Anthony said...

A lot of these comments seem applicable to working in Singapore - in general.

Agagooga said...

At least you can choose where to work in Singapore, and you don't get paid peanuts.

kureshii said...

"free", in a sense, or you could say your worked for it - getting in your boss' good books is hard work too.