biting my lips

I am alone and fighting with my own hunger beyond purpose.

Today would be the day that I have the biggest blow ever when I work.

This morning, a lot of students came up to me and said that they have forgotten their username and password (that they themselves have created) for registration. I was a bit agitated by that and put on a slightly stern attitude.

Until there was this middle-aged guy, at the last row of computer, called me and asked for my assistance.

The conversation started by me mistaken that he wanted to register his subjects online (but actually he have already registered them). He only wanted to check his university email inbox.

But it went ugly when he started asking what’s my job and I joked to him, “I am working here to assist the students to register and to scold the students who lose their password.”

That ticked him off and he left and said that he will bring this matter up.

He went straight to the payment counter and approached one of the senior staff and complained about me. I went straight towards the senior staff and the man, because I wouldn’t want it to be settled behind my back.

I said that I was only joking and he bellowed at me at the top of his voice, telling that I was not joking, and he said that I was rude.

“You treat the students here like small kids. You do not know that even though I wear just plain clothes, but I am a university dean in Brunei. I know all the staff here; she, he, he and she, and I have been doing my research here for years. And this is the first time I see a rude university staff like you.”

With everybody else in the hall looking at the commotion, I made a peaceful straight face and said that I am sorry that I said something that made him feel offended. I kept on apologizing but he was still really furious at that time.

The senior staff (that the Brunei guy approached) told me off in a few words, and then the furious Brunei-an left the registration hall.

After a few minutes, suddenly I was called by my direct boss in her room.

And the Brunei guy was in the chair in front of her.

I was still keeping myself calm, after all, these few weeks have already witness my whole life experiencing being condemned by people, front, left and right.

The boss: Are you stressed out with work today? Can you tell me what happened?

Defense-less Me: I did not intend to offend our student here, it was really a joke.

The boss: You should know that your joke is inappropriate.

And the Brunei guy shouted at me again, this time in the main office. All the people at their desk can hear what’s going on.

“Do you know that the postgraduates here are not commoners? Your inexperience as a new employee is not an excuse for you to have no manners. It reflects on how you were being brought up by your parents. I have being handling students for years, and your stress is not a ticket for treating people badly by saying rude remarks.”

“What I am saying here is not to condemn you or the institution. Your attitude has tarnished the image of this university. I have even recommended two students from my country to do their studies here because of its good reputation, but I can’t believe that I wake up in peace this morning, but ended up pissed off by you today.”

I responded back to calm him down.

“I am really sorry if what I said to you just now is wrong, and I did not mean to offend you at all. I realize that the students who come here are big shots. This is totally my fault and it is not the university postgraduate department to be blamed. I would learn not to say the wrong thing, and I promise this would not happen again.”

He went off and left me to the decision of my boss.

My boss said to me.

“I am sad that a university graduate like you have lead to this kind of situation. First, you were always late and you were caught chatting online. Now, you do not know how to respond professionally to students, and they are our clients. Customers are always right. We will be doing a postmortem later and don’t be surprised if you are not counted in to be continued as a permanent staff here.”

I responded.

“I am totally sorry with what I have done. This week when you were not around, I am now the first to arrive at the registration hall. What happened today is a thing that I will learn to apply in my life, on how to communicate with the clients better. It might have been one small sentence that I said as a joke, but I should take extra care that I won’t be perceived as having no manners.”

“I have been treating the students very nicely and I have been really helpful all this while, but it’s my mistake that I said the wrong thing today which sparked the anger of the student just now. I should really take note that some things should never be said and done while attending the students.”

She said,

“Take this bad day as a way for you to try to improve yourself. We might think that what we say is actually nothing, but people have different views and you should now learn to be cautious before you say anything. Your tone is important too, and sometimes when you talk too fast, you will be seen as being offensive. That man just now could have decided to write a letter of complain to the dean, and that would really embarrass the whole institution, but he chose to give feedback here.”

I replied,

“In every cloud there’s a silver lining. I see this as a chance for me to learn more about the working life. Right now, all the staff here already witnessed what have happened, and that would push me to do better. I admit that I have a lot of flaws, due to myself who used to be a student, and now having trouble adapting to career life. I thank you for being straightforward to me and I will try my best to be a better employee. It’s not whether I am to be recommended to be a permanent staff that matters, but it’s about doing my best performance, right here, right now.”

And then after it ended, she even told me to address the senior staff here properly and respect them. Somebody in the working team must have been offended with me and told her about me.

Then she ordered me to go back to work as usual.

Due to my mindset to block all negativities and remain positive towards this incident, I was still smiling. I did not shed a tear, but I do realize that each and every staff have known about what happened to me. I am now the talk of the town.

In other words, I would say that I have really screwed up everything.

After lunch, it was a total shift of the tragic morning. I worked as usual, but without being snappy at all. The students were really comfortable with me, and they were raising their hands asking for my help.

One secondary school teacher praised me.

“I am tired of this university with the lecturers and staff thinking that the institution is the best in Malaysia, and can treat us like small kids. They should be more like you. You are very helpful handsome boy. What is your name?”

One young cute Chinese guy said to me this after I helped him.
“Thanks a lot. I really appreciate your help. My name is Kevin. What’s yours? Nice knowing a staff like you. Hope you will have a great weekend.”

I even got the chance to chat with a group of four Thai girls while assisting them. We had fun talking about the nice tomyam in Phuket, and the top singers in Bangkok.

I should be relieved after the nice afternoon passed.

I should be proud and revived when there are more students who praised me.

But why I still have this dread in me, trying to remind me that I have destroyed my own name and image here?

There is this inside of me telling me that I am already seen as a useless person in the office, and they wouldn’t want to continue hiring me.

And there is also another side of me, telling that I should stop stepping my foot in the university, once the registration is over.

I think have already written too long. As if people will read my entry until here.

But if you are still reading, don’t make this sad story happen to your life.

1 comment:

lyana said...

we all have bad days in our lives...just move on, that's what i learnt fr you..and now you should be listening to yourself.

rindu makan yong tau foo kat chee cheong fun uptown with you and the geng. hik