Late last week, I found myself having a dialogue with a colleague. It wasn’t intentional. Take me back several years ago, I wouldn’t see myself having that long, sad and serious conversation. I limit the people I trust and that colleague is unfortunately not one of them. Blame the emotional outburst. And probably during that time, I had no company. I felt left out so I held on to the first person who tapped my shoulder. Writing this post, I have to say that I’m feeling half regretful. I should have been more careful. I should not allowed myself to be taken advantaged on those time when I was the weakest. Now I realise my stupidity.

Other than the trust issue, there was something that awakened me in the course of that conversation.

In the middle of the outpour of emotions, my colleague uttered something that awakened me. As colleague said

I have connections to the top management. I can use my connections to voice out my sentiments. If things turn out worst, I will speak out everything I know and feel. I will be forced to use my last resort.

When my colleague expressed this statement, I realised my stupidity. This conversation should not have happened.

It’s not that I’m afraid that people from the top will eventually discover my own set of frustrations, disappointments and other negative sentiments against them. In my own set of principles, I never admired people who feel “empowered” just because they are close to “people with power” or position… or connections as commonly termed.

I wouldn’t deny however that at some point, I feel envious to colleagues and other people with connections. Life or at least life at the workplace is not always fair. On those times when everything feel so unfair, I admit that I feel a degree of resentment. I have the best intentions. I have been working so hard. Yet at the end of the day, this is what I will receive. I have  no one to hold on. All the more I feel pathetic when some people benefit from having someone from the top to keep them hanging on. Worst comes to worst, elevate them in exchange for forced loyalty and future payback and connivance.

I may not be at my best now. But sure enough, I was able to identify one thing that can contradicts yet possibly exceeds the connections that my colleague had.

While I don’t have connections, I have nothing to rely on but myself.

And true enough, this kept me surviving over the past years. When I entered the workplace a decade ago, I was a total stranger to everyone. I never knew anyone. All I had was the credential of a fresh graduate and the job posting from the Sunday’s broadsheet. When I was hired, I never gained friends or rubbed elbows with people from the top management. I was always a shadow and the silent worker barely noticed by anyone. What I can proudly claim, I’m responsible for all the achievements and silent milestones I have. I wouldn’t deny however that part of what I have today are attributed to generous department heads who sent me to different learning opportunities, trainings, seminars to short courses. But the rest, I can proudly claim that it was never about “connectivity” or affiliation to anyone from the top management.

My colleague even said that people have to remember that they should be loyal to their job and not to their superiors. Ideally, this should be followed. In practice however, how many people can become loyal with their job and not to the people around them. I almost wanted to remind my colleague, look who’s talking. You were just emphasising your connections a while ago.

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