October 25, 2010

Nobody says others must do good to you.

Recently I watched a historical drama series about the people revolting against the cruel Emperor Shi Huang Di of the Qin Dynasty and how the two famous rebel leaders, Liu Bang and Xiang Yu overthrew the Qin Emperor. Then Liu Bang and Xiang Yu fought among themselves to control the vast empire. The two fought many battles and history told us that Liu Bang defeated Xiang Yu by employing brilliant men like Zhang Liang, Xiao He, Fan Kuai, Chen Ping and the outstanding General Han Xin. It was actually General Han Xin who finally crushed Xiang Yu in a decisive battle known in history as “The Battle of Gaixia”. After that, Liu Bang unified the China again and declared himself as Emperor Han GaoZu of the Han Dynasty.

And when peace descends upon China, Emperor Han Gaozu felt that he no longer needs those who fought together with him in the times of war. Many of his able generals were stripped of power, some banished on trumped up charges and others were jailed. And the famous General Han Xin was killed although not by the emperor himself (Han Xin was tricked, captured and executed by the scheming Empress Lu Zhi).

The gist of the story? As the saying goes “when the hares are all caught, the hunter boils his hounds”. Some people are good partners in struggling times but when the hard times are over, they turn otherwise protecting their own interest.

Let me tell you a similar story … several years ago, a good friend of mine was asked by one of our old schoolmates to help run the business of a new food court. The business was operating at a loss initially but with the expertise and wide experience, my good friend managed to pull through the hard times and finally established a stable profitable business almost single-handedly. Since then, the food court business has made huge profits for the owners.

Then recently the owners felt that they no longer need my good friend anymore as the business is now stable and running smoothly. So they plotted to replace him with their own family members. Very soon they succeeded by purposely putting him in difficult spots until he finally resigns.

If you are in the same boat as my good friend, would you feel angry? Of course you would. It is OK, get mad but then get over it. As angry as you can be but in situation like this or other similar circumstances, sometimes you just have to swallow your anger quietly and move on. You did good to others but nobody says others must do good to you.

So, at the end of the day, whatever happened to General Han Xin thousands of years ago or how my good friend being treated just recently or maybe in the future you may face the same situation … don’t bear any grudges. You can treat people well but don’t expect people to treat you well. Understand this and you will be a better person.

October 05, 2010

You could be the other bastard ...

The famous American General George S. Patton (during WWII) told his men “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his” … very wise words indeed. YES, loyalty demand great respect but General Patton exploited other people’s loyalty … let the other bastard for his country. You don’t win the war by dying (of loyalty or otherwise).

Today, in big organisations or small companies, there are people who demonstrate the same loyalty for their companies. Maybe you are one of these good employees who walked the extra mile. You are a die-hard loyal soldier … when asked to jump, you simply asked “how high” … you don’t even ask what you are jumping for and why. You put the company first, often go all the way making personal sacrifice for the company. And for that, you may just end up being one of the many pieces on the chess board … being positioned, played, exploited and made to “die for the company” for the benefit of others. On the surface, it is business as usual but underneath the carpet are smiling backstabbing opportunists scheming for an easy climb up the corporate ladder. And the end of the day, the shrewd, cunning, conniving and scheming ones are the winners.

OK, maybe it is not all that bad and gloomy. There are still good people around but just too few of those “old school” types who still hold loyalty, honesty and trust close to their chests. I am a strong believer of loyalty, honesty and trust but unfortunately these good values are often exploited by many. In underhand company politics, loyalty is a weakness, honesty is a flaw and trust is a big mistake.

Do you think people really care about your loyalty, what you have contributed, how hard you have worked or how much you have personally sacrificed? The instant you are out of the picture, people will only talk about your imperfection. Someone told me once that when you cry, no one sees your tears … when you are in pain, no one sees you are hurt …when you are worried, no one sees your stress … and when you are happy, no one sees your smile ... but when you FART just one time, everybody talks about it. How true!

So, are you a die-hard loyal, honest and trusting employee? If so, you should mull over General Patton’s words … you could be the other bastard made to die for his country … or in this case, die for the company.