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Meet Azmi

Posted by mynormas on November 3, 2015


Have you ever met a local worker that feels lunchtime is a waste of time and consistently works through it? When that was brought to my attention a few months ago, I had thought it was only during the busy periods or maybe a once a month kind of phenomena, but it turns out he has been doing it for years. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Encik Azmi bin Mat Ali. Pernahkah anda berjumpa dengan pekerja tempatan yg merasakan waktu makan adalah ‘buang masa’? Kenali Encik Azmi bin Mat Ali. Pertama kali saya mendengarnya, saya sangka ia berlaku jarang-jarang sekali atau hanya jika tekanan kerja memerlukan, rupanya dia telah melakukannya secara diam, tanpa meminta balasan atau pujian selama bertahun tahun.. 

A father of three and a 17-year veteran of the golf course industry, he says that he would rather work through lunch because ‘stopping mid-way and going back to the workshop is a waste of time’ and he feels that he might just as well finish what he started which is primarily, mowing fairways.

Azmi

Azmi

In the Malaysian context, a golf course machinery operator can usually operate only one or two machines. Not Azmi, he can operate several and ‘given the tools, I can make adjustments to the cutting unit too’. Some superintendents, the foreign ones especially, may find this laughably mundane and strange to be unique but in Malaysia where many clubs use transient migrant workers as machine operators, this is unique. Working through lunch hour consistently would make him an abnormality especially with the attitude of many in the industry today, whether from the management or even from the workers side.

The management thinks that the local workers are not reliable and hardworking (which usually means work long hours; productivity be damned), and the workers usually have entitlement issues (like “I am entitled to this” kind of thing). Both are right in their own way; the problem comes when they fail to see issues from the perspective of the ‘other side’.

Back to Azmi, he mows fairways of nine holes in one day, without overtime. Again, some may think that is normal but I have worked in a golf course with machine operators that took two days or more to finish nine holes.  It took me about two months to untrain and retrain one particular worker; he’s not stupid, just not trained hence not productive. It would be easier to just give him overtime to finish the job and if he can’t, because he has to pick up kids after school, to call him lazy. I chose the hard way.

Personally, I feel that management needs to move away from the mentality that golf course maintenance is just cutting grass (to which I mean the workers need to be trained: either send them for training or send your superintendent/supervisors to a specialized/shortened Train the Trainer program) and I also feel that workers needs to move away from the mentality of ‘I’m just a grass cutter’ and as long as ‘cukup makan (just enough to eat), I’m fine’, whether in terms of knowledge or skill or contribution. We seem to be satisfied with what we have except for salary though, everyone wants a big salary increment every year, even if what we can do (skills, knowledge and contribution) this year compared to last year, in fact, every year is the same.  We want a bigger increment because we are still breathing?

As workers, we claim that we deserve better pay because of our 10 years’ experience but if we take a closer look at our ’10 years’, it is actually one year’s experience repeated 10 times or at best, two years’ experience repeated five times. We need to get over our entitlement issues, to be respected and to be able to claim for better pay or promotion, we need to be able to show our skill, knowledge and contribution is increasing over the years.

Secara peribadi, saya ber pendapat bahawa majikan perlu mempunyai mentality yg ber beza dari ‘pekerja padang hanya lah tukang potong rumput; siapa siapa pun boleh buat’; sebaliknya memikirkan untuk menambah produktiviti, pengetahuan dan kebulehan pekerja dengan cara menghantar mereka ke sesi latihan luar ataupun menghantar pegawai atas ke sesi ‘ Train the Trainer’ di reka khusus untuk mereka supaya mereka boleh menjadi pengajar yg lebih baik. Pastikan semua kursus di ‘tailor made’ utk kakitangan anda dan bukan sebarang kursus untuk awam.

Untuk pekerja pula, kita harus menjauhi pemikiran ‘cukup makan’ dan berpuashati dengan sumbangan, pengetahuan dan kebolehan kita. Kita tak berpuashati dengan pendapatan kita, kita mahukan kenaikan besar setiap tahun sedangkan sumbangan, pengetahuan dan kebolehan kita pada tahun ini – malah setiap tahun – sama sahaja. Jadi kenapa kita mahukan kenaikan besar? Kerana kita masih bernafas?

Kita mengaku kita ada pengalaman 10 tahun, tapi bila diteliti, kita dapati pengalaman kita adalah satu tahun di ulang 10 kali ataupun pengalaman dua tahun di ulang lima kali. Pada saya, untuk mendapat penghormatan dan hak untuk demand kenaikan kita harus tingkatkan sumbangan, kebolehan atau pengetahuan kita. Pada saya, pembohongan dari majikan bukanlah tentang kenaikan gaji 3% atau 5% setiap tahun, tetapi kegagalan mereka utk memberi ruang dan peluang kepada pekerja meningkatkan ilmu dan kebolehan lantas mengurang peluang pekerja mencari majikan baru (yang mungkin boleh memberi kenaikan lebih) sekaligus memerangkap mereka dalam perbincangan atau rundingan tapi kekal di satu tempat kerja. Pekerja pula mengambil jalan mudah dengan memilih mentality mangsa dan tidak mengambil tanggungjawab untuk destiny sendiri sebaliknya menyerahkan kepada dan menyalahkan org lain: Lebih mudah utk merungut dan mengadu pada bulan Januari daripada berusaha untuk peningkatan diri dari Februari hingga Disember.

Azmi’s employer told me that if he ever asks for leave, they would immediately approve – mainly because he rarely applies for one anyway – and that they have been generous in his annual increments because of his dedication to his duty and to his work. He may not be the perfect example in terms of knowledge and skill, but in terms of dedication and responsibility, his employers know they can depend on him and has rewarded him accordingly.

You may have your own stories of dedication and hard work; I’ve always liked to highlight such stories to inspire and perhaps debunk prejudices so do share with us. If your story is about how you were treated unfairly, trust us, you’re not the only one; but the rest of us just refuse to be victims.

Majikan Azmi memberitahu saya bahawa mereka akan segera meluluskan cuti beliau jika dipohon, selalunya dia jarang memohon cuti pun dan mereka merasakan mereka lebih mudah untuk bermurah hati sewaktu mempertimbangkan kenaikan gaji tahunan untuk beliau kerana kebolehan dan dedikasinya. Dia mungkin bukan contoh terbaik untuk menggambarkan kebolehan dan pengetahuan pekerja, tetapi majikan nya tahu dia boleh di harap dari segi dedikasi dan tanggungjawab.

Anda mungkin ada kisah dan cerita tentang pekerja ber dedikasi anda sendiri, saya berharap anda tidak keberatan untuk berkongsi. Jika cerita anda adalah tentang ketidakadilan, percayalah kami yang lain semua pernah mengalaminya, cuma kami memilih  untuk tidak memiliki pemikiran mangsa.

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