Office Situation #1You report for work 10 minutes later than usual because there was a train fault.  

How you see it: “It was the train’s fault.”
How your boss sees it: “It’s your fault; you should have left home earlier to allow extra time for circumstances such as train faults.”
How your colleagues see it: “Wah heng ah! Boss didn’t notice me coming in even later cos he was too busy scolding you.”

Office Situation #2A problem arises in one of your colleagues’ projects. You know the solution, so you volunteer to help.

How you see it: “I’m a problem solver! I took the initiative and reached out to offer help even though it isn’t my project.”
How your boss sees it: “You’re expected to help; after all, we work as a team.”
How your colleagues see it: “Since you so good at this, next time just ask you to do can liao!”

Office Situation #3You helped babysit a project for John, who’s on leave.  It was for a day. Which became 2 days… then 3 days.

How you see it: “He’s finally back from his leave! Time to hand it back. I even wrote down a list of the things done and follow-ups to be performed.”
How your boss sees it: “See how John is such an amazing performer? Despite his absence, he’s able to follow through on the project without a single hiccup! You should learn from him.”
How your colleagues see it: “Orh hor… You touched it. It’s your baby now. You follow up.”

Office Situation #4: You noticed the first-aid kit is out of plasters and promptly request for the same to be restocked.

How you see it: “I did us all a favour! It’s important to ensure the first-aid kit is adequately stocked at all times.”
How your boss sees it: “You appear to have too much time on your hands. You definitely have capacity to take on more tasks.”
How your colleagues see it: “Sibeh bo liao lor! Plasters only what, can’t afford meh? Make such a big deal.”

Office Situation #5: You take 15 minutes longer at lunch because you left for your lunch break later due to a telephone discussion with a client.

How you see it: “I’m entitled to a full lunch hour – I left at 12:15PM, surely coming back at 1:15PM makes sense!”
How your boss sees it: “Not only were you late for work this morning, you even took a longer lunch break. Please observe office regulations and manage your time accordingly.”
How your colleagues see it: “Wah, spend so much time talking on the phone, still dare to take longer lunch break!”

Office Situation #6: You spot an error in an email sent to a client by your colleague, and took the initiative to rectify the mistake immediately.

How you see it: “Glad we caught that in time! Would have been even more embarrassing if it was left undiscovered.”
How your boss sees it: “Why didn’t you raise this earlier? Also, we must present a united front at all times. Why did you liaise directly with the client without first informing me? Now the client thinks we don’t communicate properly amongst ourselves.”
How your colleagues see it: “So clever to spot my mistakes sia. Spot already still let boss know. What, want to make me look bad is it?”

Office Situation #7: The team pulled through a particularly tough project; you buy everyone some cakes for tea break as a reward.

How you see it: “So nice for us all to enjoy some sweet treats! We’ve worked really hard on this one!”
How your boss sees it: “Time spent on tea breaks should be limited; you need to better utilise your time at work to increase productivity instead.” (Also makes a mental note that you’re overpaid.)
How your colleagues see it: “He got pay increment is it? Must be lah! Ah boh so nice meh? Treat us eat cakes. If not, sure got agenda one. Quick, take the cake and siam!”

Office Situation #8: You leave the office at 6PM sharp because you have completed your work for the day; the rest can wait until tomorrow.

How you see it: “I’m so good at organising my time and prioritising my tasks! It’s not about spending more time at work; it’s about making use of your time wisely. Work-life balance, right?”
How your boss sees it: “I’m convinced you don’t have enough work on your plate.”
How your colleagues see it: “Win liao lor. Every day also go home on the dot. No work to do meh?”

Office Situation #9: There’s an urgent deadline to be met on Monday for a shared project, so you worked over the weekend.

How you see it: “Luckily I managed to finish the required work on time! We’re all set for Monday morning.”
How your boss sees it: “Of course you’re expected to work weekends. Did you think you were getting paid to do nothing?”
How your colleagues see it: “Ho seh lah! Next time Saturday and Sunday we know who can cover OT work.”

Office Situation #10: You’ve been tasked to organise a team-bonding event. You asked around for suggestions but nobody contributed.

How you see it: “Team racing event, picnic thereafter, a trip to theme park… should I put in a movie session? I hope these sound interesting enough! I sure would love to go!”
How your boss sees it: “Do you know how much a single adult admission ticket to the theme park costs? Although the company is funding this event, it doesn’t mean you should neglect our budget.  And… movies? Why don’t we just screen one in our office instead of going out to the theatres. That settles it.”
How your colleagues see it: “Sian man. All so boring one. Eat into our precious weekend time some more! Gey kiang anyhow plan. Can don’t go or not?”

xx J