Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Work Ethics and Attitudes

Afew months ago, I had e-mail encounters with a government agency in my birth-place, Singapore.  It was a tiny issue that took about a month or more to solve.  Normally, the government agencies in Singapore are quite efficient and I have always been very impressed with their helpful attitude and efficiency.
In Singapore, most of us like to 'get things done quickly' and move on to the next task.

This time, I was surprised that the particular agency staff kept asking me for details when I had clearly explained the matter or kept asking me to provide proof when it was already done.
When I asked the staff to respond to my questions - there was no response, no apology for the mistake made; instead, I was asked another question. 

I have learnt the following from this encounter with the particular department and my learning is limited to this group:

1.  Civil servants need to learn to apologise when they have made a mistake.
2.  Civil servants need to read correspondences carefully before responding accurately and with clarity.
3.  Civil servants need to exercise some flexibility and consider other factors when making a decision.
4.  Civil servants need to be trained in public relation skills.
5.  Civil servants warn about the law and penalty associated to breaking the law within an immediate stipulated time but the irony is that they themselves contacted me many months later.

On a personal note, I thank God for giving me a 'civil servant' experience in the government a very long time ago.  This enabled me to understand that sometimes, the civil servant-writer may not be the real decision-maker (especially when the email is copied to 3-4 others!).  Therefore, I need not be angry with such oversight in email correspondences.  However, I am appalled that a tiny issue took much time to be corrected.  That is a waste of taxpayer's money.

At times I wondered if the staff and immediate superiors from that particular department knew of their responsibilities attached to the rank/title.

After about a month, the tiny issue was resolved, still with no apology.  I shrugged my shoulders, noting my own disappointment with such a service and hoping that at times in a civil servant's worklife, it might be a good idea to re-visit issues such as service attitudes, public relations skills and ways to respond with a personal touch.

This is a given - I need to be praying for the civil servants in Singapore.  I am praying that Christian civil servants will always take to their heart the truth of Colossians 3: 17  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


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