Office Hostility

Office hostility is a universal thing. When I started my IT career 7 years ago in Pakistan, I encountered and observed many a forms of office antagonism. Then I thought that perhaps this is yet another characteristic of an office of a developing country. But now after all these years, I have been in touch with many people around the world, and they all have, more or less, same story to share.

Now I can say safely, no matter where you are, how educated or talented your are, you are not safe from office ridicule or hostility or arrogance or demeaning or politics or jealousy or enmity. You might be right now experiencing the same agony-rich process. This is a world wide disease and needs to be addressed at global level.

Offices are where work is done to increase and improve productivity. But if the office environment is hostile and abusive, there is a very remote chance of it doing anything worthwhile. In Pakistan, especially in the public sector, the boss considers it appropriate to use his tongue as a lash to keep the things supervised. He takes exquisite pleasure in demeaning his subordinates. The more unctuous you are, the more are the chances of your safety from the abuse.

Instead of concentrating on productivity and improvement, employees tend to focus more on saving their skins and to find ways to avoid the employer’s wrath. That is why the productivity and value at public sector organizations and institutes in our country is virtually zero. And that generalizes to a company-wide basis – can’t tell you for example the number of folks at well-known large public sector organizations who’ve told me how bad things are. If after several rounds of over-work, bad measurement, etc. etc. the bulk of the employees keep reducing their efforts while they watch their backs and look for alternatives you get an original 80% effort reduced by, say, 20%, at several rounds of stupidity.

It doesn’t take many iterations for this to destroy a company’s capabilities. Yet because people are treated as fungible commodities instead of (uniquely) appreciating and celebrated assets they’re grossly and unduly mis-managed.

Would you like to share with us, your experience in this regard?


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