How the corporate sector turned me into a hypocrite

Published: August 21, 2013
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Once proud of being a part of this sector, I sometimes feel ashamed now. I am now a man without values. ILLUSTRATION: IMAAN SHEIKH

To become a part of the corporate world had always been my dream, and ever since my graduation, it had become my vision to enter this grand realm and use my knowledge to cater to its needs. However, it did not take me long to understand that my vision was better as a dream than as a reality, and these are the reasons why.

As planned, a month after my graduation, I joined a renowned multinational to kick-start my career. Everything was looking glorious to me, as if it could not possibly get any better than this – the office, the environment, the culture, the employees and the work, it was perfect. However, soon, I realised that the grass here only seemed greener, and that the actual picture was marred in many ways.

The product that was marketed and that which was sold were poles apart in these organisations. Being an amateur, I thought this was nothing unusual and that any company would do the same. Thus, I kept quiet and continued working.

After serving around six years in the corporate sector, I can proudly say that I am a polished, well equipped, dedicated and self-motivated hypocritical professional. I have learnt that there is no or little room for  honesty and integrity in this sector.

Just a friendly tip: before joining this sector you should rid yourself of all values – there is no space for these in this industry.

You cannot excel in the corporate sector with only performance and competence to stand by; it is essential to be a hypocrite. I have seen people going an extra mile for their increments and promotions, doing things you could have never imagined people of such a calibre would do.

I have seen people running personal errands, such as shopping, picking and dropping their bosses to and from the office and giving them the expensive gifts irrespective of an occasion. All of this is done not as a gesture of civility but for the sole purpose of receiving a promotion – in Pakistani terminology makhan lagaana (buttering up). Additionally, you are required to agree with your boss on everything he believes in or you might have to face dire consequences.

Often I have observed people compromising the organisation’s interests just because it didn’t please their superior. Bosses are given too much power, and since we all know power comes with a price, here the employees pay that price. For example, if you are a top dog at an esteemed company, you can ‘help’ out a friend or a relative using your status. However, the same ‘favour’ will not be extended to another hardworking and more deserving colleague.

I find this grossly unfair and no matter how high I climb, I just can’t wrap my head around this preferential treatment.

Alternatively, I have noticed that if you are coming through a reference, the job is served to you on a silver platter, but this is not applicable to other employees who might be more capable and have the potential to succeed. This practise is so common that at certain times, qualification, experience, abilities and competencies have no or little place.

This is why intelligent and deserving people who hail from poor families, with little or no connections, always get the shorter end of the stick. We will not allow them to dig themselves out of poverty because they know nobody in power.

My colleague and I have suffered the same; what we received as promotions, increments and other organisational benefits was very low in terms of our capabilities and qualifications, and this was because we refrained from doing what many of our colleagues had proudly done – sucking up to their bosses.

As you might have already figured out, there is little room for ethics in the corporate sector. All that is required is profitability and that too at any cost. Organisations are shamelessly involved in malpractices such as stealing electricity and gas and evading taxes to boost their profitability.

Moreover, they do not follow labour and environmental laws and fail to provide their employees with the facilities and wages as per the laws stated. How often have you seen a worker wearing no protective gear, carrying out perilous duties? Just think of the people we lost in the Baldia fires. If these workers were treated as they were meant to  and not as money-making machines, they might have still been alive.

The sad reality, however, is that organisations safeguard their own interests. Many corporations have code of conducts but when it comes to following these codes, a conflict of interest magically arises. If following the code benefits the organisation it is followed, otherwise it is scrapped and forgotten like it never existed.

Not so long ago, I had a few grievances with the management of my organisation, for which I emailed the  senior management level. As expected, the complaint was never addressed in fear of harming or upsetting my boss. Instead, my attitude, behaviour and performance were questioned. I didn’t ask or complain about anything absurd, I was demanding justice as per the code of conduct that I was entitled to.

Alas! That’s just the way it is.

Truthfully, the corporate life is a robotic life where emotions, feelings, family and friends have little or no place. All that is required by corporations are results and positive ones at that. They are not concerned with how you feel or what you say. It is a rat race where everyone is trying to beat the other, not by performance but by cunning.

Many times, I have observed people back-stabbing and sidelining their colleagues and best friends for earning a few words of kindness from their bosses. What is the purpose of such a promotion?

Once proud of being a part of this sector, I sometimes feel ashamed now. I am now a man without values.

Asad Ur Rehman

Asad Ur Rehman

A Muslim, patriotic Pakistani, OD professional, Social Activist and a blogger, who is currently serving in Asia's largest textile unit." He tweets @asad_piracha twitter.com/asad_piracha

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