Foreigner asks how Singaporean work culture came to be; very last minute, working overtime, unrealistic deadlines

3 months ago 98

SINGAPORE: A foreigner took to social media on Tuesday (April 2) to ask how Singaporean work culture came to be, addressing certain characteristics he has noticed working for Singaporean companies.

“Working overtime, expecting deliverables after working hours, refusing to be realistic about deadlines, and not respecting working after hours are just some of the tendencies I’ve encountered among people here,” he wrote.

“Send in things last minute and then expect the work to be completed by 9 pm, wahlao,” he added.

He continued to speak about how receiving work-related notifications past working hours has become a norm. “Besides that, it’s getting WhatsApp messages at 11 pm, and emails at 3 am. Do people not sleep?!

Lastly is the issue of catastrophising every situation (with the exception of those working in the medical, construction, and banking industries). Not going live with a project on the intended date is not going to mark the end of the world.

How did it become like this?”

“This is not meant to attack Singaporeans in any way, but in my years of working with Singaporean companies/counterparts, this seems to be a norm or trend,” he clarified.

Singaporeans’ take on Singaporean work culture

As expected, many online users made a beeline for the comments section to share their various explanations of how the typical work culture of Singapore came to be.

“Because most value generation in Singapore comes from margins,” shared one. “And a lot of them are time-sensitive, or market-sensitive. So any delay could potentially cos the company a lot of money. Doesn’t excuse the culture, but explains it.”

Others spoke of how the problem lies with company leaders who don’t know how to lead their teams. “Honestly, promoting people to managerial roles based on years of experience is probably the root cause,” one pointed out.

“You end up with a bunch of people who can’t manage to do all the management. A good manager fights to extend deadlines, a lousy one promises on one.”

Still, a third wrote, “There are a lot of bad managers out there who were promoted because they are good at a job but not at managing people. Then there is the toxic boomer mentality of needing to ‘see’ people at work.

If you clear your work and leave on time you must not be hardworking or have enough work. I had two workp...

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