A Work Story – Dealing with Issues at Work

By Hui Xin

I started work at an MNC, since 2013, as an individual contributor. There were pros and cons to working alone. One of the major pros was that I did not need to deal with department gossips and politics.

This changed in October 2015 when an organisation restructuring happened. I was allocated into a new department which expanded quickly. Now, our department consists of 6 teams. We also have a new Asia Pacific (APAC) boss, E. While E’s main duties are to manage his APAC senior stakeholders, he is not our direct reporting boss. All of our direct reporting bosses are not based in Singapore.

In January 2017, there was a vacancy in my team. E brought in Z, someone that he knew from his previous company, to fill the vacancy. When Z started work, we found out quickly that Z did not have the relevant work experience. Z focused more on networking and placed little attention on his own work duties. In addition, Z always prioritised work tasked by E, which were often not approved by the rest of the management. As a result, E would always sing praises of Z in APAC meeting. 

I was considerably irritated by the situation. While I did not voice out my displeasure to my direct reporting boss, I distanced myself from Z. Z could most probably feel my unfriendliness towards him, so he kept his distance from me. At the end of 2017, E tried to promote Z, but our direct reporting boss denied the promotion. When I came to know about the incident, my dislike for Z grew. 

Subsequently, whenever Z approached me for work advice, I would reply him vaguely. At times when I anticipated Z would face work issues, I chose not to alert him. 

I felt bothered by my work ethics and lack of integrity but brushed off the guilty thoughts only until recently. I self-questioned if I should continue with this behaviour. While I felt that it was not helping in my inner self-development, which I would like to focus on, I feared that if I were to help Z at work, it would facilitate his promotion. 

Faced with this dilemma, I sent a text message to Teacher Koh Li Zhu for advice. Teacher Koh’s response was (in her actual words) as follows:







If you want to help him, don’t think too much. 

If you can’t help him at this point in time, then let it be, do not exert unnecessary pressure onto yourself with regards to your self-


However, Venerable Master Shen Kai has a saying: 

To help others is to help yourself

In this instance, helping yourself is equivalent to helping you reach another level in your cultivation. 

In the end, I chose to help Z when he encounters work issues. It has been 2 months since. Admittedly, I still feel some resentment towards Z at times. What it happens, I try to practice Teacher Chen Ming An’s advice of ‘watching our thoughts’, which he preached about when he was in Singapore in May 2018. Sometimes, this method works. When the thoughts (relating to Z or E) arise, I will watch them until they disappear and I will not feel any negative emotions. However, for most of the time, I was unable to watch my thoughts properly and the thoughts would turn into negative emotions, which would then take some time to overcome. Even so, overall, I prefer to be kind to Z. My emotions are more stable now in the office, as compared to 2 months ago. 

I hope that gradually, with mindfulness, endurance, and practice, I will be better in watching my thoughts clearly and attaining a stronger sense of liberation. In this way, I would be able to view my workplace and more importantly, life, from a more positive perspective.