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Count yourself lucky to have a job

IT WAS a Friday night when I walked into my usual Japanese restaurant.

To my surprise, the small place was packed and I was glad I had made a booking, despite being a regular patron.

Another surprise awaited me as I took my seat at the counter: There was none of the usual greetings and smiles from the chefs. In their place were black faces. There was no eye contact; it was as if we customers were 'transparent'.

Something told me there was more to the extraordinary situation than meets the eye.

The busy waitresses were told off rudely by the two chefs either for not writing the orders clearly or for not serving food fast enough, all these within earshot of the customers sitting around.

My heart went out to the poor girls.

The atmosphere was tense, like that in a courtroom. Halfway through my dinner, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked one of the chefs what the problem was.

Unknowingly, I had touched a raw nerve, sparking an outburst. The reason for the outburst?

He felt that the crowd was more than they could handle, that their boss and supervisors were not doing anything to reduce their workload...

The two chefs were even contemplating resigning to teach the owner a lesson, without giving enough thought to the consequences - to them and their families. Unfortunately, their attitude is not uncommon in the workforce.

There are workers who prefer days when there are fewer customers and less work, or who go on leave or call in sick during busy periods. To them, busy days are a chore. But have they thought about the consequences of not having enough work or customers?

How long can a company, no matter how big it is, last if there is not enough business? The workers may end up without jobs.

The work in most jobs is often periodic in nature - there are peaks and troughs. What workers need to do is to learn to compromise, to give and take. Unfortunately in life, taking is easier than giving.

If there are genuine grievances, these should be discussed with management in a constructive way.

Suffering in silence is not the solution. Bottling up frustrations is bad enough. Venting them on customers is even worse. The company's image suffers. Resigning en masse is not a way of getting back at the boss. It is plain stupidity and workers will end up losers. You can never fight an institution.

Frontline staff are the ones that make or break a company. The chefs lost their restaurant a few loyal customers that Friday night. I, for one thing, would have second thoughts about dining there again.

Let us appreciate the fact that we are still employed in these difficult economic times and treasure our jobs.

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