The torment some employees receive from their bosses may slowly consume them from within, and may one day lead them to end their lives. Pic by Munira Abdul Ghani

I have heard numerous complaints from a number of friends about how horrible their bosses are, and how unsympathetic certain companies are towards their employees. Everywhere I go, I hear more horror stories than anything else. These aren’t made up either, as a recent survey by SkootJobs has found that many people aren’t happy with their jobs.

The survey quizzed 15,000 Malaysian youths about their attitude towards their occupations, and a only small percentage of 14.8 per cent either liked or loved what they were doing. That isn’t really what surprised me. A shocking 33.3 per cent hated their jobs, and an alarming 26.6 per cent revealed that they were suicidal over issues related to their jobs.

I almost choked on the French fries I had been nibbling on when I read that.

As someone who goes around openly declaring “I have the best job in the world”, I couldn’t understand how the results were what they were. Perhaps, I have been blessed to be able to study something I have always been passionate about, and then later on, getting a job that I wouldn’t give up the world for. I am further blessed with a remarkable employer and wonderful colleagues. My only complaint? Having to wake up at 5am daily.

So, it was only natural (and perhaps, naïve, admittedly) for me to assume that most people would have a similar pleasant experience in the pursuit of their careers. A recent chat with a few close friends opened my eyes to the horrors of having a monster boss.

I found out that the management of an international private school in Johor has been abusing employees to extents that I could never have imagined. The owner of the school allegedly has a nasty habit of verbally abusing teachers of all ages, usually preferring to do so in front of other people. He also supposedly fires his employees without a valid reason, ordering them to leave with immediate effect. I did not study law, but I am very sure that no employer is legally allowed to fire a permanent staff member without legitimate grounds.

If these teachers somehow manage to stay on, they aren’t well taken care of by their employer. For example, it is alleged that if a teacher falls ill and produces a valid medical certificate, it would be rejected by the management, and the teacher would still be required to turn up to work and carry on with day-to-day duties, including teaching.

They are also not allowed to socialise at work, where chit-chatting among colleagues is reported and further action is taken by the management. In most cases, it ends with either getting a warning or being told to leave the company at once.

You can only imagine how my stomach churned when I heard about this, and how angry I was when I found out that everyone there was either too afraid to report to the authorities about the blatant abuse by their employer or just didn’t care to speak up. Even the ones who were wrongfully kicked out refused to say anything.

I had a lot of trouble comprehending that.

The main reason I’m relating all this to you is because I do not wish for something unfortunate to happen before realising that something else could’ve been done to avoid it. Some people accept the bullying and tolerate the abuse by keeping mum. Some people move on and pretend that it never happened.

Others, on the other hand, are not so lucky. The torment slowly consumes them from within, and will one day lead them to end their lives. If you had known them, the guilt from their death would present you nothing but agony and suffering, with the question of “What if I had said/done something earlier?” forever lingering in your mind.

So, if you are in an unfortunate situation like this, please do not hesitate to do what’s right. Even if you refuse to think about yourself, think about others around you. Do the right thing and clear your conscience. Do not wait for a suicide to make you act on something because, at times, ignorance can kill.

Ashley Greig, a lecturer at Sunway College, is a Malaysian-born Eurasian with Scottish/Japanese/Indian lineage. She believes in a tomorrow where there is no existence of racism and hatred

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