ST Nov 7, 2007Isn’t this ironic? Minister Lim Swee Say tells you that it is very short-sighted to change jobs for the sake of earning more money. But for years and years, the PAP has been saying that if we don’t pay our ministers the world’s highest ministerial salaries (and give them further increases after that), then they’re all going to run away to join the oh-so-lucrative private sector.
Labour chief calls job-hopping, poaching short-sighted
By Marcel Lee Pereira
NO SOONER had Mr Kalaichellvan Krishna been crowned the service 'superstar' of the restaurant sector than new job offers began trickling in.
Minutes after the 26-year-old, who works for the Jack's Place steakhouse chain, was given the SuperStar Award at the Excellent Service Award (Exsa) ceremony held at the Raffles City Convention Centre yesterday, the poachers pounced.
They offered him jobs at other restaurants and hotels, but he turned them down politely.
His reason? His first loyalty is to his customers.
'They know me. Without them, I couldn't have won this award,' said Mr Kalaichellvan, an assistant manager at the chain's West Coast Recreation Centre outlet.
This business of loyalty and poaching of staff is something that concerns many employers these days.
The red-hot job market - figures announced last week put the jobless rate at 1.7 per cent, a 10-year low - is causing a scramble for talent and pushing up wages, and some companies are finding it hard to hold on to workers like Mr Kalaichellvan.
The problem is serious enough that Minister Lim Swee Say, from the Prime Minister's Office, who gave out awards to 10 winners in different sectors yesterday, touched on it during his speech at the ceremony.
Warning that the labour market is set to get tighter as major events such as the Formula One race come to Singapore, the labour chief urged service staff not to job-hop, and told employers to refrain from poaching.
'For workers to job-hop for a few dollars more during good times is a very short-sighted move, because the journey towards excellence is a long one,' he said
……… Turning to employers, he said: 'Every time we give out the awards, when the superstars appear in the newspapers, many employers will want to take a short cut and go after the winners, ask them what is their pay now, offer another 20 per cent.
'I think it's a very short-sighted move on the part of employers, and I hope that the Exsa superstars today, no matter how hard your competitors try to poach you, say no to them,' he added, to applause.
If PAP ministers can’t be expected to serve out of a sense of loyalty to the nation, why would we expect people like Mr Kalaichellvan to serve out of a sense of loyalty to a steak restaurant.
But what do I know. Maybe loyalty to restaurants gets you further than loyalty to the nation these days. See how the Singapore Armed Forces discarded this old soldier (and he isn’t even that old):
ST Nov 6, 2007“Special Early Transition”, ha. Sounds more like “Extended Notice Period” to me.
Warrant officer asked to retire 5 years earlier
I WAS a regular serviceman in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). I served a total of 32 years, comprising full-time national service, reservist and regular service, from 1974-2006.
I was one of more than 200 regular servicemen and women in the Army who were notified in May last year that we would be given Special Early Transition. Some of the reasons cited included difficulty in offering us 'suitable jobs' in the long run, restructuring and possible 'stagnation'. We were given only six months to transit.
Having attained the rank of a warrant officer in 2001, it meant that I was able to serve till the compulsory retirement age (CRA) of 55. I transitted last November after just turning 50, five years short of the CRA.
The Control of Personnel Centre announced that we were not under-performers. I was still PES 'B' and I received my performance bonuses annually without fail. I had also met all other requirements, i.e., Individual Physical Proficiency Tests, Annual Trainfire Programme, Body Mass Index, and Annual Proficiency Knowledge Test.
I also did not have any discipline or medical problems. The latter meant that I was still combat fit and still deployable. There are some who have not conformed to one or more of these requirements and yet are still serving in the organisation.
Till today, I am still somewhat in a state of depression at how the organisation had overlooked all my years of loyal and dedicated service.
The SAF Management Philosophy states:
'The SAF is concerned with the well-being of its people and their families, the SAF values its people, looks after them and their families so that they can give wholehearted attention to their assigned duties.'
The Defence Minister himself said last year:
'Every soldier is precious to us. Every national serviceman, every operationally ready national serviceman, every regular who serves with us is a precious and valuable person.'
The organisation failed to honour its word to allow me and many others to serve till the CRA of 55. I have a wife and two young children still attending school.
Second Warrant Officer (Retired)
Dear Henry, I am sorry for you. There is an important lesson to learn here, and this is it – Singapore doesn’t really care about you. You have to care about you. And your family.
Next time – if there’s a next time – keep your eyes wide open for a good job opportunity. And as soon as it comes along, hop. Make it an IPPT gold-star award-winning Standing Broad Jump.
Regardless of what Lim Swee Say has got to say.