I had always considered myself to be a pretty laid-back person. A good friend of mine once said to me, “You know, Renee, the best thing about you is that you just don’t give a f***”. I felt like this was pretty true– I take most things as they come and it’s hard to get a strong reaction out of me.
Well, this was what I thought until I came to work here. You have not seen type B until you’ve tried to work in Thailand. I am seriously amazed that anything gets done around here, ever.
The thing is that there seems to be a mindset of inaction here. You can tell someone about something that needs to be done, or a problem that needs to fixed, and you will get no reaction other than “oh, okay. We’ll look into that” with a perfect poker face. You’re crazy if you think they are actually going to work on the problem.
A perfect example is the fact that, three weeks after my promised pay date, there is still no motion towards getting me that cash. Mind you, everyone involved is aware that my credit card was stolen about a month ago, and that I have had to borrow money twice already just to hold me over until I got paid. A week late was fine, but after that I started calling my agency every day to confirm that they’ll send the check TODAY. They say ok, sure. I call back the next day to confirm that it was sent, and they say “oh, I forgot.” or some other equally bogus response. I explain that my credit card was stolen, I have about 15 dollars left, and this is urgent. They say “ok, we’ll send it today.” Call back next day, and it’s the same exact dialogue.
I have tried to get my school involved, and they say they will talk to the agency. They don’t.
The fact that there is a problem here doesn’t seem apparent to anyone. No one has been surprised, or sympathetic, or thought, “that’s not right.” They just say, with no reaction, “Oh, ok. I’ll talk to so-and-so about that.” So-and-so talks to someone else, who talks to someone else, who tells me they’ll get back to me. They don’t.
I genuinely don’t think that they are acting like this because they don’t care. Well, I’m, sure some are. But above all, the attitude here is “mai bpenrai” or “it doesn’t matter.” Nothing phases anyone. There’s never a sense of urgency, nothing ever goes wrong, and nothing ever progresses as a result. It’s just chill, chill, chill, all day long. That’s all fine and well in the greater life setting, but in a professional environment it’s absolutely maddening. Especially when my expected working hours are extremely long, specifically because it takes people so long to do accomplish a normal day’s work.
Sometimes I feel like I’m in the movie Office Space, getting talked to about my TPS reports. I’ll be trying to do my work, and colleague after colleague will come in to give me a spiel about x task that the administrative team needs to do, and ask me for the same list of information that the last person asked for. Fast forward a week, and x task has still not been accomplished. And there’s no record of the information I provided. I think that there’s just some sort of disconnect between knowing what needs to be done and actually doing it. There’s plenty of talking, but the action trigger never fires for some reason.
I really liked the “mai bpenrai” attitude when I got here, and it was one of the things that attracted me to Thailand. And in some ways it’s been great. I have never seen anyone get angry, and there are none of those ball-of-stress people who just suck the energy out of a room. Everyone is happy. The details aren’t important, and you can “wing it” as much as you want. Everyone just lives.
But COME ON… let’s not get TOO carried away with the idea, to the point of losing functionality.