THE MANUAL CHEMICAL REFERENCING DEPARTMENT AND THE FILIPINO WIVES CLUB
Years ago when I worked for an International Drug Company, I was asked to do Performance Appraisal Follow-ups which meant that after the staff had their appraisals I would go along to talk to their managers about their team’s training and development needs.
Before I go on, I should say, at this point that the company I worked for although a world leader in the research, development, production, marketing and sale of drugs, was not the most efficient organisation to work for. In fact I often thought that if it wasn’t making drugs, where the profit margins are high, it would not have been making any money.
The introduction of Performance Appraisal was one of the company’s first attempts to tighten up on its processes and systems.
So once the appraisals were over, I booked to see all the appraising managers. One of these managers was the team leader for the Manual Chemical Referencing Department in the Analytical Development Laboratories.
When talking to the team leader it wasn’t long before he revealed that the manual chemical referencing function had been replaced by automated chemical referencing a few years previously. Since no one had disbanded the department (and they didn’t like to highlight the fact that they were in effect doing nothing) they kept themselves occupied by offering to help adjacent departments with their work.
As I was listening to his story, it occurred to me that he was relieved to be able to share his predicament with someone, since they were a department whose staff had largely been forgotten.
In addition to this lack of a function, the team leader had another problem. As you may appreciate male analytical chemists are not always the most successful with women, but they were good at finding solutions to problems. One of these solutions was to look abroad to find their wives.
It all started when one of the team members had gone to the Philippines to find a wife. This was followed by each of them in turn going to get themselves, a Filipino bride.
According to the team leader instead of manually chemically referencing drugs, now he spent his time resolving arguments between the husbands and the wives and between the wives themselves and between the husbands.
He told me stories of his team being locked out of their homes with no clothes on and their wives bashing doors down. He also recalled times when wives had turned up at work to continue the arguments with their husbands. According to him the wives developed alliances and created hostilities amongst themselves as well ‘pitting’ the husbands against each other.
Clearly he was worn out by acting as a peacemaker throughout all this drama.
I was there to work out what their training and development needs were. It seemed inappropriate to recommend a marriage guidance-counselling course in a corporate setting so I recommended an assertiveness and conflict resolution course for him and his team.
What this scenario does highlight is that partnerships are a lot more complicated than being in the same country and saying ‘I do’.
What was lacking for the referencing chemists was:
- A template for a successful relationship
- The ability to identify and express their needs or hear and address the needs of their partners
- The personal development to avoid drama through establishing clear boundaries
- Problem solving strategies to assist them to resolve conflict
- Work to distract them from the problems they had at home
This story shows quite clearly how impoverished relationships not only effect the immediate environment but can also spill over into work and friendships particularly if there is not a structure or routine like work to offer balance and distraction.
Please note that this article is Copyright and cannot be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any way without prior permission of the author.