In Thailand, the boss of an office is like a father to those who work for him. Because of his rank in the organization and often his age, he is held in very high esteem, and whatever he says goes. It’s a very hierarchical system – reminds me of The Godfather.
Since I moved here ten months ago, the director of the local office from my organization has been encouraging me to come to the office more all the time. I show up sometimes, but I’ve tried not to spend too much time there, because I don’t want to give the perception of oversight (I work with the area/regional team), and, well….because I like working from home.
I’m more of an introvert, and when I go to the office, I’m still treated somewhat like a celebrity (for reasons I don’t really understand). I don’t speak more than a mouthful of Thai, which makes communication painful for all of us. I don’t adhere to a normal work pattern, so I’m often up late into the night and start the day whenever. All that and they frown on me coming to work in my pajamas. (That’s almost a non-negotiable.)
But I think I’m about to succumb to the director’s influence. Last week, he had his team create an office for me. They cleared out all the storage supplies that were there before, hooked up a LAN line and introduced me to my cube-mates. Then he told everyone in the office that I was going to be working there, so every staff member I came in contact with asked me when I would start coming in. He made me an office I can’t refuse.
I’ve been in three times this week. It’s a good start, I think. But yesterday, Godfather took another step toward my indoctrination into the family. After coming to welcome me to my new space, he said something in Thai to the staff member nearest me. Seeing my puzzled look after he left, she whispered, “He told us to only speak to you in Thai.”
You think Vito Corleone had a Thai cousin?