Monday is a working day for me. I had to specify which day I am off or on because one, we have more off days now due to the unpaid days and the pending leaves that we had to take and two, we can’t even recognize the difference between the days except for the spelling of the day itself.
There are three of us in our department that is based on the island while the other three are based somewhere else. So it’s me, an Assistant Director (head of the team here) and a Coordinator.
Our Assistant Director is a very sociable person. He loves social interaction as much as he loves food.
He was supposed to take a holiday this month, if things were normal. But then when countries started locking down, he panicked and booked the earliest possible flight from Maldives to his country. And the minute he left the island, Malaysia announced a lock down. His flight will arrive to Kuala Lumpur one day before the announced lock down. Quite lucky.
With the way he is, we already knew that if he is to stay in this island for months, he’s gonna go crazy. He loves to go out and he loves good food and he can’t stay put here on the island. He will go to Male’ every possible chance he could just for food. And while we get food here, he still have some different expectations about food.
Few days before he left, we had an argument. He wanted to go to Male’ to eat Thai food. And at that time, there were 19 suspected cases in Male’. I asked him what was his priority, food or safety? And because I got him cornered and his reasons were not that sound to win out the argument he fell silent and we three had a cold and quiet lunch.
Just before he left, we again had an argument about the leaves that we have to take. He scheduled the leaves according to what is convenient for him rather than what we, his two subordinates wanted. But since he was leaving that day, I just let it go and bid him goodbye.
Monday morning, the first thing he asked me on group chat was to change leaves with him. He said that Malaysia is still on lock down and he would like to move his leave from April 1 and change with me. Again I asked for reasons and since he feel cornered, he started talking behind me with our Coordinator.
My understanding of a good leader is that they should prioritize their team first and I cannot believe how our ‘leader’ can only think about himself all the time. Maybe my way of thinking is quite idealistic and extreme, I don’t know. Maybe he is right to think about himself first before others. Maybe I am wrong. But all I know is, he left us here, he was the first to leave in this time of chaos. He has access to ‘good’ food, he is in his hometown close to his family. He has all the advantages compared to us here on the island. But still he wanted to change things according to his convenience. I am amazed how he thinks that we are just okay here and that we’d love to spend weeks and months of our holidays here. Well yes, we’d love to take a holiday here but not in this situation. We love the island, we love the sea and that’s for sure. But there’s a difference between working and idly sitting here. And we also want to reserve our vacation leaves for when the time things get better and we can also go home to our families. If he was asking to change because of an emergency, I will fully understand. But that’s not the matter.
I am amazed when I see leaders prioritize their team first and take the responsibility for them because, that’s what I think leaders should do. That’s why when a boat or ship sinks, the Captain will be the last to leave making sure that everyone on the boat has safely left. But in our case, our Captain was the first to leave the boat even before it sank.
Maybe this is too little a matter compared to what the world is facing but this is what I felt today.
Image not mine
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