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In Cambodia, there are education options that lead nowhere except to the labor market. Once there, what happens?
You are told to work, that is, to follow office schedules that were set without consulting you, to obey people who are not part of your family and, even though they have far less diplomas than you, bore you with silly chores you must handle, having to account for the way you use your time and this, for a measly salary on the grounds that you lack work experience.
It would be good, you say to yourself, if those people who, on the pretext that they are your employers, feel entitled to control your life, would realize that you have done STUDIES and HOLD A DEGREE.
After your high-school degree—obtained in the era of Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron, that is, with a 100 percent cheating-free guaranty that has nothing to do with the degrees obtained by your so-called bosses—you had the choice of going to prestigious private institutions that offer very expensive programs, which is very good to get a diploma recognized internationally—although only valid in Cambodia.
And then, equipped with this valuable door opener that would make you, to start with, a potential marketing and communication supervisor, financial department head or deputy director of human resources, you made the round of the businesses that seemed in a position of grasping how lucky they would be to hire on the spot a colleague of your caliber.
With the HR directors and recruiters you met, you proved that you were worthy of your high-price diploma. All smiles and sure of yourself, you assure them from the start that you will be able to do EVERYTHING and do it better.
Doing better meaning doing nothing because, of course, you believe that a diploma is not for you to work but to make others do so.
And this is what you did, as soon as your contract was signed, based on an extremely heavy schedule as this typical-day program indicates:
1. Arriving not too early at the office following breakfast at your neighborhood Brown Coffee and Bakery, which gives you the opportunity of posting a photo of your $3.50 breakfast—such as Eggs Benedict—so that your friends can see that you are on the road to success.
2. You barely say hello to your colleagues when you settle at your desk, looking busy. You may be a newcomer to the company but, this way, you show them that you know what you have to do, having a degree.
3. You get into a WhatsApp conversation with your former classmates. This is a way to subtly show them that, even at work, you remain in charge of your schedule. In other words, that you virtually are the boss.
4. As your boss opens the door of his office to invite you to join the morning briefing, you call a pseudo coworker—in fact one of your friends—so he will understand that you don’t need to be told what you have to do.
5. You hang up one hour later and jump into the development of a smartphone application meant to revolutionize the work of the company’s salesforce. It’s this app idea that convinced your boss to hire you. He knows nothing about digital communication but was ashamed to admit it, and so he hired you. The problem is that you have no clue either since you spent half of your time at the Brown Coffee near your school, sharing photos on Facebook over Caffe Latte. For now, the boss believes you when you say it’s complicated.
6. At the end of the morning, you launch a chat with your friends on Telegram—you have all the apps and like to make it known that you do—to arrange to meet for lunch. It’s tough: Whether Brown Coffee, Coffee Bean, Amazon, Park Cafe, The Diplomat, Starbucks, KFC…everyone has his own opinion. In the end as always, you tell yourselves that you all will go wherever you wish and do a Facebook Live to compare what you will eat. And you drool over free Wi-Fi: rather convenient and friendly...
7. In the afternoon, you tell your supervisor that you will not return to the office as you have an appointment with an app developer at AEON Mall 1. The app developer happens to be your cousin who is an independent contractor, that is, he doesn’t do anything as his father has a great job in real estate development and spends his afternoons at Brown Coffee at AEON Mall 1. You don’t speak to each other for three hours because your 5,500 friends claim your attention and you are short of selfies.
Finally, after 15 days of this exhausting work program, you felt that it was time to have your dedication to the company taken into account and that your expertise and diplomas be properly acknowledged with an appropriate position, that is, with one’s own office and under the direct supervision of the big boss.
Your direct supervisor, who has been informed of your wishes by yourself, told you, with a smile that took you aback, “Let’s talk about this, quietly, over a cup of coffee.”
At the Brown Coffee where you were to meet, he told you, indicating the table where you had settled, “You wanted an office to your liking: Here it is. Don’t come back to the office. You’re no longer with the company.” And then he left you there.
As soon as you were alone, you connected with your friends on WhatsApp and told them: “Hi, friends, I just turned down a crummy promotion. Join me at Brown so we can celebrate.