The “Caterpillar” and the “Pigeon”: Types of Employees 

For this morning’s coffee talk, even before their hot latté have arrived, Samnang and Sothie decided they did not want to discuss the coronavirus anymore. Instead, they switch to the topic of what is considered “bad” employees and government officials. They note that “bad” private sector employees and government officials are considered to be “caterpillars”. Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, “good” private sector employees and government officials are considered to be “pigeons”. 



Samnang: Eh Sothie! The “caterpillar” employees and the “pigeon” employees? What do you really mean by that?



Sothie: Samnang, why are you acting like you don’t know?



Samnang: If I knew, why would I waste time asking you? 



Sothie: If you really have no idea, I will explain that to you. The “pigeon” employees are the ones who believe in honesty, commitment, determination, consistency and hard work. Apart from this they value prosperity, friendship and love for their institution, as well as wanting their institution to progress. Pigeons are the embodiment of peace and innocence. They don’t usually create problems. 



Samnang: How about the “caterpillar” employees? What are your views on them? 



Sothie: Don’t you cut me off like that! I’ trying to explain it to you now. The “caterpillar” government officials or private employees are the useless ones. They love formulating conflicts inside their own institution and are too lazy to complete their duties, so they spread misinformation for the sake of personal benefit. 



Samnang: For the second type of employees, are there many of them in our society? 



Sothie: Oh! There are plenty of them clinging around the government sector as well as the private sector. There are not a lot, but there are enough of them. I just want to clarify that this type of employee can be very harmful to institutions. Creating problems has become their job every single day they show up to work.



Samnang: If you said that there are plenty of them, isn’t that very bad news for the institutions or companies?  What do they need to do, Sothie?  



Sothie: In order to reduce the number of these so-called “caterpillar” employees, the manager or the boss themselves has to know how to “look” for the right person. Some employees can be so sweet on the surface, yet devious inside. Trying to find every single opportunity to benefit their own greed. The manager or the boss is the core solution to this. They have to avoid being a “white ear” – that’s a person who believes quickly someone else without thinking. Samnang, I only refer to the bad government officials or company employees, I am not referring to all of them. Some are obviously working hard for their institutions and their country, please hear me out. 



Samnang: Of course, Sothie. I can hear and catch your point properly. You speak Khmer, not French or English. 



Before living the Café, Sothie mockingly asked Samnang, “Samnang, you understand yeah?” Samnang then replied back “Why not?!” After checking the bill, both of them waved goodbye and left for work. 


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