December 28, 2010

It’s never about the money

Company Y recently announced that it’s gonna increase some of its benefits for all employees, in conjunction of the holidays etc. Then I overheard one of the guys in the office say – “Yeah, this is going to make some people think twice about leaving Company Y”. He was sort of like, commending on the effort of the management to curb the high turnover rate in Company Y…

That was when I told him – fool, it’s never about the money.

How could anyone be so damn naive to think that it’s about the money? It’s almost never about the money when an employee chooses to leave. It’s always about something else, almost never money. It is insulting to think that this is just a money problem. Pffffft. If it’s all about the money for a person, then that person is not worth to be retained in the first place… because money’s never enough. Grass’ always greener on the other side, ever heard of that? Attrition in an organization, my friends, is caused by many factors. And you can best bet your ass that money isn’t even in the top 5 causes.

Want to know what’s the top cause of people wanting to leave a company? The supervisor. That’s another way of saying – your boss. Your goddamn boss is the cause of everything. I don’t need a PhD to tell you that. I know it because almost, almost everyone that wanted to leave the workplace that I knew, never bitched anything about the money (and I’ve spoken to like, A LOTTT, of people). But I did, though, hear them bitch about how shitty it was for them to work under their superior/boss. From being a nutcase to being a slob, bosses have the direct influence over how an employee feels about being appreciated, motivated and wanting to fucking work there. It’s never about the fucking money. Grow the fuck up.

But I acknowledge the fact that, it’s not easy to be a boss. It’s fucking hard. It’s harder than pleasing your in-laws with a dick through a proxy reproductive system in the form of their beloved daughter. But realize one fact though, they’re paid high to do that ultra difficult job. If they’re not good at it, who the fuck else will? And why do we even bother to pay them that much? They might as well go fuck themselves. So, it’s never about the money. It’s about JOB SATISFACTION. And in the world according to me, job satisfaction equals to how much of an asshole the boss is. It’s never about the money. Never.

michaelooi  | enlightenments  | 

16 Comments to “It’s never about the money”

  1. einsamsoldat says:

    Hallelujah!!! Even in a lousy company, lousy pay, a damn good supervisor or immediate boss will be able to retain his team members; spoken from own experience from first job.

  2. che'burn says:


    Every company faces the problem of people leaving the company for better pay or profile.

    Early this year, Mark, a senior software designer, got an offer from a prestigious international firm to work in its India operations developing specialized software. He was thrilled by the offer.

    He had heard a lot about the CEO. The salary was great. The company had all the right systems in place employee-friendly human resources (HR) policies, a spanking new office,and the very best technology,even a canteen that served superb food.

    Twice Mark was sent abroad for training. “My learning curve is the sharpest it’s ever been,” he said soon after he joined.

    Last week, less than eight months after he joined, Mark walked out of the job.

    Why did this talented employee leave ?

    Arun quit for the same reason that drives many good people away.

    The answer lies in one of the largest studies undertaken by the Gallup Organization. The study surveyed over a million employees and 80,000 managers and was published in a book called “First Break All The Rules”. It came up with this surprising finding:

    If you’re losing good people, look to their immediate boss .Immediate boss is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And he ‘s the reason why people leave. When people leave they take knowledge,experience and contacts with them, straight to the competition.

    “People leave managers not companies,” write the authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

    Mostly manager drives people away?

    HR experts say that of all the abuses, employees find humiliation the most intolerable. The first time, an employee may not leave,but a thought has been planted. The second time, that thought gets strengthened. The third time, he looks for another job.

    When people cannot retort openly in anger, they do so by passive aggression. By digging their heels in and slowing down. By doing only what they are told to do and no more. By omitting to give the boss crucial information. Dev says: “If you work for a jerk, you basically want to get him into trouble. You don ‘t have your heart and soul in the job.”

    Different managers can stress out employees in different ways – by being too controlling, too suspicious,too pushy, too critical, but they forget that workers are not fixed assets, they are free agents. When this goes on too long, an employee will quit – often over a trivial issue.

    Talented men leave. Dead wood doesn’t.

  3. Eric says:

    Exactly my sentiments, Mike & einsamsoldat. I actually quit a well-paying job with a big regional company cos of the boss being such a **********. Now I’m in a much smaller company with a slightly less salary but the boss treats me with respect. SO, I’m still here. It’s all about the ‘Feel’.

  4. kenncke says:

    yeah …i do agree ..its all about the person above you and some of the dumb rules and regulation…

  5. Calvin Tan says:

    Well Michael, I beg to differ on the fact that money is not a factor driving people to leave their current company. I’m in this company whereby the annual fucking increment is only 3% throughout the entire co., from technicians to engineers (I dunno what’s the package like for our dumbass managers/ management). With only 3% a year, most of us find it very difficult, and that is the reason why the turnover in my company is so blady high! The turnover rate is so high, such that on average, I have to attend at least one farewell lunch per month. Therefore, money is indeed important. Just my 2 cents…

  6. michaelooi says:

    Good read cheburn

  7. ahsiang says:

    Money still can be the factor, just that the boss and job satisfaction are always the top reasons.

  8. passerby says:


    I’ve been following your blog for a long time and I generally agree with your opinions and points of view, but this entry cannot be further from the truth for me.

    I graduated two years ago with a Masters degree from a distinguished European university. It was the middle of the recent financial crisis and I only managed to get one job offer relevant to the field I graduated in (after jobhunting for 3 months). The company was a small Singaporean startup with an office in KL.

    Needless to say, I had no choice but to accept the offer. I was happy at my job, I fit in well with everybody, my bosses were great and the environment suited me perfectly. I could come in late and leave early, as long as I completed the work assigned to me. Some days I was even allowed to work from home and submit the work through e-mail. Whenever I made a mistake, there was always somebody there to cover my ass. They also sent me to America for two weeks for training.

    The only problem was the pay. I was taking home RM1,800 after EPF and SOCSO. I only had enough for the bare necessities and some months I couldn’t even afford to treat my parents to a nice dinner. I actually had a much better life as a student! (I was on a partial scholarship for my Bachelors degree, and another partial scholarship for my Masters).

    Not a day passed by without me thinking “I am a Masters degree holder, even Diploma holders earn more than this”. Then the end of the year came and the bosses announced that we wouldn’t be getting a bonus (the company was still new, still struggling and barely above the water). My increment would only be RM150 a month.

    I realized that I had 2 options:
    i) Stick with my existing company, rough it out with shit salary for the next 3-4 years and hope the company becomes substantially profitable.
    ii) Jump ship.

    I simply couldn’t afford option (i), so I started sending out applications. This time I got lucky and was made a good offer by a public listed company. It is my 10th month into the job and I am taking home almost RM4k. Of course the hours are longer, my immediate boss is an asshole and politics are rampant – but I don’t regret it at all. My time with my previous company was a great experience, but at the end of the day I need to look after myself and my family.

  9. michaelooi says:

    passerby – Well then, it’s all about money for you lor.

    (for the record, I started out with wayyy less than RM1800 at Company X, worked 12 hours a day, being treated like crap, never treated my parents for ‘nice dinners’, paid for my own courses, capped my lunch/dinner at 1.50 bucks a meal, and I lived with the meager shit for years until it paid off. Survival, buddy, like it or not. But still, it’s never about the money)

  10. Ryan says:

    Come on Michael, we have to be realistic here.

    What is the Number 1 objective of working?

    Money right? Money to buy food, buy house, buy car, or whatever shit that pleases you.

    Everything else is secondary.

  11. anas says:

    i feel for passerby, but it’s a risk when you’re working in a startup company.

    when i started working with company A, i was a fresh graduate. the pay (for a fresh grad) was not quite up to par with other companies. but i enjoyed working there. nice manager, nice senior manager. the whole department was like a family.

    during my first year into company A, i had an interview with our national o & g company, offered a job with a higher pay. but i didn’t take the offer. quite a few people questioned my wisdom, but for me, i seek a nice working environment before thinking about the pay package. i thought about the higher pay, but in the end i didn’t want to lose this very relaxed working environment.

    it’s been six years since i started here, and still a happy employee.

    it’s never the money.

    /michael: borrow your style of naming companies with alphabets ya.

  12. Arkane says:

    Well, money comes with sacrifice. You want more money, you sacrifice work life quality. Some people are willing to work in shit conditions for big bucks. It’s a matter of personal preference.

  13. VicTor says:

    People leave their manager, not their company. That’s the ultimate truth.

  14. michaelooi says:

    I didn’t say we don’t work for money. I’m saying most people leave not because of money. They’re both different things.

  15. woody says:

    True, many do not leave because of “just money”, but throwing in some other factors, the “boss” factor comes out the top. Many do not realized that, as people manager, their key charter is to ensure the well being of its subordinate, ensuring that they have best tool & knowledge to carry out their job & duty, continue helping the sub. to polish the skill, upgrading to new tools . Many managers only complained that their sub. are so clueless,cannot learn new technology and skill, they did not realized themselves are the one “f***ed up”, that’s why their sub. are clueless. How about when the sub badly needed a training, the boss cut his training plan (cost cutting) and instead, he fly himself to US for trivial face to face meeting ( actually == to collect frequent flyer mileage ) the meeting could have been done over the phone.
    Many are so obsessed over how to trim their sub’s traveling and training plan, when come to their own, no expense spare to get there.

    Yes, wholehearted agreed with you, boss is a big factor. If the staff screwed up, the boss is doubly “f***ed up”.
    Sorry for the 6 letters word.

  16. ShaolinTiger says:

    I think the money is a factor tho, the more they pay me – the more shit I will tolerate.

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