[UPDATED on 8 August 2010 with clarification to the Muhammad Ali photo caption.]

Who are these Boys that we are calling Boys? Are we calling the Scouts? No. Are we calling someone’s child? No. We are calling the dispatch services personnel. If you are an employer, take this opportunity to understand their basic needs and show a little respect.

Photo taken by Alice Chong of a Muhammad Ali poster
Photo taken by Alice Chong of a Muhammad Ali poster

Boys, who are they? “Suruh Boy you pergi sana sekarang“, “Make sure the Boys return us the slip”, “Kenapa Boy itu lewat sangat?

Who are these Boys that we are calling Boys? Are we calling the Scouts? No. Are we calling someone’s child? No. We are calling the dispatch services personnel. If you are an employer, take this opportunity to understand their basic needs. It is the basic needs that you need to look at, just that.

I’m certain that no legal firm has ever failed to have urgent documents to send out or to be collected. Who do you call? -Dispatch Riders! A simple call to them will enable you to send or obtain the urgent documents. It is as simple as a-b-c. It will be difficult, however, if you try to act like a boss when you are not one, at least not the boss of them.

If we were a clerk, we could have a thousand rantings, but the fact is we are sitting comfortably in the office with cooling air conditioning. Even if we have to run around to retrieve files, the sweat would easily dry off. When it is raining outside, they will be soaking wet. When the sun is gazing brightly, they are sweaty. They carry their back pack, or stack of documents while traversing city streets on their motorcycle. Do we have any concern for them?

A simple conversation with my fellow colleagues, as I humbly address them enlightens me. In this short period of time, I have been enjoying fantastic services – which also covers photocopying and binding tasks. They are simply fantastic! They provide excellent services that saves a lot of time and are essential to the work that a law firm does.

Sometimes some employers do not know what these dispatch riders do. The theory is “I am the employer, I pay you salary and you do your work.” It appears that practical reality does not really correspond with the theory very well. They do deserve respect and honour even. Is it really that difficult to accord them the due respect they deserve? Sometimes even common courtesy and manners are lacking and they are often taken for granted.

What they want is so simple. Regardless of whether you are working in a big or small firm, these simple things should be noted to ensure a friendly working environment. With smiles around the office, everything will be smooth sailing.

(i) Treat them with respect. They are your colleagues, not your servant.

The fact that they are working as a dispatch rider does not mean that they are a class below. They are in fact in equal position as you unless you are the boss. Even so, giving them respect will not kill you. A little respect goes a long way – it gives them a sense that it is worth it to work hard for you, everyone appreciates a little appreciation. Bear in mind that payment of salary does not guarantee employees working hard for you.

(ii) Allow for appropriate claims and do away with restrictions.

Some firms offer a very low basic pay. Thus, their income depends on their mileage claims. If you are a partner of a firm and you restrict claimable mileage to areas nearby your office, you will end up losing chances of having good and valuable employees. After all, how much can you earn? Sharing profits indirectly with them will ensure more business with greater efficiency.

(iii) Never delay their pay – that includes expediting their claims.

Some people undoubtedly are sensitive towards issues involving money. If we sit down and listen to them, we can easily find out that they don’t like firms delaying the claims. Let’s think it over. If your firm’s accounts department delays the claim, that means they are inefficient. Have you discovered another disadvantage? This is like killing two birds with one small stone. First, employees are happy. Secondly, efficiency can be increased. Are you the biggest winner? No. Everyone is the winner.

From what I have seen in this firm, they are not just dispatch riders who deliver documents and letters, but they are the most reliable assistant you can have when you are rushing documents, especially when you require skills such as binding and photocopying. They are therefore, I reiterate, are a valuable asset in your firm.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow colleagues who had indirectly contributed to this view and made me appreciate their invaluable assistance. Aside, thank you for the help given to me whenever I needed it.

LB: Chris Tan reads law at a local college and aspires to be a good lawyer someday. He will not let the fate of the curious cat get in the way of experiencing new things and embracing new learning opportunities. He thanks his lucky stars that he continues to meet fantastic characters from all walks of life, particularly LoyarBurokkers(!), that contribute towards making him a wiser person. Life experiences are guides even to heaven’s door. Be amused by his jottings and tweets @christan_yh.

8 replies on “[UPDATED] Boy oh boy, I need help!”

  1. apparently, when u need to get real urgent documents sent, u go for the chambies..

    there are the REAL boys and girls. they do research, photostating, binding, extraction, mention, bellboy, receptionist, typist yada yada yada AND DISPATCH (on time, and get things done by hook or by crook)…

    muahahahaha i loveeeeeeeee chambies ^^

    chris, i got a task for u…come to my office now!!!

    note : just kidding about the last sentence

  2. Qama Gill, I am delighted to have a mate concerning the boys' condition. I know there is nothing much we personally can do unless the firm/company are willing to do something. But then, we can improve the way we treat them. At least, to me, if we give them their well deserved respect, they will be more happy and willing to help us delivering the packages.

    I too understand that speed required in delivering documents but it is a shame that I did not address it here. Thank you for the opportunity to realise and take note of it. It is important for my continuous journey here.

    Thanks for the comments.

  3. Chris,

    i'm currently working with an international courier company. this piece that you wrote is the nearest situation profound to me. being a dispatch is a hard job after all. all day i heard people shouting at them and pushing them to their limit. imagine this, feeder from KLIA with all shipment only arrives at noon and they need to deliver all packages before 6pm. adding to that, they need to perform pickups in the same time as well. to make it even worst, their routes is the largest compared to competitors' dispatches. one driver, for instance, covered Klang from Kampung Jawa up till port Klang. how many companies there are within that area, doing pickup and delivery for less than 6 hours?

    meetings after meetings i had voiced these issues but still the situation haven't changed. when i voiced this to the region HR, they asked me to stay put. whatever it is, life must goes on, they said.

  4. LN, I fully understood the story related. It happened to one of my colleagues but unfortunately, he suffered serious injuries which required surgery and is still away from work.

    I wish that people could understand this point I am talking about. I mean, they are our colleagues and we should be concern about them too, right?

  5. I would like to relate a story about a dispatch rider who, in a hurry to deliver some documents for a client, ran a red light and crashed into my husband's friend's car. He was bleeding from the face and eventually needed some facial reconstruction. And while some of us would anturally expect him to be all defensive about his mistake, he could only apologise profusely and admit his mistake. He was told he had to get the documents across by 1pm. Not a big deal until you realise he was told this at 12.30pm and point A is 30km from point B with the middle known for really horrific traffic. I reckon this falls under point 1 about treating these people with respect. We should be considerate with our requests too and give them time to do what they need to do.

  6. Tweets: I am talking about appreciating dispatch boys' help! Just a piece of mind of what I think the way we should be treating them.

    Ron Matsalleh: True indeed. Thanks for the tip in regards to leaving it blank instead. Just a small clarification, that this picture was taken by Alice somewhere and so it was decided to credit her to take the photo but not for the original piece of artwork.

  7. That photo is not by Alice Chong. This is a classic Muhamad Ali's photo. His second fight with Sonny Liston. If you want to give credit, do it properly or just leave it blank as this photo is available from most public archive.

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