Between Us Only!
Please – Can We Have Some More?
- “Please Sir! Can I have some more?” – Oliver Twist asking for some more soup – novel by Charles Dickens -
- “It is so cold out here,” said a Camel to an Arab sitting in his tent one cold night in the desert. “May I not at least put my head inside?”
- Do not rock the boat – because it may sink with you on board! – Anon
In the very early 1980s, and as being part of my Human Resources job – I made a detailed research study and analysis of Omani Staff potentiality of taking over the top jobs in this company that I was working with – and identifying the gaps and what were the best ways and methods to fill in the gaps.
Let me be very crystal clear that the study was not sanctioned nor authorized for me to do – but as usual of my style of rocking the boat and causing troubles to the establishment that was employing me. After all I was paid well and being looked after well me and my family – so it was better for me to keep my mouth shut – and go along with the tide. There is this famous East African expression – If you go against the tide – it will drown you – or better still – Change your sail to go with the wind – than going against the wind – because first you cannot stop the wind!
The reception and reaction I got was something that even stupid me should have expected – because here now were almost my own peoples running the show – and not like the good old days where such innovation attempts would have been acknowledged and accepted – even if the news were unpleasant!
In summary, what I found was there were not enough highly qualified and experienced Omanis to take over the top most senior positions from the staff identified higher potentials and high fliers! Thus we needed to do something much more – and that included in my recommendations sending current staff for ‘much more than now’ further training, studies and higher education!
I had never planned or even suggested to recruit Freshers from outside as the only more way of doing this – with more finalists returning frustrated and leaving for greener pastures – or as many did too – of opening their own businesses from families support – as many came from this category of staff! Anyway, those things now are just best put aside as water under the bridge!
Let me also say the following. Our HM has given us the Omanis freedom to express our thoughts – so long as it is done in a peaceful and constructive way – with an aim to build – rather than destroy! I also know for sure that there are powerful people that would prefer the dirt is ‘pushed under the carpet’ – and they do not like people to ‘open their mouths to speak!’ – even if they know what is being said is very true – and nothing but the truth also!
It is high time that owners of family businesses and even some SMEs – and even National Companies for that matter – follow the country’s rules, regulations and laws in employment aspects especially. Either MOM should come out and say very clearly that there are no more jobs specifically ‘reserved for Omanis’ – and it is all free for all – free rounds for all to go through and open for everyone!
Even as the brave Omani Journalist said in the other newspaper of people coming here to do jobs on visit and transit visas – and go out and renew once part of the job has been done. They are cheaper for the employers – because first everyone knows that the laws of the land are being broken with impunity and the usual Wastah business – but perhaps applied rigidly to the small firms and investors without Wastah!
Also this main point. As the owner of flats, shops and cars to sell I would not want the expatriates to leave – because who else will come to me? Fewer Omani takers for sure! So my business will suffer for sure! So let us cover and protect them! That is all that counts for now for me. Why should I put my head on the carving board to be chopped off? But then one should ask oneself the fundamental question – are we sure of this?
One thing more important. Just as in the start of this article – Please Sir! Can I have more (soup)? Frankly, we do have so many bad eggs letting our side down – by their attitudes, approaches and focuses to jobs especially – but equally true there are many willing, committed, dedicated and loyal workers from our lots too! Besides, this point must never be marginalized – this same ‘hard working’ expatriate here may well be ‘the relaxing type’ – when he returns home – with lesser challenges and competition – this as I always say too!
And lastly and not the least in any way is this – we have proved that even in the top notch and cliché jobs we have proved a success. It is high time long term planning is put into effect to consider us for more than middle stratas and level jobs – or the lower end. We owe this to the nation and ourselves – with the changing alliances and affiliations now that are very open and rampant!
We need to wake up from this deep slumber that some of us are still in now! Just watch the television news – and read the news for yourself! Now before it is too late for everyone – The Protectors and The Protected too!
By Majid Al Suleimany