At My Workplace!
Increasing Offices Intolerances!
One of the biggest casualties of the recent developments to my mind and assessment is the increasing demarcation of the once artificial borders between locals and expatriates in the offices – and the hardening of views, outlooks, perceptions and feelings. Like they say that the first casualty of war is ‘the real plain truth’ here! The locals continue to feel that the expatriates are blocking them – and the expatriates continue to feel that their contributions are not being acknowledged and appreciated.
I would like to share with you today why I wrote my second Arab Management book titled A Cry For Help (website www.majidbooks.com). The book was published in January 2009. The incident had happened a few years back in a large state-of-the-art national company – which gives an idea of the magnitude and enormity of the problems – and nothing has changed much!
I, as The Human Resources Manager of one place, issued the following message to all the staff of the Company. It just read, as below:-
Quote (Email Circular):-
Dear All Staff;
Subject: – Death of Father of K (An Omani Staff).
I do not have full details yet, but we have just heard that K’s (Omani Staff) Father had expired. It is understood that he was sick for quite some time. More details will be provided when we get them, but for now you have been informed – and we suggest for Male Staff they can offer condolences to the Masjid (Mosque) when details are available.
Please note that the Masjid (Mosque) is open for all religions, faiths, creed and beliefs – and for the ladies when he comes back, unless you are close and know the family well.
We pray to Allah (God) to grant his late Father eternal peace in this world and the next Amin (Amen) – Unquote.
It was met with an unexpected retort and uproar from some local Staff that took special offence on the part of inviting Non-Muslims Expatriates to the Mosque (Masjid). They all called me (not wanting to express their dissatisfaction in writing). It included sadly some who were in Senior Positions too as Managers etc. I was soon after required of me to issue a retraction remedial and corrective soon afterwards (one hour or less time)
It just read – Quote:– Dear All Staff;
You can also offer your condolences to him directly when he returns next week. The earlier message was intended to those that may have wanted to visit him at the Mosque (men) and at home (for the ladies) – and perhaps the ‘sensitivities involved’ – if any!
Regards – Unquote.
When I issued this Email note, it was based on both I as being as The Human Resources Manager, and also on humanity and compassionate feelings that one of our colleagues had his Father that had passed away. I know the feelings – and I have been there too. Nothing less or more. Death simply knows no border, race, creed or nationality. We all have to die one day!
It then struck me how fast and how much things have now changed in The Work Front – especially in relationships between Omanis (Locals) and Expatriate Staff – especially Non Muslims – and how much the gap was widening between the two – though much pretenses continued of politeness, courtesy and welcome.
It struck me then that there was now growing extremism, fundamentalism and radicalisation – that I had never seen before – especially in Oman where I had always prided myself that we were a tolerant, moderate, give-and-take, live-and-let-live society and always kind, welcoming and accepting esteeming and respectful to our ‘invited guests’ in our country!
Majid Al Suleimany