At My Workplace!
The Workplace Issues – Polarisation Syndrome!
Starting from this week and at fortnightly sequence – I will be writing about issues that some may consider as enigma and taboo – and ‘washing our dirty linen in public’ – and should not be discussed in public – especially in English – because foreigners will read about us – as if writing in Arabic there are no foreigners there! In actual fact, my own personal outlook is that the latter category there is more danger – because they know us deep well inside and out.
Tell that to the Palestinians in their meeting those from the other side – who are fluent Arabic speakers and born also in Arab countries too! Of course people would like to push the ‘dirt under the carpet too for the very same reasons!
As those that are my Readers and Fans will know me well – I always write from my own experiences and exposures – as personal references and in support in what I am writing about.
Incident One. A long time ago when I was working in my last oil company there was a meeting that was going to be attended by one prominent high profile public official together with the rest of us from the Company. After the usual polite courtesies and welcome – our European boss with the usual axe to grind of ‘divide and rule (conquer!)’ – started asking – In which language are we going to hold this meeting – as if he was able to speak Arabic in the first instance! Though his history that he was proud of as an ex Army of the bad things he ‘did to Arabs’ in Palestine! You can tell this man was carrying ‘a lot of excess baggage’ with him!
My colleagues and I were just silent because we needed the money to feed our families and ourselves too! But then the shock was on us when the Public Official (PO) retorted and sarcastically said – In any language so long as it is not Swahili! To this the British boss broke up in great laughter and mirth – it seemed clear to us that there was a meeting of minds here. Yet still the rest of us kept quiet – because of our upbringing more – and our culture, customs, tradition and heritage of respecting guests and visitors – though the speaker was also Omani – and should have known better!
PO thought he will make his foreign new found friend laugh the more – so he repeated what he said before. To which M being M retorted – You will be very lucky if you were able to speak that language! To which PO was angered ‘because I broke his respect’ and went off without the meeting taking place. My boss asked me to apologise in writing to PO – though ‘lucky for me’ English was accepted in my doing so! The unfairness and injustices in life! A few months later down the line PO was kicked out unceremoniously – so the system works!
Incident No. 2 – The Boss – fellow Omani – quickly first scans the job applicants. He is looking at the place of birth more. The rest of the CV Resume did not interest him! Despite his Wastah and connections he too lost his job – though he was able to kick me out first! This story is in both my Arab Management books – www.myown-ebooks.com
Incident No. 3 – I hinted this in my last week article titled There Is Need For More Realism! So it is still recent and new. This Omani GM of a National Prestigious Project called me to his Office – so we can chat. Then he handed me a bombshell that exploded in my face. Remember this Project is National – and supported too! Initially I was at home quietly doing my own business – when he almost begged me ‘ to set us up the Human Resources’ system in this new Company. He offered me a 6 months temporary contract.
This after 7 weeks he calls me to ‘cancel the contract’ because he says – The Board is against me being recruited – even for temporary basis – because ‘I do not come from The Region’ where the Company is going to operate! There is a Manager who is a Foreigner in another function – but that is alright for The Board (TB). TB do not see any issue in that – only to a fellow Omani – even though he is a Manager – and or Consultant – and temporarily employed even!
The GM (Omani) is a very sharp and rude person I ever saw in my life – and cannot handle pressures! I bitterly complain to the Oil Company – Top Management Officials that supports and backs this project – and the place that I had worked for 25 years.
Nobody bothers or care – even the Public Officials involved too! Nobody bothers or cares – because I am a trouble-maker with a big mouth. It would have been okay if it was only me – but than 2 other Omanis too resigned or were terminated! They too ‘did not come from the Region’ to the company was going to operate in!
Can these things happen now in our country after all the troubles that we had gone through – and still going on now? I leave that to you the Reader to decide – though I surely did complain in writing – perhaps because it was in English! I leave the rest to Allah (God) because He is The Best Judge – Amin Amen
Majid Al Suleimany