Torture days are over

September 16, 2009 at 9:08 pm (Diary, Human Rights, Just a thought ..., Qatari culture, Society, women, work)

Today is my last day at work. I would like to say that it feels like I just started yesterday and that time has passed really quickly, but that’s not the case. Yes, time passed by, but very painfully and unbelievably slow and boring! I had so much enthusiasm and energy when I started, but it was all crushed by the “great” mentalities of the  “Big Bosses” and the very “effective and efficient” bureaucratic  system. There is no place for creativity, no place for development! How many young talents that started their lives after graduation with high hopes to give back to this country but were eventually crushed! Crushed so bad and so hard! Crushed everyday! Every second of the day!

I spent two years of my life in this job! Two years wasted! Two years that I wont get back. I tried to make the most of this experience, but there is really no chance to get anywhere in this place. The first year I worked here, was by far the worst in my life. I got seriously depressed, I lost my appetite, I lost 8 KG in less than two months! I looked like a ghost. I was shocked at first by how unequal women are treated. We have a different entrance, a different elevator and are shoved into one floor. All the guys who graduated with us got promoted in less than a year. And we, the girls, finished two years and might need to finish ten more to get one promotion! I went down to see the manager and requested work, requested to attend meetings, requested to be working with my male colleagues to learn, to just do something for God’s sake!  Month passed by and I wasn’t given any work. I speak with the manager every two days requesting work. He wants me to be with them at the department, he wants me to attend meetings, he wants to give me as much work as possible. But because women are not allowed to attend meetings or work with men he can’t help it. And even if I was given work, it takes forever to go from the men’s floor to the female’s floor. And many times it gets lost! Very disorganized! Very retarded! After months of nagging, I was able to prove myself, that I was capable of doing some real work! So I was given few things to do! I got so excited. Then I realized that I am too quick. Whatever takes two days, takes two hours with me. They didn’t know what to give me anymore. I also realized that the kind of work I was given doest require a degree! It only requires simple basic reading and writing abilities. It got dull, nothing is challenging nothing is new. And on top of that. Women are not allowed to have training courses abroad! Even some of the training courses in Doha are strictly for men! Is this Qatar! I cant believe it. I feel suffocated. Two years wasted. I don’t even have work experience because there was simply no work. The only thing I have learnt is how to deal with frustration and get over myself and stop feeling sorry for myself for being in such disappointing place. !

I feel like a layer of mud has covered my brain. I panicked! I seriously stopped thinking! Holly S***. This place has the ability to turn you into a vegetable! I started bringing books, loads of books. They started to pile on my desk and in my room. Too many books I have read because I don’t have anything to do. I started skipping work or leaving early. I didn’t respect it anymore. I didn’t even care about the image of my desk. Pens and papers are scattered around, showing no personality or reflection of who sets behind it. Even the chair I am siting on has someone else’s name and i don’t care. The second year got better. Or I got used to the situation. The amount of work I do does not exceed two hours a week. I am really not exaggerating. I am supposed to be a researcher, and in those two years, I have only done two researches. And guess what! It was my idea! I started to stop hoping that work will get better or that I will have equal opportunities as my male colleagues. I shifted my focus on myself and my life outside working hours. I focused on improving the languages I speak and my writing skills. I  started going to events and meeting new people. I started doing different projects and occupying myself with books and gym. I started growing out of my shell and became a happier more positive person. I didn’t care about work anymore. I decided that I will leave. But I will fight one more time, I will give this place a chance one more time. And if I was not allowed to be given an opportunity. I will leave. And no one can blame me then! I don’t understand why young talented people are not being used to their full potential here. Even if we wanted to improve things and be creative, the bureaucratic system stops us. We keep fighting and fighting, but at the end we are humans. We give up, we resent this place, we hate it. We try to prove ourselves, show that we are capable professionals, but while we suffer from the system, foreigners are being brought to work as “professionals” “! and we leave!

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23 Comments

  1. Kbaisi said,

    That’s really sad what happened to you and pathetic, what’s even sadder is your case is not an isolated case, it is pretty normal around here to send students abroad and bring them back to do nothing but sit all day.

  2. B said,

    More and more Qatari’s are getting educated, either abroad or locally, which means they are just as qualified as their expatriate counterparts if not more so. They wish to contribute to the development of their country but they get discouraged by what’s going on around them. It’s even worse for women. Sexist double standards are practiced in disgusting levels in this country. What good are all these rights and privileges that Qatari women are afforded if they can’t put them to good use? I only have to look at the people around me to see what’s happening. Qatari’s aren’t ignorant anymore, we know perfectly well what’s going on, and we’re not blindly accepting it anymore. But it’s really not up to the majority of the citizens to do anything about it is it? it all boils down to the few people that are ‘running the show’ so to speak.

    lil2asaf 5air G6r mb la2alha..

  3. Bleu said,

    Good riddance… If you hate your job, change it.

    I remember a time when I was undecided about changing jobs, then waking up to Oprah on mbc4 saying “Don’t waste a single minute in a job you hate”. I handed in my resignation that day.

    Now I know that I don’t work for my job/boss. My job pays my salary, but I’m working for ME.

  4. I CARE said,

    It’s not about hating the job and finding another one. It’s not like other government jobs are different.

    you’re not the first person i hear this from. I heard so many things about those dark places.

    When women see themselves packed in a room with no windows and are given minimal amount of work, why don’t they complain?
    When they’re kept away from meetings, that’s pure sexism. Don’t they teach professional ethics and behavior in QU?

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand why you are an exceptional case. shouldn’t all of them be complaining by now? Don’t they want their right? Why don’t they fight for it?

    feminism movements, mostly, weren’t run by men. I agree 100% with everything you said. They train women to be losers who bring food to work everyday. But women are happy about it ! you think a man who calls for equality will be listened to?

    it takes effort. The same thing have been repeated so many times in different countries and in different times. you’re not the first people to face this. Someone, a woman, has to start that spark and people will carry on the fire.

  5. Kbaisi said,

    I must add in some ways though I can see why they are reluctant to give key positions to Qataris and it relates to other Qataris ruining it when they got the opportunity to hold a top level position. I am sure I don’t speak for myself when I say I have had numerous encounters with incompetent Qataris who are holding positions that they really can’t handle, and therefore it is presumed all these Qataris complaining about being neglected will end up exactly like those people.

    However, when it comes to expats, competent or not they are left to do what they want in most cases. Off the top of my head I can think of several recent scandals just this year from major companies where ‘experts’ where proving they were in fact experts in being corrupt and not being accountable to anyone, especially when they are friends with the ‘modern’ qataris who appointed them and are just as clueless.

    Of course there are a lot of great expats who do come here and you can learn from them, just as there is a lot who think all Qataris are wealthy and come here with a ‘fast’ money making agenda. The latter just leave us frustrated and angry at those who appointed them, and the Qataris who whine but have no intention of actually doing any work just end up making people want to bring in foreigners instead of giving Qataris responsibilities. It’s a vicious cycle.

  6. mimizwords said,

    I care

    Most women where i work like it because they are conservative mothers. They don’t like to be working with men and they want an easy work that allows them to leave early and take vacations whenever they need to take care of their children. No one is bothered but 3 or 4 people who are all young graduates.

    We, who were bothered, complained. spoke to our managers. I personally wrote a letter to higher officials. Wa laken, la 7ayata liman tonady. yes it takes effort. and some women wont give up or let go and will keep fighting. But our society is not like British or American society. There will be many other issues involved, tradition, mentality, family name, reputation … etc. A woman cannot afford to risk any of that here . I personally was attacked by other women and men who said that i am being very inappropriate and ” ma asti7y” when i said that i want to work with men and have equal work. The first thing they thought about is that i want to flirt or seduce men!

    so even if women wanted to, they are controlled by their fear of society. They don’t want to be a subject of gossip. of course this is not an excuse for not to start a change, but this is the reality of the situation here.

  7. mimizwords said,

    I am not against expats working and living here. On the contrary, some of them has made a great difference and change and we are very greatful to have them here. But the blame is on who bring them and prefer them over qataris, who give them benefits and opportunities over qataris.

    Why does an expat get a house, a car, health insurance, first class tickets, and triple the salary a qatari has. Sometimes i think i should go abroad and get a canadian or whatever citizenship and come back and work in qatar to be taken seriously!

    Isnt it heart breaking when a young qatari starts his job at a bank, and all the expat supervisors and managers treat him badly because of the wrong perception they have of qataris. Or that they dont teach him fearing that, or knowing that one day if he became professional he will take their place.

    one of my friends who study in EC told me the following:

    People who handle the recruitment are foreigners and they make it hard to recruit qataris and say there are no qualifies qataris to work. The expats dont want to loose their jobs and so make it difficult for qataris. They say your country wouldn’t be the same without us, but who doesnt want to live in the luxury that Qatar offers. All faculty members got free BB, get grants financed, all their expenses are paid including business class tickets and 5 star hotel rooms even if its not work related. Meanwhile, there are no mosques in EC except for prayer rooms. our time table isnt fixed during ramadan and we have to attend during Iftar or to go calss at 8 am. while we get a month long vacation during xmas. There is a lot of corruption and bureaucracy. Why are expats given the green light to do whatever they want. why do we think that foreigners know everything and they must be good! Did you know that every year we get visiting students form main campus in US and our universities splurge hundrends of thousands of ryals on them. They either stay at the ritz or four season and have the most luxurious vacation ever. Meanwhile, they make us pay for mostly everything when we go on related trips abroad)

  8. I CARE said,

    I don’t think this should be turned into expats vs locals issue. Look at the Qatari side and you’ll see all kinds of laziness and ignorance like you mentioned.

    Most of them hate working. look how many qataries don’t take their jobs seriously. Why does everything take forever to be done? Tell me about lack of ambition. Tell me why majority of qataris are not good students in schools. tell me why they stop at high school and never intend to finish.
    ..

    boiling blood is starting to circulate.. i’ll shut up now.

    just watch this country die…

    • B said,

      Whilst I agree that we as Qatari’s shouldn’t lump the blame solely on the expats, isn’t it also a disservice to generalize Qatari’s as being ‘lazy’ and ‘ignorant’? I beg to differ…I see talented, hard working, well educated and cultured Qatari’s all around me. All my cousins and their parents on both sides of my family qualify as such. My parents, friends and their families have all been educated abroad. Furthermore, as someone who studies in one of the elite universities here, you ought to know firsthand that there are plenty of qualified Qatari’s. There’s the good and bad in every country, but shouldn’t we at least give our fellow citizens the chance before we start casting judgements? Doesn’t the word *loyalty* ring a bell, does it not resonate with anyone anymore? Aren’t I, you and Mimi Qatari? do we, or don’t we fit this mold and on what basis?

      “Most of them hate working. look how many qataries don’t take their jobs seriously. Why does everything take forever to be done? Tell me about lack of ambition. Tell me why majority of qataris are not good students in schools. tell me why they stop at high school and never intend to finish.”

      what’s your basis for this statement? There are over 200,000 Qatari’s, you sure you wanna tar us all with the same brush? And btw, Im as frustrated as you are about the abundant lack of professionalism and work ethic perceived in this country, but there also those that don’t fit the stereotype, and it’s unfair to those people to label them as such. There are any number of reasons to dispute your claims. For example, I myself struggled academically, in fact I still do, but you only have to look at the shameful state of public schools here to understand why; at least until a couple of years ago before those in charge cared enough to change things. Education was comprised of route memorization, critical thinking wasn’t fostered, we weren’t provided the basic amenities in school that every student should have access to, many of the schools are run down structurally- looking like they belong more in a shanty town than in one of the world’s wealthiest countries …etc Heck up until my early to mid teens students were still caned as a common and accepted means of discipline, and all of this was happening a mere 7 years ago.

      I’m all for constructive criticism…as long as we call a spade a spade and not lose sight of our objectivity here.

  9. I CARE said,

    lol i’m sorry i generalized, i know not all of them are the same. we have awesome ones.

    I must be one of those who look at the empty 3/4 of the cup.

  10. mimizwords said,

    i don’t know how this turned out to be Qataris Vs Expats LOL. I really think we shouldn’t blame the expats, i mean, if they were given green light to take advantage of the situation, why wouldn’t they?

    In my work, there are no expats, its so stiff and bureaucratic and hypocrite. If you father is folan bin folan or you know someone, you get promoted 3ala 6ool. a guy who doesn’t have a degree, who doesn’t even know how to write well in Arabic, got promoted 3 grades in one year! and i finished two years and didn’t get a single promotion!

    I don’t understand why we get sent abroad and study new and needed subjects if they are just going to put us as decorations on desks!

    aaaaah enough,, i could talk and tell stories forever.

  11. Bleu said,

    mimi,

    We should be blaming ourselves…
    We Qataris like to complain.

    I got promoted 3 times in 10 years because they didn’t want to promote x only, so they promoted x,y, z, and me (we were in similar positions). All three times were because somebody high-up was related to either x, y, or z …😛

    I know, enough… I left that kind of work 2 years ago. And so should everybody who hates it.

  12. someone said,

    The dilemma rests that Qatari citizens are not provided with their full needs and rights, they will not be able to excel in whatever they wish as long as they are under the umbrella of the legendary legacy system. Creativity is hindered and even looked down to in our culture, unfortunately. The worst part, is we like to blame a system we never negotiated the right of its existence in the first place. one that does not support free and equal opportunities, but rather connection “wasta” without any competitive advantage, quality work, professionalism. and if anything can be done about this matter, is to gain full independence from this ridiculous underestimated salary, and be able to be creative in your own way like what you did to pass time and improve your skills. if Qataris want to be creative, they have to go through white blue eyes folks, renouncing that its their ideas, and giving away all rights and sens of achievements to foreigners who get paid thousands of state money to ripe us more, and because those “expatriates” are more afraid on Qatari money and loyal than Qataris themselves. ( sorry for being over sarcastic, and of course not all expats are bad, I just think the best people who can contribute and participate in creative building of Qatar should be the Qataris, and there is a lot of redundancy of occupation if you would consider the amount of knowledge held by young Qataris and is under utilized ) Anyhow I could talk forever about this. let’s not get started, but it’s we need to do something before we lose hope in ourselves.

  13. Kbaisi said,

    Qatar will always be the way it is so you have to either accept it or leave, if you think it will change you are only deluding yourself. Wasta is the way things work around here, yes in some instances you will find people rewarded purely on merit, but Wasta is still more powerful. The only change that might happen is they will perhaps start using educated Qataris properly, however, it won’t eliminate those with wasta from getting promoted as well for doing nothing. Believing in a ‘wasta free’ system in Qatar is just wishful thinking, that’s the reality.

  14. someone said,

    so why would an “Educated” person, qatari or not, stay in a work that doesn’t appreciate their hard work, but promote someone that can’t even cut mustard.. don’t think in this it would be unethical and saying it is fine to be unjust to others who do not have wasta.. do you accept that? reality change, time is the best proof of it, but pessimistic views are always there with all due respect.. ask different generation and they will give you two different answers about change, what was, what is, and what will be.. before there was no institution, it was only money.. then oil came.. then it was wasta.. then institution came, it was wasta vs institution.. we wont make the jump in this globalized world if we think we could live with wasta.. those only who it applies to them accept it as ok without any consideration of equality or ethics…

  15. Angie Nader said,

    i’m so sorry to hear that you out your heart into your work..and nothing came of it.
    be comforted in the fact that you tried. they are really the ones loosing out! i’m sure you could have brought something awesome to the company…but instead of moving foward and building a strong company they choose to stay in the same spot.
    i hope you will find a job who values a hard working and dedicated team player!

  16. I CARE said,

    🙂

    It’s like we’re talking about something in Quraan that cannot be changed ! of course it can!

    In America was6a was declared illegal in the 1800s ( notice how early). look where they are 200 years from that time.

    let’s take a closer example.. Dubai. I’m not saying Dubai doesn’t have was6a at all. But they’re getting rid it gradually. They’re turning their backs to tribal racism and all kinds of things that no one cares bout. They improves A LOT since then. look at their Police force. look at other institutions in dubai. You’ll sense more quality in what they do. Do i need to mention infrastructure? lol

    what i’m trying to say, if we really love Qatar like we pretend we do.. If we really were patriotic like we act we are.. then this will change. Progressive thinking has been noticed recently everywhere.

    i think the only people opposing was6a are the people who needed to get where they are now.

  17. Kbaisi said,

    Someone and I Care –

    People accept it because a lot of them give up and think they have no other option because that how things are all over the country, it has nothing to do whether they are educated or not, just because a person may have graduated from Cambridge does not mean they will have the strength of character to challenge their superiors, as opposed to say someone who is a high school dropout and may be able to do so. Some do in fact quit their jobs and go to places where wasta is less prevalent, but those kind of jobs in Qatar are not that common.

    Of course it’s unethical, but whether I wish to accept it or not has no bearing on the reality of the situation, there’s a difference between being a pessimist, and being realistic. Kuwait is an example of a country who has been through all the stages that we are currently going through, they were doing what QIA is currently doing more than 20 years ago! Yet speak to any regular Kuwaiti and they will tell you how corrupt it is there, and they are considered the most ‘open’ government of the GCC.

    The way Qatar is setup at the moment is more like Abu Dhabi than Dubai, we are heading towards the direction of Dubai, and when that happens, Qataris will have even a more difficult time competing with expats in private companies. When a major company sets up it’s base in another country, they will want to hire the cream of crop, they will bring in expats with resumes that most Arabs simply cannot match, and it’s not these Arabs fault that they cannot compare, but that’s an another issue altogether. My point is they still will have to fill up a quota of whatever Arab nationality to make the local government happy, so who do you think would be a better option for them to hire? A guy who is an average joe but has top qualifications, or a guy with mediocre qualifications but whose dad is holding a position that can help facilitate things for the company from gaining permits to securing contracts. Remember they brought in expats with the skills for the real work, so they are not lacking in experts, all they want is to meet their quota of Qataris required, and of course some will take Qataris who are qualified and deserve the positions, but my point is the ones with wasta will also be taken, which is what I said in my other post, and like I said it will never change so you have to accept it.

    As for the USA, in my opinion it has much less use of Wasta because it is a capitalist state that Qatar can never be like as long as the government strongly regulates everything that goes on here. If you have a job in America you are most likely working for a private company, the private company will hire the best they can because they want to make a profit, they are accountable to the shareholders or owner of the company, so if they hire some idiot because he has wasta, they will lose their jobs, if someone refuses them a permit for no good reason, they can go to the courts and that person will be punished. Yet in Qatar, for something as simple as publishing a magazine you need government permission and can get turned down because ‘there are too many’ already out there (This happened and they did use that excuse), no where in the West will they turn you down for a reason like that, too much government regulation here.

    With all this there still is rampant corruption in the US, Muhammed Ali was arrested, charged with draft evasion, and had his boxing license suspended for a few years when he refused to serve in the Vietnam war, Bush on the other hand got daddy’s wasta and he effectively evaded the draft for the SAME war, later became the president, and sent people to fight wars in two different countries.

    This is top level corruption, and if a country that is 10 times more transparent still has problems with wasta, how can an extreme tribal society like Qatar actually be expected to get rid of the wasta problem? As I said before, it’s just wishful thinking.

  18. intlxpatr said,

    Mimi, when you said:

    if they are just going to put us as decorations on desks

    It gave me a good laugh. When I was just out of college, I was hired by a man, the big boss, because he wanted a “matched set” in his front office, two pretty girls with brown hair and brown eyes. Of course, he didn’t tell me that when he hired me, only much later, and he thought he was being funny.

    The first jobs when you get out of college – for 95% of the people in any country – are dogs. Starting at the bottom is just the pits. It’s worse when there is no real work to prove yourself, and when promotions are not given on merit.

    What will you do next?

  19. mimizwords said,

    Someone, I care, Kbaisi and B:

    Thank you for your intellectual contributions. You have added so much to the issue and made it interesting.

    Intixpatr:

    I think i have learned so much from this unuseful experience. I will not allow for others to waste my time like this anymore. I am not sure what will i do next. But something that will add much more to my life. This job is not the world and not the only option, the world is full of opportunities.

  20. Ghada k Al-Subaey said,

    you are too good to be working with them u deserve more and more
    you lost 2 years but u have lots of years to come❤ and i know that you will become someone HUGE and i'll see u in the front page everyday

  21. SusieOfArabia said,

    Oh, Mimi – I’m so sorry!!! I just don’t understand why they would hire you, give nothing to do, and pay you for doing nothing! It makes no sense at all. Men are so stupid for not realizing the value and the talents of women. I hope you are fortunate to find a job in a place where you are appreciated and rewarded for what you are capable of. I’ll be thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way!

  22. Kholoud said,

    I know what you are talking about, cuz I have gone through the same things. I wasted three years of my life there waiting for things to do as a graphic designer, but there was nothing. And where ever there is some designes they need they will give the job to the male department, even if it was a simple thing to design like a header for papers =_=
    I ended up working as a data inseter >_< a thing that don't need any special skills, just copy the data from the old files to the new system on the computer, which all the other girls in my department found it hard on thier minds to understand how it works.
    And I used to watch that girl who is acting like she is doing the hardest job in the world and always complaining, and she will take the whole day dealing with papers. And when she had her yearly vacation people in the departmetn were like (what we are going to do without her?) I took over her job and it was so silly. The thing she used to spend the whole day doing it, I was finishing it in two hours max and asking for more work.

    I still remember the first day I attend that job, I cried in the office when they told me that there is no way they will send me to study my master because they don't send girls.

    I am really happy now, I still have to deal with stupid people, but still better than that mind killing job.

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