Freelance Vs. Permanent Roles – Middle Eastern Black Hole

29 12 2009

Middle East is a vibrant and a fluctuating market. Period. But not for those surviving on the tether around them, confining them to their cubicles. And also, my sympathies for those who work in the Accounts and Finance departments; although Middle East is largely tax free throughtout all the seasons but accounts people suffer from most ailments one finds in the Middle East, Diabetes tops it, then Heart related. Accounts is not a romantic role, though, but nonetheless it pounces right at your heart.

After gaining a thorough 4+ years in the Middle East market, also bagging some certifications in ISO 9000:2008 for Internal Auditing and SAP; much of the experience provides me to leverage my efforts much more fruitfully for my own benefit. Job is where you agree to act like a slave. You agree to the terms and conditions of any website before registering, you don’t think twice. But before you do that in the Middle East, stop, consult, think, rethink again and rethink again. The shadowy areas are never discussed until you are cornered in your cubicles.

But, quality of service in the Middle East is always tainted and compromised. But the irony is, you’re expected to work and show yourself busy like Barack Obama. No offence meant but your boss would never commend your MIGHTY work. You would strain, stress, press, redress your efforts and resume but appreciation is an art which cannot be searched in the museums. Your boss envies it. So its out. Why..? Because your Boss is ALWAYS RIGHT..!!!

And that you don’t have a say here. No strikes, yeah, think about it and you’re aborted, deported and black listed. Now what shall we do. And yes, you can only work for one employer at a time and only that job which is mentioned onto your visa. Other than that, its illegal. Sounds Utopian right..? So what can you do? ¬†Suffer is the first option, but that suffering brings with it its benefits. Firstly, Public relations, it is a grand big leverage to land yourself a role, perhaps a job if you’re persistent and know how to make and offer a lemonade for your to-be-boss.

Yeah that’s the trick; flatter others and you won’t find yourself lying flat in the airport lounge and flying out for good from the Middle East. Secondly, experience. Majority of the people who come here to the Middle East, are focused and poised just to EARN MONEY..!! But you won’t set your targets that perrenially retarted and puny.

You have to grow and Middle East is a growing and festering ‘hinterland’ (although it isn’t, pun intended) just for ENTREPRENEURS. So you again experience and not in one mode or area of interest, multi modal experience counts alot. Once you’re over 3 years of core and meaty experience in your and your sweet beautiful colleague’s (in the next cubicle) experience, you are ready to jump onto the next phase. And that is, community work..!! Kidding.

Next phase is where you would have amassed a bunch of newspapers (enough to fill 3 and a half warehouses, yeah the other half of the third would be vacant for the trucks to tow away the mice-nibbled and recyclable paper) and business cards already before you get down to real business. Freelancing is a better way to make your mark in the after-office hours. Abundant opportunities can be browsed through the local newspapers, get to know or hear from your peers (peers from the business cards, in short Networking helps) about upcoming developments. One can contact entities like companies and institutes to garner and utilise your abilities for a percentage. You both share. In this way, the first party (company / institute) doesn’t have to go through all the hassles to support you with the visa procedure which is like sun baking in the desert for them.

Start small and limited and you’ll get to see the wider scope. Start from the back of the pack, remember a movie is best watched and looking if you are at the last row somewhere in the middle, only action movies, mind you. Once you’re in, nothing stops you then. Neither your employer nor your urge to rush for a movie. Once the trend picks up, you would be amazed that you would be saving your whole salary and spending from your extra income. But that comes later, don’t jump and don’t be expensive. Now, you have extra money but not extra time. Outsource, sublet, get a group of friends again to divide and subdivide a mini task to mini projects.

Then again, get everything (projects, mini tasks and not mini skirts, you seem you CANNOT handle at this point as you would have quite a considerable connections and that you would earn a percentage on your networking and delegating capabilities.

From programming, web development, technical (Mechanical / Instrumental), education, financial advice (Year End support and preparation), repair and maintenance, tutoring, advice (Quality Management and Improvement, Supplies, Interior decoration, exploration, introducing (parties with each other, importer and exporter area, I love to do that) and the list goes on.

The service industry is better open after the office hours, although you might not hear the sweet voice of the secretary on the other end, who makes you to call her office for no reason. Yeah, live with it. But believe me her voice is chirpy, you don’t want to drive all the way down to see her. Reality d***s. So folks, if you’re planning to land in here anytime, make sure you have your swimsuits, goggles, a good business plan and guts to work and suffer under your illegitimate boss.

Good luck with your struggling careers..!!

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2 responses

15 02 2010
Arshad

Hi Kaptain,

You have good writing skills.

You have managed well portraying a very dark side of Middle East (ME) in an interesting and funny way. I have some ME experience perhaps not as detailed as yours and I have come across with some of the dark sides.

The history of ME speaks for itself and they are not doing anything different, I think this is in their blood. I think it will be a while before they will realise that they need to change with the world and treat everyone equally. But I have spent a long time in Western Europe discrimination does exist here as well however in different forms.

I personally think the real issue is supply and demand, there is no shortage of man power, if they will fire 1 employee there will be a queue of people to take that job even for less money. And there are other issues with their empowerment, lake of professionalism & listening skills and do as you told attitude but these behaviours in fact tend to negatively influence the working environment, which in turn serve to deteriorate the circumstances further, resulting in unhappy & demoralised staff, low productivity and a stressful environment for all.

This can change by raising your concerns or voice to the authority not in a aggressive way, I know it is difficult but it is possible and fighting for your rights is never been easier.

We all have to wait time will tell us but at the same time We have to remember that it took Europe over 400 years to get to current stage and for ME/Asia both are going through a learning curve and still long way to go.

What you are doing is another way of changing attitudes and discussing issues with like minded people.

Best Regards,

Ash

21 02 2010
Ashraf

Yes, of course. It is a very nice blog.

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