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the final countdown
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lollaerd



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it's alway better to rely on people who actually work in a place instead of someone who has never worked there. It's so easy for people to make incendiary comments from the comfort of an armchair in California. The QU people who used to hang out at Garveys had a mixed bag of comments to make. Some loved it, some hated it. I think it all depends on what program you teach and who you work under. One consistent comment was the fact that there is no job security and people can be fired for trivial things or if they irritate the head. I don't know the man so I can't comment on that but if so many teachers say the same thing, there must be some truth to this. However, since Garveys no longer offers booze on the premises, the QU crowd has vanished, quite a few of them were fired. I hear things at parties now and then, the same thing mainly: people are afraid. It seems like so many institutions in this region use fear tactics and the pump and bump formula to run departments and institutions. Despite QU's bad teacher treatment record, QP definitely wins the prize for admin mismanagement and bad treatment of teachers. Nobody can top them! Since a lot of the QP victims were my old colleagues and pals, I really feel for them. Trying to win hearts and minds might work better but from 10 years of personal experience here in the Gulf, most places just want to pump the blood out of teachers, suck them dry and then bump them whenever they feel like it!

Pump and bump is the way things work.
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lollaerd



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grab-bag wrote:
Working as a consultant in the region, you get to hear things. Maybe time for a visit to see realia. I wokred with the man almost 20 years ago so I know the deal.


Did I meet you at TESOL? I think you've been to our place as a consultant. Are you based in Dubai? Where did you work 20 years ago? Which man are you referring to? Is it the man who is the head of the English department. I have never met the man but have certainly heard plenty. I have sent you a PM. Bt the way, she's socked it to me too. Ignore it, I've received a message that she has never worked in Qatar so she's barking up the wrong tree.
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wilberforce



Joined: 27 Dec 2008
Posts: 647

PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't it final countdown time again? How many this time? The place I now work in has a good track record of never firing people unless they get in trouble with the law.
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paperback



Joined: 25 Nov 2010
Posts: 116

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see they're advertising on the caf. I wonder how many got the 'shove' this time round. From what I've heard, people are terrified to say anything in case the boss fires them. Sounds pretty paranoid to me. At least at the Gulag you could speak your mind. Everyone talked about the garbage issues all the time, nobody seemed to mind.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16121
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

paperback wrote:
Everyone talked about the garbage issues all the time, nobody seemed to mind.

Are you sure? You were all dumped. Laughing Universities up and down the Gulf seem to be places where it is necessary to play the game. There is the constant pretense that we are real universities with academic standards. If you spend all your time b*tching and complaining (and admitting that the emperor has no clothes), you will make plenty of enemies both among your fellow teachers and management. Personally I was always happy to see the worst whingers decamp. My attitude has always been, if you don't like it, resign and move on... The last few years their turnover has been about average for a department their size.

The fact is that the contract and conditions at QU aren't bad. Good teaching hours (1Cool, decent salary and benefits, mostly pleasant students... and the usual collection of teachers and managers... some that you will like and some that you will not. Certainly not the greatest job in the Gulf, but far from the worst.

VS
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paperback



Joined: 25 Nov 2010
Posts: 116

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Are you sure? You were all dumped.


I wasn't dumped. I worked at the Gulag for 18 months, a one year contract and a six month contract. I worked under Malachy and was there before Griffith/IMTIAZ. When Malachy ran the Gulag nobody got dumped. I resigned to take a job in Dhahran. The money was great but I couldn't handle the bachelor lifestyle there. Even trips to Bahrain didn't make up for the restrictive lifestyle. People live abnormal lives there and believe you me there are a lot of weirdos teaching in the magic kingdom. Two years there was enough and I was lucky enough to get a consultancy with SEC when they were starting up the indie schools. (Since I also have an MA in educational counseling).

QP direct hires don't get dumped either. they are pretty secure and have a very nice deal with good housing allowance and other benefits. .The exception I know of was P the Rocker and that was mainly because he had a drink problem, not because he was incompetent. He came in tipsy one morning and a student complained. End of story. The student was from an important family. Need I say more? All the other direct hires I knew at QP are either still there or resigned or retired.

It's the contract teachers who have a rough deal and that is because of the contract companies that hire them, they are money making organiztions who house their managers well and pay them very high paychecks but skimp on the teachers' salaries and housing so that they make a tidy profit.

The big dumping at QP came when Griffith messed around with finances. QP had initially contracted IMTIAZ as a subcontractor but somebody from Oz wanted to get some perks for Ozland and fixed a deal with his former university, Griffith. They had a pretty good program in Oz but it didn't work out here as they were basically absentee landlords, if you know what I mean. They fiddled funds and IMTIAZ was left holding the bag. QP was angry at the whole mess and the mismanaged and misappropriated funds. IMTIAZ was in a mess because they had paid a year's rent in advance for a building in Mushereib and other places. They were left holding the bag, having no way to get back their money. They had to let people go.

Lang Sols wanted to bring their own people in. They kept very few of the IMTIAZ bunch because they wanted to house the people in even smaller places than IMTIAZ and didn't want any complaints. IMTIAZ lost their QP contract and had to let people go, they weren'[t too happy about the mess but what could they do? It was out of their hands when QP canceled Griffith and then them. The big mistake had been to recruit Griffith in the first place. Wilbur and his chums were victims of the Griffith Grope.
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paperback



Joined: 25 Nov 2010
Posts: 116

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:


The fact is that the contract and conditions at QU aren't bad. Good teaching hours (1Cool, decent salary and benefits, mostly pleasant students... and the usual collection of teachers and managers... some that you will like and some that you will not. Certainly not the greatest job in the Gulf, but far from the worst.

VS



I hear you dear lady, - the contract and conditions are certainly good judging from the ad on the cafe, but you should hear the complaints about the guy in charge, personality issues and poor communication skills. He is not what they call Mr. Popular. I actually saw him at one of the TESOL Qatar gigs a few years back when they were doing a promo with a film. In comparison, Malachy was Prince Charming and so was Mr. Z at IMTIAZ. I know it's not the worst, there are worse places but as jobs go, it sure ain't the greatest.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16121
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now why did the number 18 become a smiley?

There are various managers there, some less popular than others... just like everywhere. There will always be complaints and to be honest, I never expected any of my managers to be Prince Charming... and none of them were. Laughing Fortunately it is a large enough place that most teachers manage to just get on with their teaching.

BTW... so far this year... -0- have got the shove from what I hear. I'm not sure when they put out the not-renewed letters, but they do it very early... normally by now. They are one of the few employers in the Gulf who give this information so early. Got to give them that... many places wait until after TESOLArabia or any other chance to apply for the best jobs elsewhere.

VS
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lollaerd



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:
eaching.

BTW... so far this year... -0- have got the shove from what I hear. I'm not sure when they put out the not-renewed letters, but they do it very early... normally by now. They are one of the few employers in the Gulf who give this information so early. Got to give them that... many places wait until after TESOLArabia or any other chance to apply for the best jobs elsewhere.

VS


I occasionally went out with a female teacher from QU foundation. QU like all the universities in Education City has a strict policy about informing staff about renewals/non-renewals which is the end of December. She told me it was in their policy manual. However, for at least two years, the man in charge at the Foundation ignored this policy and let people know in December instead of the official last notification date of 30 November.

Last year he decided to give people their notice around Christmas which meant teachers had one week to decide if they wanted to renew or not. Some people got this on 24 December, a nice Christmas present - one week to let the university know if they wanted to stay, a not so nice present if it was non-renewal.

Teachers felt the time was inadequate and some of them made a formal complaint. Maybe this year the guidelines were respected. She also told me that some teachers were notified AFTER Tesol Arabia.

Maybe your sources need to be more honest about what they tell you. This lady had no reason to make this up. She left last year because she was not happy working there. She said the workload (despite the hours) was very heavy with a lot of committee work which took away from teaching time. The focus on committees and extra work made her feel she was not able to do her best with the students. She was a very nice lady who said she 'didn't fit in'. I don't know if any or none got the 'shove' this year but in any case, the complaints about the tardy notification last year must have hit a nerve if they have now been informed. The people who complained at Garvey's, Rydges, and the Rugby Club about the QU job must have had good reasons, otherwise they wouldn't have been whining about what was going on. Anyway, I couldn't care less as she was the only one I knew well from this place and she, like me, has moved on and out of Qatar.


Last edited by lollaerd on Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:46 am; edited 2 times in total
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16121
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple things stand out in your message... first, that QU is like so many tertiary institutions in the Gulf... obsessed with meetings and committees. They do love to talk everything to death. I certainly hope that she didn't move over to HCT or she will wish she could go back. Laughing

Then, the bit about notification makes no sense as you wrote it. They are supposed to notify in December... so they notified in December... and people were upset that they were notified in December. Er... what? If notification is supposed to be and is, in December, obviously it will be around Christmas. This is the Middle East, so they are not going to schedule things to try to avoid the holiday of some other religion. If they are required to notify you that they will not renew in December, how is it unreasonable to ask that you inform them whether you wish to renew or not at the same time? As I have said before, QU has one of earliest notification system in Gulf tertiary institutions. At least it gives those who get not-renewed a bit more time to get organized to job hunt.

As to the gang in the bar... find a bar anywhere in the Gulf that doesn't have the little clutch of people whinging about their job. Find me an EFL department with around 100 people that doesn't have a hard core group of professional whiners. What used to make me laugh was how many of them had been there for years, but couldn't seem to organize themselves to actually leave. Of course, many of them would be saying the same stuff if their jobs were nirvana... Cool

VS
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lollaerd



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

veiledsentiments wrote:

Then, the bit about notification makes no sense as you wrote it. They are supposed to notify in December... so they notified in December... and people were upset that they were notified in December. Er... what? If notification is supposed to be and is, in December, obviously it will be around Christmas. This is the Middle East, so they are not going to schedule things to try to avoid the holiday of some other religion. If they are required to notify you that they will not renew in December, how is it unreasonable to ask that you inform them whether you wish to renew or not at the same time? As I have said before, QU has one of earliest notification system in Gulf tertiary institutions. At least it gives those who get not-renewed a bit more time to get organized to job hunt.



VS


Beg pardon, ma'am for the month confusion. I have December on the brain - excited about my new job, going home for Christmas for the for the first time in years, National Day, FIFA win. I am eaving tonight for the US via London so I hope I don't get stuck at Heathrow on the way home.

The past few years the official notification date was disregarded in the foundation dept, hence the complaints to HR. The correct notification date is 30 November for QU. My date said this was in the handbook or guidebook or something like that. All other departments got their notices in November, English was the exception to the official rule. You probably can check this with HR, I am sure they would be happy to oblige.

The American universities (6 last count) in Ed City always all send out notification for renewal/expression of renewal interest in November so they can plan ahead for the coming year. ABP (unless it has changed) always sent out the notice in early November to ensure they had enough staff returning. I had a friend who worked there for about 3 years and he said this was standard procedure.

From what I understand, it's November in this country for universities.. Maybe other Gulf countries have a different policy. Schools, institutes, etc. are different and have different regulations. So pardon my December excitement. There's no denying that last year the notice was late, otherwise those people would not have been so hopping mad and ranting about it here and there.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16121
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the rest of the Gulf tertiary institutions, I never discerned a policy. Laughing Tended to be a mystery created by each employer. But I was never informed of my renewals until well into the second semester. And the comment that the notification date was disregarded for the last few years is not true from what I have heard. I heard that they were late one year.

So, they were all bent out of shape over... 3 weeks? OK... But I don't see how this would have significant effect on their lives or ability to find a new job. Now people that are not informed until June have a legitimate beef. But getting "hopping mad and ranting" over this timing just makes their terminations sound... understandable...

VS
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helenl



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 1185

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I can't figure out is if there is a "usual" date for getting staff to indicate their interest in renewing their contracts - why so many (not all) complain that a week is not enough time to discuss with wife/husband, decide? They knew this was coming - it's like your birthday - couldn't the discussion/decision making be done before the actual date that one would like to renew or not?
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paperback



Joined: 25 Nov 2010
Posts: 116

PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

helenl wrote:
What I can't figure out is if there is a "usual" date for getting staff to indicate their interest in renewing their contracts - why so many (not all) complain that a week is not enough time to discuss with wife/husband, decide? They knew this was coming - it's like your birthday - couldn't the discussion/decision making be done before the actual date that one would like to renew or not?


No, some didn't know WHAT was coming. Last March I attended the TESOL Arabia conference in the UAE. At one of the coffee breaks, I met someone from Qu who was busy job hunting. Naturally we got to talking about why he was leaving so we got into a very intense discussion. I wanted to know why somene from one of the better salaried places in Qatar wanted to leave - he was doing interviews like a lot of others, including yours truly. (I turned down a good UAE offer which I now regret.)

I remember he said that although the university had regulations that people had to be given notice the end of November, that in 2009, they notified people at Christmas, giving them one week to decide if they wanted to stay. People who were fired were notified at the same time. The year before, 2008, the foundation department was over 2 weeks late in notification, after other departments.

The problem as he saw it, was that teachers up for renewal/firing did not know if they would get renewed or would be fired until they got the letter. They had already had a whole year of stress. The worry was caused by the regular spying practices, the report/squawk system, the evaluation system, the number of demerits /black marks or whatever they call them, you get on your report etc. People never knew if they would get the heave or an offer to stay. They are deliberately kept guessing. Naturally. this caused worry and concern. Let's face it: if you had been unsure for months about contract renewal and then finally got a postive answer but with one week to decide, naturally you'd be put out.

The guy said people were worried and afraid to apply elsewhere before the notice came out in case someone called for references and then for sure they wouldn't be renewed. This guy said it made people neurotic and stressed because they just didn't know until they got the letter. The management policy to keep you waiting and worrying, is a little sadistic in my book.

I totally agree, one week is just not enough to plan the next couple of years of your life. If the university has an official notification date of end of November, then that policy should be followed; that's what notification deadlines are for. He told me they had internal departmental deadlines for things which actually included the day and time; not following the university deadlines meant people would get 'punished' (his word, not mine) for missing the department deadline was hypocritical. He said they keep tabs on everything you do to make sure you make the deadline. This is what made people sore, they don't make concessions for people but then they disregard the university notification time frame which is apparently the month of November.

The man told me that the time kept getting later and later, much later than all the rest of the university departments. People felt that they weren't given enough time to make a decision, one week was too short.

Added to that the letter came around Christmas, a time of year when people are busy with holiday plans, exams, who knows what. I don't blame that guy and the other one who joined in the conversation for being angry. They felt that the late notification was deliberate and intended to make people worried and stressed out. Apparently they share offices and compound accomodation with people from another department who all got their letters at the right time. Waiting and extra 3 weeks or more after everyone else got their letters is not very professional and indicates someone really wanted to control people's decisions. He said some people felt pressured into not renewing because they'd been so stressed for months and months that they were sure that they weren't going to be renewed and when they were, they didn't know how to handle it.

These teachers were at the conference job hunting like most of the people who go there (I'd say only about 60% go to this conference for the papers and presentations, thre rest are looking for jobs.) QU also makes people give notice 9 months before the end of the academic year which ends the last day of summer vac. This is a very long notification period. Most universities expect 6 months before end of year, not 9. He said teachers who got the letter didn't know how to handle it - with relief or just resign. It sounds like someone enjoyed dangling the bait and watching teachers squirm. Anyhow. that's how I see it.

I don't know what happened to this teacher. We had coffee one more time at the conference but that was it. I hope he found what he was looking for. He seemed like a nice guy but he was reallly made at this place. He said they didn't care about the teachers or their families or their lives. Totally impersonal. I told him it had been like that at Imtiaz, he had never heard of the Gulag so I gave him an earful.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16121
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry... but Rolling Eyes

Really... people act like they don't know that they have a contract... that has an end... that requires a decision... and the employer might choose not to keep you. Hey this ain't a union teaching job back home. If job security is your main goal in life... stay home and get into a union. Sometimes it just becomes clear why people are NOT renewed.

VS
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