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Newbie in Qatar
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kellygreen



Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:47 am    Post subject: Newbie in Qatar Reply with quote

I arrived in Doha nearly 10 days ago and am working at an international college. Having never worked outside North America before I was wondering if my experience is typical for Qatar or is it just my employer.

Our HR dept seems to be disorganized, uncommunicative and to be honest, not all that supportive of new hires (especially ones that have had problems with their apts) in general- I don't want to give too many specifics as I don't want to be identified.

These HR "qualities" have made it difficult to settle in - from housing issues (appliances that don't work, constant reno in some buildings, furniture stored in hallways, furniture that is broken, AC units leaking/broken, etc.) to answering basic questions about getting residency permits (timelines), getting repairs done or replacement of broken appliances/furniture etc.

As for work, from my own perspective and from speaking with others in various depts. there doesn't seem to be any clear idea about student numbers, course loads and assignments.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15851
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes... this is not unusual. And I expect since it is Ramadhan this year will be worse than most. All one can do with HR and housing people is try to NOT lose your temper with them. I suspect that they don't know the answer to most of your questions... especially about time lines. Personally I wouldn't expect much to happen until after the Eid.

Student numbers, class sizes and schedules are commonly not known or set until the second or third week of classes... ya gotta just go with the flow... patience patience patience.

Since we don't know your employer, hard to say when (or if) things will be organized. Just bite your tongue every time you want to say... this isn't how things are done where I come from... Laughing

VS
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kellygreen



Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reassurance. When the msg fr the president's msg sent out this week mentions 80+ employees (not newbies) are in hotels because of issues with refurbishment of current accomodations and having become aware that key HR personnel have been on vacation during refurbishment - I hope that Ramadhan and the usual year start hiccouphs are the major reasons for the problems newbies are experiencing.
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Lonesome Dove



Joined: 01 Nov 2008
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:24 am    Post subject: Newbie Reply with quote

If you want to check out the lay of the land without revealing your identity, why not do a search on this forum using the name of your college as the search key?

The postings you turn up should tell you if there is a pattern of mismanagement here.

If, on the other hand, nothing comes up, no news is probably good news.

If your institution is quite new, this won't work-- but if it isquite new, patience is probably justified. There are bound to be teething problems.
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Elderly



Joined: 01 Sep 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you work at North Atlantic College the canadian place? Because friends of mine work there and it sounds like your talking about the place next to the Regency Hotel where they live. I heard there's furniture everywhere. I think you never lived in the gulf before did you?
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lollaerd



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

are you working for HCCQ?
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kellygreen



Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an update to previous post, there are still apartment blocks with furniture and appliances in the hallways, still employees at hotels (because their villas are not ready) and this past week an employee was terminated and deported on the same day.

Only word from senior management on this last, was to the effect that the college had done all that was proper regarding the latter (no details given but lots of gossip being spread around).

From what I've been told (and I have no idea how accurate this information is) - there were 3 others deported in the last 12 months - all at this one organization - is this normal? (Assuming that they were deported with valid reasons - are people really this careless/stupid or are they simply ignorant - 2 of the deportees were reportedly here 4 or 5 years)
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15851
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends on the employer... depends on the details...

It happens. It isn't uncommon in the Gulf for teachers to be unprepared for the conditions and wash out quickly. There are employers who don't vet properly and end up with some of the more 'eccentric' teachers knocking about the TEFL world and they don't last. Personality conflicts happen and longer term people can end up fired.

VS
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SecretAgent69



Joined: 02 Dec 2008
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're over reacting. All the people who got deported got deported for perfectly legitimate reasons. They were idiots who pulled bonehead shit. As a matter of fact, the college did them a favour by dealing with them internally and getting them out of the country before the authorities got involved. As for the furniture in the halls and whatnot, that is nothing. Youre being a whiner. It is a temporary situation and comes as a result of the residences being upgraded which is actually a good thing. Things have not gone entirely smoothly, but that is the Gulf for you. Sounds like youre not really cut out for it.
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millie18



Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe I can guess where you're working KG, and can assure you that "this too will pass" - sit back and camp out like most of the rest of your colleagues - they are using this as an opportunity to line their pockets and see a bit of the world that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

Most are hardworking and conscientious (some are milking it for all it's worth but that happens everywhere) - keep your head down and sit back and observe for a while, things will calm down.

As for the lack of responsiveness mentioned in your OP - that's standard in many places in the GCC and there's little that can be done or will change especially if it is an entrenched attitude in management - you can only control your reaction and lower your expectations when dealing with it.

Good luck
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SecretAgent69



Joined: 02 Dec 2008
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent advice. Do your job the best you can and roll with the punches. Take it too seriously and you will be miserable. Dont come with expectations or compare it to back home. Pick your battles wisely. You are in the ideal place to be during a worldwide recession, have fun!
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rslrunner



Joined: 12 Feb 2010
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Secret Agent is completely right, Qatar is one place to hang one's hat during a recession.

The downsides that you described may diminish or even disappear. But they are somewhat common. This place has more money than sense, I'm afraid.
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rslrunner



Joined: 12 Feb 2010
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kelly, I should also add the following: you have to deal with the problems in front in you. But you are not wrong for being concerned or outraged about it. If Qatar wants to be taken seriously, and it does, desperately, there has to be an expectation that they run a tighter ship.
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kellygreen



Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't describe myself as outraged, more as concerned. We were invited to the launch of the strategic initiative 2010 - 2015 this past week. It looks good on paper - hopefully that will translate into concrete actions/results.

Communication seems to be a major issue throughout the organization. While there is a published communications policy, it appears that it is only applicable in certain areas - others seem to be able to flout/disregard it with impunity. However, in my own area, most seem to be able to follow the published guidelines with professionalism if not efficiency all the time Wink
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Lonesome Dove



Joined: 01 Nov 2008
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SecretAgent69 wrote:
You're over reacting. All the people who got deported got deported for perfectly legitimate reasons. They were idiots who pulled bonehead shit. As a matter of fact, the college did them a favour by dealing with them internally and getting them out of the country before the authorities got involved. As for the furniture in the halls and whatnot, that is nothing. Youre being a whiner. It is a temporary situation and comes as a result of the residences being upgraded which is actually a good thing. Things have not gone entirely smoothly, but that is the Gulf for you. Sounds like youre not really cut out for it.


Secret Agent, given the circumstances, nobody has been able to hear both sides of the story. That being so, according to our best legal traditions, and natural justice, our presumption concerning those dismissed must be of innocence. In fact, our presumption should logically be against whomever is responsible for ensuring that both sides of the story were not heard. In this case, the college administration. Their own ombud said these employees ought to sue the college.

As for the furniture in the halls, we know what that's about, don't we? President said it. All the parties in HR responsible for this major undertaking went off on vacation at the crucial time.

Welcome to the Gulf? I wouldn't blame the Gulf ... this is not an Arab-run institution.
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