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So, what about the MLI?
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grand fromage



Joined: 16 Jun 2003
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MV, it's time you chilled a bit Wink

Risking contradicting myself, I have to stress it's not anywhere near feeling like a slave! Powerless often, yes; frustrated very often, yes; on my guard all the time; yes! However, I am still here and enjoying my experience enough to want to stay a bit longer.

I think if one survives the initial period where most of the complications arise, then it's relatively smooth sailing from there. Of course, if you're sensetive to change and the feeling of lack of control, this is NOT THE PLACE FOR YOU. Also, if you can't stand stressful situations and adventure of going to all the government offices and arranging your new life, stay away-MLI will only help you with the residence visa. This is contrary to other (civilian mostly) institutions which usually have staff to help you get through the beuroacratic maze of Abu Dhabi. I must also stress it's a very superficial environment where perception is everything! If you can make it look great on the surface (come to work on time, teach on time, keep your classroom blinds open for others to see what you're doing, attend their pompous T2T conference and maybe present there, contribute to the MLI Magazine, become a "buddy" for a new teacher, don't complain about your teaching assignments, help out at the LRC Center sometimes, etc.), then you'll enjoy most of your time there.

On the bright side, most of the students are great and you are not bothered individually if no complaints come back about you. But I think I am repeating myself here-just look back on the old postings on MLI.

Finally, someone in this thread tried to blame the screw-ups on new coordinators. I disagree strongly with that. Unfortunately, whether they mean well or not (I have not observed any mean or unhelpful tendencies), they are mostly powerless in the face of the chaotic reality that the military throws their way. On that note, everyone must realise that their promises of change are EMPTY as any new rule from the military will give them an excuse to get out of it with a saved face. So, I would not trust anything provided at interviews in writing or verbal, as everything is subject to change anytime with out warning and apology! Always expect the unexpected and the worst-case-scenario, and if you're lucky and things go your way, you'll feel great. Otherwise, you'll be ready for the bad news.
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raindog



Joined: 23 Mar 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 8:15 am    Post subject: married housing (or lack thereof) Reply with quote

"They told me in the interview that the housing problems were solved. But what they *didn't* tell me (this from the brochure) was that MARRIED employees who live in AD are expected to vacate their apartments at the end of the first year and find their own housing.

So it takes two to three months to get the family there, and then just as they're getting settled in it's time to start looking for a new place."

Strictly speaking, married couples are supposed to move out, but so far it's looking pretty unlikely. The few couples that have tried to get out of the original housing, have been defeated by the usual combination of red tape and inefficiency. Landlords are said to be reluctant to deal with GHQ.

This has so far involved only one couple at a time. This summer, 20 some-odd couples are due to move out, and bottle-necked chaos is expected. All the military who sign things will be on vacation. The marrieds living in the provided housing have decided to say nothing and just stay where they are, in the belief that the military will find the process to be too much work and just give up.
Quote:
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 9:53 am    Post subject: Re: married housing (or lack thereof) Reply with quote

Thanks for the info, Raindog.

raindog wrote:
Landlords are said to be reluctant to deal with GHQ.
[...] All the military who sign things will be on vacation.


Is renting a deal between GHQ and the landlords? Aren't you free to make your own deal and be reimbursed or given an allowance?
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mli_vet



Joined: 11 Jun 2003
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

grand fromage wrote:
MV, it's time you chilled a bit


Yes, massa. Slave be quiet now. Slave no like whippins n udder punishments. I stop, OK ?!? For now, anyhow. But I come back soon, mebbe under new name.

MLI Vet
Over and Out
mli_vet@yahoo.com
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raindog



Joined: 23 Mar 2004
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2004 12:34 am    Post subject: yes, but ... Reply with quote

Bindair Dundat wrote:

"Is renting a deal between GHQ and the landlords? Aren't you free to make your own deal and be reimbursed or given an allowance?"

Yes, and yes, kind of.

As the employer pays the rent, it's a matter between the employer and landlord. The teacher/tenant is welcome to track down a place, but at the end of the day (at least at MLI), the employer has the final say. They have been known to nix a site because it has been deemed "unsuited to an MLI teacher." Some cynical souls have suggested that that means the building in question isn't owned by somebody's brother or cousin and a kickback is lost, but I choose not to think that way.

In addition, GHQ has a very bad name amongst the Abu Dhabi business community, and is said to be notoriously slow to pay owed monies. (It is not unusual for merchants - both large and small, and local and foreign - to have frighteningly thick dossiers concerning what the gov't owes them.)

You are free to go out and negotiate on your own, as long as you keep it quiet about whom you work for lest potential landlords get gun-shy, and you can then convince somebody at MLI/GHQ to sign off on your intended move. Getting all this done is not exactly like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time, but it's about as challenging - and not nearly as fun.

Apologies for my inability to properly highlight quotes and generally make proper use of this page. And to think, MLI teachers are supposed to know how to use technology![/b]
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2004 2:12 pm    Post subject: MLI housing Reply with quote

I'm trying to think of ways to circumvent some of the "challenges" of working at MLI.

Re. the housing for married people: Would it be feasible for a teacher to find his own housing, have it approved by the powers that be, pay for it out of pocket, and then wait for GHQ to pay the landlord and expect the landlord to reimburse the teacher when the money from GHQ arrives? Or is this asking for larceny?

Thanks.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16187
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2004 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Bindair

I'm not sure that I would trust any landlord anywhere to do that. Smile

The question that immediately comes to my mind is what legal recourse you would have if the landlord did reimburse you. Court cases in a country where you don't speak the language can be expensive and - since the landlord would be a local - you are at an immediate disadvantage.

VS
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grand fromage



Joined: 16 Jun 2003
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2004 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BD, don't take this personally, but I really think you're doing yourself and others a disservice by trying to repair the mistakes of MLI by using your own money. If more people (and I think most of us can't even afford to think the way you do) try tofind ways to work at MLI and similarly unprofessional places by using their own funds and resources, than those places will never improve their conditions. I believe that only by boycotting places that refuse to treat people in an acceptable manner will change come to them-not of their own choice of course. Is my frustration with your attitude sufficiently clear??????????????????????
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nrandserial



Joined: 20 Nov 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2004 6:30 pm    Post subject: Renting on your own? Crazy. Reply with quote

Bindair, you are aware that you can only move into your own approved apartment after a year? Try to do it early, and you pay the whole lot. You seem to assume that permission is quick but the payment slow. No, approval to move is very slow as well. One guy got permission to move apartment but was told that as he hadn't been there a year, his furniture allowance was zilch till the year was up. So he stayed put.

And even suppose you do take the burden upon yourself - about 70,000 dirhams, they won't guarantee that you will be staying in Abu Dhabi anyway! Outreach centres need to be staffed, and if there are no volunteers, your seniority (or lack of it in a newcomer's case) dictates you'll be sent there.

The admin already have apartments other than Corniche Towers picked out for the newbies, so there won't be much pressure to move the married ones from Corniche Towers. As Raindog says, chances are little movement will happen in August.

Avoid MLI like the plague VS? That is way too steep a statement. But if Bindair is as rich as he seems to be, and doesn't really need the money, I'd suggest other countries for a more rewarding teaching experience.
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

grand fromage wrote:
BD, don't take this personally, but I really think you're doing yourself and others a disservice by trying to repair the mistakes of MLI by using your own money.


I don't take it personally at all, Mr. Fromage. Nice to see you back in the thread.

I see that our perspectives are very different. Please allow me to explain mine: I don't find it generally beneficial to hold others responsible for my happiness, even when they agree to such responsibilty. I expect my life to be as short as anyone else's, and I would like to spend it as enjoyably as I can. If that means I have to exert a little extra effort to make up for someone else's failure to meet their obligations to me, I will do so, as I usually find that easier and more efficient than taking on the task of educating the laggards and persuading them to come up to my expectations. When I can, I prefer to let them find their own way to hell at their own speed, while I cut loose from them and steer myself. That's all there is to it. I am motivated purely by self-interest.

Unfortunately, the nature of my motivation makes it hard for me to care as much as I, perhaps, should care about whether I am doing "others" a disservice.

grand fromage wrote:
If more people (and I think most of us can't even afford to think the way you do) try tofind ways to work at MLI and similarly unprofessional places by using their own funds and resources, than those places will never improve their conditions. I believe that only by boycotting places that refuse to treat people in an acceptable manner will change come to them-not of their own choice of course.


Then boycott, Mr. Fromage, boycott! I applaud your initiative. I sincerely hope that you walk your path with head held high while I walk mine. I desire nothing for you but the best, and I understand well why you and I must disagree.

I hope you will understand that I would have great difficulty explaining to my family that we would not be able to eat for a while because my dear friend Mr. Fromage asked me to join his boycott.

grand fromage wrote:
Is my frustration with your attitude sufficiently clear??????????????????????


It was clear several days ago, Mr. Fromage. I'm surprised --and delighted-- to see you back.
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 8:50 am    Post subject: Re: Renting on your own? Crazy. Reply with quote

nrandserial wrote:
Bindair, you are aware that you can only move into your own approved apartment after a year?


Yup. How does that work out, in practice? You start looking in your eleventh month, and then what? If it takes time --weeks, months-- to get approval, where do you stay while you're waiting for approval? Where do you stay if, say, your fourteenth month rolls around while you're waiting? Does GHQ push you to get out with one hand while the other is too paralyzed to sign your approval?

nrandserial wrote:
And even suppose you do take the burden upon yourself - about 70,000 dirhams, they won't guarantee that you will be staying in Abu Dhabi anyway! Outreach centres need to be staffed, and if there are no volunteers, your seniority (or lack of it in a newcomer's case) dictates you'll be sent there.


What has happened in the past when teachers have found themselves in that situation?

nrandserial wrote:
The admin already have apartments other than Corniche Towers picked out for the newbies, so there won't be much pressure to move the married ones from Corniche Towers. As Raindog says, chances are little movement will happen in August.


That's good to know.

nrandserial wrote:
Avoid MLI like the plague VS? That is way too steep a statement. But if Bindair is as rich as he seems to be, and doesn't really need the money, I'd suggest other countries for a more rewarding teaching experience.


I'm not rich. I'm a working man. I just make sure I maintain a solid financial cushion between myself and the wolf at the door. I'm good at managing my money, but I have to replenish my coffers from time to time -- and the time is NOW! My little "reserves critical" light is flashing. Smile

Thanks for all the info!
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nrandserial



Joined: 20 Nov 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 1:45 pm    Post subject: Housing at MLI yet again. Reply with quote

Bindair asked how the moving to your own accommodation happens. Well, you wait for permission to go hunting - could be up to 3 months before your time is up on the old one. The searching can drag on for months, though should be a lot quicker depending on how lucky you are with finding something suitable. Then you submit the agreement you have got with the the landlord to GHQ. Then you WAIT. Chances are there will be some need to renegotiate part of the agreement e.g. to have rooms painted before moving in, get the price reduced. As you'll be in a GHQ approved and paid for apartment, the onus is on them to either get the new one approved or extend the rent on your old one.

If you do get transferred to an Outreach Centre, it is GHQ that will have to find you suitable accommodation if it is too far from Abu Dhabi. Of course, they will take the loss from having the apartment empty, or can fill it with another teacher. If you had rented the apartment without approval and paid 6 months rent in advance, chances are you'd foot the bill yourself.

Good to hear your motivation is something most staff can empathise with.
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2004 4:04 pm    Post subject: reply to Mr. Serial Reply with quote

Thanks mucho, Mr. Serial!

BD
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mli_vet



Joined: 11 Jun 2003
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:58 pm    Post subject: Housing Schmouzing--What About the $$$ problems? Reply with quote

Housing Schmousing--What About the $$$ problems? (schmousing--think any Khaleejis here will recognize the yiddish influence and censor this post for Gulf viewers? Yiddish--shoo haatha !?!)

While housing accomodation is an impt concern, the $$$ issue seems to be a thornier issue. Why can't GHQ get its act together, pay people on time, in the full amount contractually agreed to, both for folks currently employed, and for those teachers who have moved on and never received their final settlement $$$ ? ? ?

Why does GHQ owe so many people so much money--not just MLI teachers, but hordes of their other civilian workers? I.E. the thick record books local contractors keep on how much MLI owes them which they'll probably never see a Dirham of? Why did it take so long to move into the new MLI building a few years back?

Because it was GHQ's policy to not pay contractors, make them go broke as a result, and never have to pay out for all the work that had been done. Then, just hire new contractors to finish the job. No hurry, it'll get done insha Allah--and people will forget about the $$$ owed by GHQ, insha Allah. Recognize this policy at MLI anyone? Think about it . . . especially if you're considering a position w/ this GHQ racket.

MLI Vet
Over and Out
mli_vet@yahoo.com
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Bindair Dundat



Joined: 04 Feb 2003
Posts: 1123

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 4:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Housing Schmouzing--What About the $$$ problems? Reply with quote

mli_vet wrote:
Why can't GHQ get its act together, pay people on time, in the full amount contractually agreed to, both for folks currently employed, and for those teachers who have moved on and never received their final settlement $$$ ? ? ?


Yo, Mr. Vet: I have been under the impression that all teachers were paid in full after the initial few months of being insha'alahed. Is this not the case? Are teachers owed money at this point in the year? Is there a problem with final monies?

Please, less allusion and more revelation. I wait with 'bated breath.

mli_vet wrote:
Think about it . . . especially if you're considering a position w/ this GHQ racket.


Can't think about it if I don't know about it, now can I?

Yours,

BD
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