Archive for the ‘Dubai’ Category

Oman for all seasons

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Where am I? I’m in Oman of course. Just arrived. Its dark and I’m not in a hotel but a company villa without an en suite bathroom. I am OUTRAGED. Its like India. Its like Bahrain. Its not like Dubai. Dubai was last weekend (or this weekend – its still Sunday) and Dubai was vast and commerical although we didn’t see much of the city as we journeyed to our hotel on the Palm. No, Dubai you can keep but Oman seems to have potential. There wear different hats here. It feels colonial. It feels like it has a soul. Lets see what it looks like in the day.


Saturday, July 4th, 2009

The results are in. Half of the workforce have been sacked. Half retained. Weeks and weeks of unspeakable tension. I have never known anything like it in all my professional life. Colleagues working together one day. Sacked and isolated the next. Around me like flies they dropped over the last half a year. The Polish designer who had been brought in when times were good but exposed as being hopeless when times were bad. Sacked. His Hummer and villa now gone. The Indian technician who was willing if not able. Sacked. His wife joining him in Bahrain three days before he was given the chop. The Irish concept guy – a luxury but a luxury with hopes and dreams just like any of us sacked. The Filipino designer from the Dubai office who kept coming in late, calling in sick but had a good had. Sacked. The laid back ecology guy. African Muslim. Sacked. All these people I knew and worked with at one time or another. Gone. I knew it was only a matter of time until it was, who had danced around the bullets for so long, would be given the talk. I knew. I watched their faces. The desert was gone and I was summoned to work up in their lair for a reason. I knew they wanted me gone so they would live. You watch faces. You pretend to read lips and body languages. You can’t work. You can’t think. You just want to know. You just want someone to say one thing or the other but its a tough world and nothing is happening and the economy is gone and you have a pregnant wife and young son and you just want to do a job. I can’t face another sacking but I just want to know. Have I done enough? I have done enough before and it never worked. Have I done enougfh this time?

Last week dozens more were sacked. They say the company is now half the size it was when I joined. There are no new staff anymore just old ones waiting. I’m still waiting. The big bosses decided to, at last, say something. They said no more drip drip sackings. The last culling is the last until the end of the year. They say. We are safe until 2010.

I did it. For once it worked for me. Nothing I did here was any different to how I acted in Asia. If I was that bad I’d be out. Dead. Months ago. But I am not. I am OK. I am also vindicated and now safer than I hoped to be when I arrived. A part of the furniture and one of the best in my department and therefore the region. Life is changing. For once the gods were with me.