Ok….. first ever blog so here goes….
Three weeks ago a recruitment company in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) called me out of the blue… They had found an old copy of my CV on a web job site and “matched” it to a clients requirement. I wasn’t looking for a new job but they said the magic words……. “More Money”, “Tax Free”, “Includes flights” and “Includes compound accommodation” so I started to pay attention.
It was in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, first thoughts were very hot, no beer and very restrictive for my wife….. not the end of the world but needed more research and thinking through….
Our son had already left home and been living in Dubai for the last four years, we sold our house in the UK in 2008, a few months before the market crashed so were renting whilst looking for market stability and the right property….. Ideal time to move overseas, no real ties to the UK and able to move with the minimum of fuss.
My wife was surprisingly excited by the prospect, I think she was thinking about retiring before fifty and spending a lot of time in a hammock……
Interview and First Hurdles…..
So the agency sent me a job spec, 6 month contract, possibility of another year for the next phase, half page role summary and a date / time for a phone interview… oh no, the morning of the next day…. Just enough time to refresh my knowledge of systems and products they were using as some of them I hadn’t worked on for a few years…. and they sent an “idiots guide” to preparing for an interview that treated the reader as a 16 year old school leaver that had only ever had a paper round…. Had they read my CV and realised I was in my mid forties and done similar roles before?
The interview, with three guys already on the project, went well, at least I thought so at the time. Next day I was offered the job, although no start date, no real details, no agreement on day rate, no agreement of payment currency, no agreement on accommodation details and nothing in writing…… In my mind, not really a “full and complete” job offer.
But working on the basis that all the above were solvable, I started the process of solving the issues….. To be brutally honest, the agency didn’t really help as much as I thought they should, although they were in the UAE, which is a member of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) as is Saudi Arabia, the way of doing business in each of the countries is quite different.
Don’t get me wrong, the agency guys were as helpful as they could be and did all the negotiation on my behalf, and achieved what I asked for, but I don’t think they had placed anyone in Saudi Arabia before so we were both on a steep learning curve.
Now to a practical issue…. In the western world the weekend is obviously Saturday / Sunday…. In the UAE it is Friday / Saturday….. and in Saudi Arabia it is Thursday / Friday…… which means that any questions I asked after 2pm on Wednesday weren’t responded to until Sunday morning which means progressing things quickly is nearly impossible.