Saturday, July 25, 2009

Update

First I want to say thank you to everyone who responded to my last post. I honestly didn't expect anyone to read it, much less really care what is happening in my life over here in this little corner of the world. You all have given me a fresh outlook on humanity.

I was raised in a conservative family, with nice honest, God fearing, and quite frankly, naive parents, who sheltered me from a lot of crap. Growing up and living in the real world has at times been quite tough and shocking. I had just naively expected that things like hard work, honesty, being a real friend, etc. would be appreciated, but I had found that it was often quite the opposite, that many people look for those traits, not because they appreciate them, but so that they can exploit them. So I have had many rude awakenings in my life.

My circumstances since my husband left have not helped. I have realized that being a single mother who is just desperate to care for her children is something that many people will try to exploit - particularly employers. They think "oh she can't lose her job so we can treat her as badly as we want." I don't think it is a coincidence that I have had mostly bad employers since my husband left and mostly nice ones before he left / before I knew he wasn't returning.

Anyway, once again thank you all for letting me see a kinder and better side of humanity again.

As for an overview of my situation and an update:

Well as you all know, I was forced to go into work so I could make sure that everything is smooth sailing for my replacement. Any little question she has, any little thing she is trying to find, she comes running over to my desk to get the answer and 99% of the time I have the answer for her. This is not how it was for me when I joined. Because my boss is habitually monstrous to the person in that position, most people haven't stayed more than 6 months and the longest has been a year - or two years if you count Fatema, but she as not working directly with him the whole time. Because of people leaving, quitting, being sacked abruptly, there was never any proper hand over from person to person, the newcomer was always saddled with piles of crap -with no explanation as to its relevance and sorting through it became secondary to current crap that was being piled on daily, so often it remained untouched, until they like their predecessors were sacked and so the mess remained and grew. Because I managed to last a year, I did manage to sort through quite a bit of it and get the junior office staff to clean up a lot of the mess.

When I joined, the shelf in our office area was literally exploding with junk - old newpapers, magazines, company profiles, random documents, you name it - it was all jammed on that shelf, and I being new wasn't sure of the relevance of many of the things on it. I went through some things, and threw away what I could tell was not necessary, filed some things that looked important and I nagged Fatema until finally, when we got the trainee in to help us with a lot the daily and petty takss, they got the rest done.

There were stacks and stacks of unfiled business cards. There wasn't anyone to give me a frame of reference for the old ones that were collected before my time, but I did manage to make a shared contacts folder in Outlook that he could access with the cards from the past year - or the important looking ones - less important cards were given to the trainee to enter into a more general database. Because he was always bleating about how he is "visually oriented" I even made the online cards look like the original ones so that when he looked at them they would look familiar, when possible we also saved photographs of the person the card corresponded to (to jog his visual memory).

Before I came, they were not using the Outlook to manage calendars, I made it so that I and Fatema and his deputy had direct access to his calendar, and we could makes changes to it as necessary - and since he is constantly cancelling and postponing and double booking himself, this was necessary. It also made it so that everyone who needed to could see what was going on in the office by way of meetings. I also got access to most of the directors' calendars so that, when scheduling meetings that required the presence of many of them, it was easier to schedule a time that was convenient for all.

When this lady came, I gave her a detailed description of projects currently underway and briefed her on their history and what is the expected next step - no one did this for me. Everything I learned on my own. Fatema was as helpful as she could be, but since she hadn't been handling his emails or projects and had only been assisting with a few things, she couldn't really help me with the sea of unfiled e-mails floating in his inbox. But I filed literally thousands upon thousands of unfiled e-mails so that they would be easier for him to find and, now, her. All of these were huge and ongoing processes that were constantly being interrupted by the daily stuff.

But I got credit for none of the above. Instead I was blamed for things like the time he forgot to pick up his own wife and son - which I described in an earlier post; Or for Fatema's sudden quitting; Or for the fact that he would completely forget something about which I had spoken with him in detail - sometimes on more than one occasion; or for the time one of his big shot directors was with him in London and had behind my back gone and cancelled and rearranged his meetings there and then forgotten to tell him or me about it - (for that I got a phone call where he screamed at me about how incompetent I am); or the time the same director called from overseas and said he needed to talk to him about something and he said he would call him as soon as he got in the office and so when I reminded him about it when he got in the office he screamed at me for what I still don't know; or the time HE gave Fatema the wrong address for his grandmother and then his mother told them she would pick it up from the office herself (instead of giving the right address) and then didn't for a couple weeks; and countless other inane things like these.

So now, miss replacement gets to come and sit at the nice clean desk - which I did her the favor of leaving in an orderly condition (unlike my predecessor who left me with drawers, in and out boxes full of miscellaneous crap of unknown importance or significance. If she needs something from the shelves, it is right there where she can find it, because the shelves are labeled nicely. There are also soft copies of many important things stored online on the shared folder that was created while Fatema and I were there. And of course, I made sure I showed her how to access them - while explaining how to use a calendar notification and how to put her phone on silent!

Anyway, the past few days I have been sitting at some desk loaded with crap from God Knows Who back the corner near the PR officer and the Technical and Legal Advisors. He doesn't usually wander back that way and that is fine by me, since the sound of his voice makes me cringe.

I read through my employment contract and noticed the termination clauses, and sure enough, they have fired me illegally since there is supposed to be an investigation and review period followed by a warning period, before termination. I also read that since company provided accommodation is part of my contract, I should have at least one month still after termination in my house. So I called up the Accounts and HR and blasted them about the situation with my landlord and housing. So they sorted that out and I now have housing for a few more weeks at least. Though not much, it is better than nothing. Then I made sure to tell a few key people, who would run to him with everything I said, that I know my termination was in violation of my contract AND labor law because there was no cause for the termination - according to the termination clauses - and because there was no reason for termination mentioned on the termination letter - not mention that it isn't actually my name at the top of the letter, since they mispelled it horrendously.

So on Wednesday, Miss Replacement comes stomping over to my desk and summons me into his office. So I made sure I rolled my eyes visibly - they told me not to SAY anything but no one mentioned facial expressions.

Then I went in there. I was wearing 3 inch heels - so he made me sit down in the boardroom. I realized later he was using his classic intimidation method on me. He always makes you sit down - especially if you are taller - so he can feel big - and then he sits too close and having his ugly face so horrifyingly close is enough to make people like me panic and just want to get the hell out of there. Anyway, he then says to me "where's M" (HR coordinator). And I am like "how should I know?" Then he says to me " So what can we do for you?" and said "I didn't ask to come in here - you called me in" then he went on about how they are thinking of giving me a new position within the organization - editing - and would I take it? And I said "how can I tell you if I would take some offer I haven't seen and a job that hasn't been described to me yet?" then Miss Nosey Pants Replacement butts in and he carried on with his conversation in her presence which I thought was highly inappropriate and she sat their nodding as he started (showing off for her) asking me if really think I can manage the new position and do a good job (the implication being that he highly doubts I am capable of doing anything well) and she sat there nodding and clicking in agreement, and I wanted to smack both of them.

Of course, I know he is covering his ass. Obviously, if I had committed some kind of infraction or done something illegal or wrong that was truly worthy of termination, they wouldn't need to offer me anything else, but he knows that I know that my termination was illegal. So he has come up with a clever way to cover his ass AND humiliate me at the same time - offer me a lower paying job.

Anyway, on Thursday, I was sitting at my desk again. And he came back that way looking for the Legal advisor, and then popped over into the accounts sections and then he came over to my desk - which he didn't even need to do - and asked me how I am doing and I didn't even look up at him - I said fine in a very unfriendly voice and didn't greet him or ask him how he is in return. I hate how pleased and satisfied he is that he has gotten away with being a jerk yet again.

Towards the end of the day, HR called me to come up and they gave me this shit offer of less than I was making before I took this job, with a basic salary lower than I have EVER got before. So, having not slept at all the night before, and being in a pretty crappy mood, I flipped out and told them to they can keep their crappy offer since I can't really provide for my kids on it and that I am SICK of their games and that since they have pretty much messed up my life and I have nothing to lose I am going to make sure I take the company and my boss down with me if I can and I won't give up until I do. Then they got all concerned trying to calm me down and I told them, are you people sick, deceiving someone into giving up their stability in Dubai to come up to this place and then doing this to them? And the the HR manager - it was her last day of work incidentally - said, well you didn't have to take the job and come here, And I said, "well I wouldn't have if you people hadn't lied about the position and the boss." I said, "when a boss has a history of doing this kind of thing to people, you have an obligation to let them know this - and if the person is a mother with children who depend on her, you shouldn't even bother trying to recruit her - you all KNOW what a jerk he is, so everytime you recruit someone you know that he will do this and you KNEW my situation, so you should have realized that something like this might very well destroy my life or cause me severe hardship. Now I am stuck up here in the middle of no where with no where to go!" I was yelling. Then I told them that since he is an employee too, he should be subject to rules and restrictions on his behavior and not be allowed to just abuse his power at will.

So now they are going to ask him if they can at least make it as much as I was earning before I came here, which really won't help since my rent there was very cheap, my kids' school was 1/3 cheapers and the Water and electricity bills and other expenses were much cheaper in Dubai too. But maybe I might be able to squeak by on it until I find something else. But I don't know if he will agree to it or not anyway, probably won't knowing him.

Then in the afternoon, Miss Replacement very condescendingly asks me "did you have time to consider what Mr .. talked to you about yesterday?" and I looked at her and said "I am not allowed to discuss this issue with you" and then I said "or rather, I am not allowed to discuss my true feelings regarding this situation with you" and her eyes got all wide and she said "oh!"

Now I still don't know where I stand or what to do. I don't know if I should take the job just to hang on for now - but I am afraid it will put me in more debt to live here when I can't really afford to. .. I think every month I will use all of what I earn plus a bit of the paltry settlement they give me for my old position.

I have been thinking about how I want to change my life for good. For a long time, I have wanted to become certified to teach English as a second / foreign language, but I never had the time or money for it. I still don't have the money, but I can't shake the idea. Being a teacher would be great - I could sponsor my kids easily - no questions, no leaving it up to the whim of some official or another and If I could get a job at a school, I could get discounted tuition, and hours that are great for a working mom. I have been looking for online courses that I might be able to take gradually, but I haven't found anything for sure yet.


Oh I have a job interview in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, I have no idea if it will be a good job or not, I certainly hope so, because if they drag me all the way there and then tell me that they are looking to pay 2,000 dirhams, I am going to be pretty upset. I told them what I was making here though, and they still called me back about the interview, so I am hoping that means they are willing to pay close to that at least! So if you all could please pray for me, though I don't want to have another bad job, so please pray for me that if I do get any future job offers they aren't from monsters in disguise like this last one.

And that's the latest with me... In short, I'm still alive and trying to figure this out...

OH and I peeped in my boss' webmail and lo and behold the HR has sent him templates for NEW contracts which make it easier for him to do this to people (meaning they can't accuse him of illegal termination with this new contract). Nice how they are facilitating his behavior.

11 comments:

Angry In Oman said...

Damn girl what a rotton shot of luck you're having.

Good luck with your interview, I hope you knock their socks off!

mostlypurple said...

YOU GO GIRL! I hope it was both liberating and empowering for you to tell them off.

Pu├ža said...

Just hope you have better luck with the new job, that you get recruited and with a good pay!

What he has done has no words, well si, you've used them all. One day he'll find someone that will put him in his place. Just wait and see.

Anything you may need, count on me in what I can!

Umm Ismail said...

Insha allah everything will Work out Man they job Stinks Bad. Your astrong women you will make it insha allah.

Ummismail

Amanda said...

If you wanna come home for a coffe, just to relax for a while, let me know!
I know it is not going to solve all your problems, but it's good to have some time off to clear the mind!

magalhaes.brazil@gmail.com

All the best for you!

Misfit Hausfrau said...

Fingers are crossed that the interview goes well.

Avital said...

I hope everything works out for you! May YHVH bless and guide your steps :)

and sorry this response took so long, you asked me what faith my family was and they are Catholics...kind of lol

Aalia of Abu Dhabi said...

Hey Desert, inshaa'Allah everything will be okay in the end.

I am glad things are looking up, even if by small but keep ur head up. I hope ur manager get's what is coming to him -- something like this happened to me but I was @ McDonalds *rofl*

Plz keep us updated!!

eyes said...

I'm sorry it's happened this way, but I hope this is the bumpy start to better things for you. I wish you good luck navigating this situation. You're definitely in my thoughts and prayers! (And btw, I'm SO not surprised that instead of behaving decently, they just made it easier to screw people. Nope, not surprised at all, sadly.)

Yasemin said...

You have so many options and God is good.

You are not settling and I am smiling ear to ear at how you defended yourself habibty. I dream of you going to Abu Dhabi, if you can't successfuly come to the U.S. with the boys.

You could get together with Aalia perhaps and find a better job and the money for the ESL degree more easily.

I think that if all else fails, just keep pushing for more at the current job and see if you can avoid working for Bratty Boss again.

If you must go that route, you know now that you must start preparing to venture out for something better here or elsewhere in the UAE....

I'm still here and always will be sweetie, just a call away.

I am on my knees in prayer for your interview. I will not stop making dua until I hear back. Love you VERY VERY much and hang on sweetie.

desertmonsoon said...

Hey everyone!

Thanks for your comments and moral support.
@ Angry - yeah things have been kind of crappy lately - hope the trend doesn't continue much longer.

@ mostly purple - yes it was :)

@puca - thanks - it is nice to know i have friends all over the place :) - hope all is going well with you!
@ Umm Ismail - you said it - it was one stinky job, i guess the one bright side of all this is I don't have to deal with this crap much longer.
@Amanda - where are you staying in the UAE? maybe I will pop in if I am ever in your area?
@misfit - thanks it did go well - but am going to turn down the offer - let's see how they respond - maybe they will try to negotiate.
@ Avital - thanks sweetie and no problem for the late response
@ Aalia - thanks, so what did you do to your McDonalds Manager? But actually you don't need to do anything to that sort! Really there is nothing sadder than a McDonalds Manager on a power trip abusing his teenaged employees
@eyes - thanks - yeah, I am not surprised either, the only thing I am surprised about is that it would seem no mistreated employee before me has called them on their actions or noticed that what they did was illegal. Clearly he is reacting to what I have said, so it would seem I am the first to have said. I actually think I missed my calling. I should have been some kind of workers rights activist. When I lived in Zanzibar I was the only one who butted heads with the egomaniacal manager about how he was treating all of his staff - not so much me as others. After I left, they told me they missed me because I was the only one who had spoken up for them.

@Yasemin - I am used to calling you Lisa! :)
yes, i told HR that there was no way I would accept a lower paying job reporting to the same maniac and I plan to get the hell out of there sooner or later don't you worry!