Saturday, October 29, 2005

Rules? Say What?

I despise how everything we do in the States is regulated/legislated. We really are a "rules-oriented society". A lot of that is driven by the threat of lawsuits I suppose.

Here in Qatar, the rules are very few, and the ones that exist are certainly not written down!

I find this to be a refreshing break from the insanity of American society. However, I am also experiencing culture shock. I love it and am maddened by it simultaneously!

For example, some of the things that are difficult for me as an American to adjust to living here (even after almost 2 years) include;

Driving; people here drive wherever they want to, whenever they feel like it.


… pass you on the left while you are starting to make a left turn (CRAZY!).

… drive across the median because traffic is not moving fast enough for their personal taste (when in my reality as a driver accustomed to traffic because I am from a big city in the states, I perceive that traffic is flowing and fine).

… speed constantly.

…don’t’ put children in seat belts, let alone in the back seat, or in a car seat, EVER.

… pack 15 people into a vehicle that is only supposed to hold 8 people.

Everything here is communicated by word of mouth.

It doesn’t matter what the truth is; only how things appear. Reputation/saving face is more
than telling the truth. I have realized that as an American, I feel that the truth is the bottom line. In American culture, the truth is golden. It is so different here. I frequently find myself feeling like people are deceptive/superficial. However, I am slowly realizing that perhaps this is my culture talking.

There is no new employee (or any employee) orientation handbook at work.

There are no written rules and regulations/policies and procedures at work.

There is no policy or system of checks and balances at work. (like to empirically check to ensure that everyone is doing their job correctly, ethically, etc.).

Eveything must go through "the chain of command" at work. If you skip a person in the chain, you are a troublemaker. You must think you are hot stuff. You must think you have wasta (connections), which is an immediate slap in the face (makes them look bad) to whomever you have skipped in the chain of command.

It's bad to have big, good ideas, especially if they involve changing anything for the better, because that will make the people above you in the chain of command look bad because it wasn't their idea! (*As an American, I find this one extremely difficult to swallow. We come from a society where we are rewarded in our careers, especially in the field of education, for new ideas, for changing things for the better, etc.).

There is not a written job description for anyone's position at work.

There are no written guides or directions which outline the steps for tasks that involve the government (*maddening!);

-how to get your health insurance card,
-how to get your driver’s license,
-how to get your visa,
-how to request a different villa if there is a problem with the one they give you initially,
-how to book your airlines tickets home every summer, etc.

1 comment:

madcapmum said...

That certainly sheds a little light on a few international events I've been wondering about...