Our freezer has been over flowing for a while now and have been meaning to ring the supplier as our Olympic Group fridge is still under warranty. I rang a few days ago to arrange a visit by one of the engineers. Although I am not able to speak Arabic, I was pleasantly surprised by how polite the staff at Olympic Group was and I very easy managed to get my point across and arrange a visit for Monday 15th February between 3 and 7pm.
So what do you think happened? I waited and waited and waited and rang for updates and rang again and waited some more and rang and waited some more and every time the answer was; yeah you guessed it; ‘we will be there soon’.
It’s 11:30pm and I have been waiting here since 3pm and as yet, still no sign of the engineer.
As they say in Egypt. ‘This is Egypt’
I recently read an article about workers in Egypt spending more time praying then they do working. It was an interesting article as I too observe the prayer 5 times a day without fail and it does not take me more then 10 minutes.
The article talked about ‘the time between ablution -– washing hands and feet -– and a prayer can take 10 minutes, but many Muslim spend as many as 30 minutes on the ritual.’ The article somehow jumps from workers taking time of to pray and then making a strenuous link between a study which suggests that ‘A recent government study found that Egypt’s 6 million government employees, a massive platoon of bureaucracy, are each estimated to spend only 27 minutes a day working.’
Firstly I have to b honest if there are not proper facilities at the work place, and then it can take up to 30 minutes to pray. One has to make Wudu (ablution) and then find an appropriate place to pray and believe it or not if there are not proper facilities then it can take time. It is the responsibility of the work place to ensure there are facilities for their staff if they choose to pray.
Secondly I have worked in the UK and some parts of the Middle East and to be honest what’s more disturbing is how long the smokers take to have a drag every 30 minutes or so. You will find them loitering around in their cars, behind the wall, outside the office, on roof tops. Each drag can take around 10 minutes, if you add the time it takes to find a quiet spot and then enjoy your cigarette.
Finally there should be no link between lethargy at work and blaming this on a work force that wishes to practice its religious believes. To suggest that the government workers work only 27 minutes a day and the rest of day they are praying is ridiculous.
I think there needs to be an open discussion about what is acceptable at work and what is not. Other factors such as better pay and fringe benefits could easily motivate employees to work. People who work 12 hours a day 6 or even 7 days a week and get only receive £60 a month for their efforts, might find it difficult to be motivated every day.
In order for me to enter Egypt on a work visa, I need to go through a rigorous procedure, which everyone seems to be keeping to themselves until the last moment.
Here is how I went about to get my work visa sorted from Jordan.
I have to certify my British Certificates which have already been certified by my current employer but this is not enough. The British Council does not certify them unless they have written conformation my institutes. The institutes where I rightly gained my certificates from tend not to reply to emails. After numerous emails, international calls and lots of faxes I received the confirmation that I needed. However, this was not good enough as the British Council would like the confirmations sent to them directly. This vital information was omitted from me on the numerous occasions I spoke to the staff at the British Council.
Having completed this procedure, I went to the Egyptian Embassy to get my papers stamped. After painful and long queues in all the queues where I was not suppose to queue, I found out that the Egyptian Embassy does not accept stamps of other Councils such as the British. I have to get the documents stamped from the British Embassy.
I went to the British Embassy who informed me that they will be happy to stamp the documents but at a price of 41 JDs although their own Council has stamped and authorised my documents. This for some reason does not mater and I have to pay the amount they have requested. I had to get 4 documents stamped; I was not carrying such a large sum of money. After I had stamped the documents from the British Embassy, I preceded back to the Egyptian Embassy. At the Egyptian Embassy I was informed that they cannot stamp my documents if the Foreign Ministry of Jordan has not stamped the documents. I then went to the Foreign Ministry of Jordan and got all my documents stamped. Finally I went to the Egyptian Embassy to stamp my documents, I was told that each stamp would cost me 16JDs and I would need to return the next day to pick up my documents.
All the above procedure took me over a month. To be honest this could have been shortened to a few days if only people firstly, did their jobs, secondly all embassy staff were trained on procedures so that they can provide all the information from the beginning and finally if all the Embassies actually bothered to talk to one another and just try to understand each other and work together for once.
Wishful thinking I suppose.