Care For...

>> Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Would you like to join me to care for?" Khalid asked me as I was filling up my bottle from the office water dispenser. I stopped half-full, puzzled by the question. "Care for what, Khalid?" I asked. I eventually found out that he wanted to go to Carrefour (karfur/karifor French for 'crossroads' ), the hypermarket at the mall. He needed to buy some things because he had reached his own crossroads and had decided to leave Qatar.

Like me, and most foreign workers in Doha, Khalid is fed up of promises that were never kept. Lured by the prospect of good pay and a secure job, we gave up a big part of our lives in order to help keep another country's economy running smoothly only to find out later t
hat it's not worth it. Throw in nasty office politics and it completes the disillusionment.

During his last few weeks in the office, Khalid mastered the art of ranting as he spoke of the scheming others and how they're `taking over the office'--conspiracy theories that are slowly becoming real. When the thing that keeps you hanging on to a job is your concern for your boss, the last thing you need is a fit of jealousy. So when it was obvious to Khalid (and to everyone else) that Mustafa is the boss' golden boy, he decided that it was probably time to go home to Sudan.

Personally, I don't care about the office anymore and how these people are running the show. I've had my moment under the spotlight. I got m
y increase but they also tripled my work load so I'm basically the same overworked, underpaid expat. I've accepted my fate and I am patiently waiting for my contract to end so I can move on. I keep in mind that at least I'm better off now than my first six months here.

But ask Khalid and he'll tell you that he can't wait any longer. The sooner he's out, the more intact his pride is when he goes home. This office can take away his job and his salary but it cannot take away his pride.

I never got to join him at Carrefour, but I did see the things he bought. A new suit, shoes, and watch. And for the family, a blender (wtf?!) and a flat screen LCD TV. He needed to look like he didn't make a mistake working in Qatar. Dignity seems to count a lot in his country.

The day before Khalid left, Edmar and I invited him to a Filipino restaurant.
Had it been another officemate leaving (particularly those who hail from the land of pyramids), the boss would've taken the staff to a lunch buffet. But last Sunday, it was only the three of us. As it turns out, the two people I make fun of in my blog sometimes; the same two people who annoy me sometimes--are the same two people in the office whom I truly care for.OUT

7 responses:

Annamanila 21 August, 2007  

I am sorry you are one friend less in that desertland. I know how much that means to expats like you. Anyway, you got friends here, okay?

pablo 21 August, 2007  

I see the fork but where's the spoon?

HRHMax 21 August, 2007  

But did you have good Filipino food? You didn't even have to say what you had, the mere mention of going to a Filipino restaurant was enough to make my mouth water.

Some people have what it takes to make it. Some just don't. Maybe it's a matter of principle or pride. But I think that by tuning them out and having a long term goal, you've ensured success despite an acute and chronically shitty work environment. (Says Missy War Freak, haha!)

The suit becomes you, Jap! Ay Dios ko. I have the perfect comeback for Edmar. "Pare, mukha ka talagang Prom-Di, ano?"

lee 22 August, 2007  


can't blame him, qatar sucks.

3 years left for me, I think. =[

Jap 22 August, 2007  

ANNA, thanks a lot my friend =)

PABLO, as Morpheus in the first Matrix said: "There is no spoon." and besides, the head room on that picture is too high already. And it's not my fault you can't be mushy but I appreciate the comment anyway =P

MAXIE, needless to say, even with the absence of pork, the food in that resto is fantastic. In fact, I love it so much that I've been planning to feature it soon. I just need to get decent photos. We had Bangus, sinigang na hipon and lechon manok, btw. =)

Yup, you're right, sometimes we have to press the mute button of that nagging voice in our heads just to keep sane on the job.

Thanks Max, although I feel like a typical sales man assigned in the men's section when I wear this. As for Edmar, that comeback may come in handy =)

LEE, Qatar sucks..but you swallow =P hehehe just kidding, bro. Three years is not that long. But I bet by the time, Qatar would be fabulous enough that you wouldn't want to leave =)

intsik 23 August, 2007  

sad naman... well... salamat at nakita ko ang picture ni edmar... not bad... pwd na! an ka bah?! hahahahaha

btw, ur narrative smooth my dear. di masakit ang ulo. simple and yet lumalabas galing mo dito. congratz sa easy read na ito!

Jap 18 October, 2007  

JOEIBOI, salamat. I'll give your number to Edmar lol...salamat sa mga papuri at tagaleg na pala ikaw ngayon hehehe

Abre Los Ojos

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