Living in Dubai, one gets used to a less rigorous approach to many things. As a newbie Westerner, there were many things which surprised me when I landed on Dubai’s shores: the lunatic driving, the bureaucracy, the number of passport photos which are required to become a legal resident! So many of the systems here are so longwinded it feels like your decision to move here is being tested. ‘Centralisation’ is a concept which only appears to be in the neverending ‘consultation’ phase. It’s exhausting. But once it’s done, it’s done, and you are good to go! You learn to adapt and go with the flow.
Not long after settling in this wonderful Emirate, I found a job that slotted right in with my Mummy demands. Even with a couple of years of Dubai life under my belt, I realised there was still more to which I needed to adapt. My office is a law unto itself. My first few months there felt like I had been sucked into parallel universe between the hours of 8 and 12 noon. Throughout my probation period my face was frozen with the same ‘is this really happening?’ expression.
Clients being greeted by a receptionist straightening her hair at the reception desk; a saree wearing office manager who seems to think her sole role is to monitor the emails of previous employees and not to manage the staff/office; no onsite IT support; managers who stroll into work at midday and who have a long lunch from 1pm to 4pm; the odour of McDonalds/Curry/Biryani/KFC wafting through the corridors; secretaries dressing as if they are ready for a night working the bars; secretaries scampering around barefoot; no spam filter to block the v!agra and b@@b enhancement emails (probably because they were of interest to some!); and salaries according to nationality.
Re-reading what I just wrote, I am amazed I ever adapted….living and experiencing it each day makes it your norm. Like I said…..you adapt and carry on.
That is until that moment when something wrestles you back to reality. Feeling stunned; as stunned as if I had been zapped by a tranquiliser gun strong enough to floor an herd of elephants……DH’s email security rejected one of my recent posts (the cheek!)…..Now, DH is one of my 15 followers….and only by force. I signed him up to be the primary recipient of my posts. I wanted to run everything past him first and often get his opinion before I clicked on ‘publish’.
But now my proof-reader/editor/censor was blocked from reading my posts!!! And all because of the rigorous (yet standard in the Western business world) spam/virus filter that his company uses. An international company with offices around the world uses a spam filter to protect its IT systems from viruses and unwanted rubbish advertising! Imagine that!
I have to say, I was quite taken aback. How could this be? This didn’t look like anything I had experienced in Dubai. So what if he is part of an international company with a real, tried and tested IT policy?? We are now in Dubai. Things here are different. Why can’t my hubby read my latest post??? Sure, it contained a few choice words like shi%$ (hardly offensive) and an acronym which would be considered offensive to a WW2 agressor (but that is the acronym of my kids’ school!). I am sure this must have been a mistake. After all we live in a very liberal, non-PC world on this side of the world.
Dodging between realities is tiring; in fact it is exhausting. I came to Dubai with my Western experience. I adapted to the way of life to work here (and dare I say it, the working life here is so much more fun, integrated and colourful than in the West), and now I am reminded of the the Western tethers. The power of PCs. Shame.