Blogging… Re-start!

Has it been at least a year & 5 months since my last post? Life got quite hectic for me.

Things have started to take off for me, as I’m finally settled into a routine day schedule. You may have guessed it – I’m finally employed in Qatar Airways. I know I struggled for quite a while looking for a job, and not even following the indoctrinated old fashion method of CV/resume by the word.

In the Middle east region, they are used to using both words for the same thing. Whereas CVs have a more academic focus area with publications and other scholarly accomplishments, resumes are geared towards more professional/corporate environments. You would use the former if you’re looking to apply to a college/university for a job.

Anyways, it seems that I’m back in my groove and looking to restart proper journal blogging. Let’s see what else props up for me to share…

Oh, I’ve been putting out quirky things on my Tumblr blog – do check it out.

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The Last Stretch – Chapter 7: Final leg

To think that being in college for so long that one would easily forget the harsh reality of being part of the workforce. To the majority, it may seem intimidating and scared that people will now have to breakout of the usual routine of assignments, quizzes and presentations within the academia confines.

College isn’t solely about learning the things that will help you in life. It’s true that some, if not all the knowledge, will prove useful in your career. That doesn’t mean that college is a waste. Those years are the time when one can blossom and self-groom themselves to be the global citizen for the coming years. It mostly teaches you ‘how to learn’ when you’re contributing to society. This happens concurrently to when you’re supporting your own living and those who depend on you, and seeking to aspire your long-term goals. All of this will lead to another generation that will be groomed and nurtured by your support and tutelage.

My filming for the Qatar Foundation Senior Convocation 2011 video was done long ago – sad thing was that the girls far outnumbered the guys :P. At least I got the chance to be filmed, along with being the only person daring enough to be in the centre of the plastic photo mural-like wall that has our photos and the corresponding messages behind each one. You could say that I was the willing one to do that much labor. Hopefully, the film crew got that part; I was the one climbing the ladder reaching the top, and telling my classmates to put the boxes at the required places.

May 2nd is when I’ll be bequeathed with the official honor and diploma of culminating my time at Carnegie Mellon Qatar. I know that the real world would be a shock, but I’ve been looking forward to this day. I know that quite a lot is in store for me, especially that I have the opportunity of being the first student selected to attend TEDGlobal – that also from Qatar and even the wider Middle East region. I applied as a student, so I guess I could get away with the title :D. It’s atleast 2 months away, and I’m already eager to travel to Edinburgh to bask in the so-called ‘intellectual spa’. Which reminds me that I need to schedule my appointment with the UK Visa Centre here…

Now the only thing on my head is the to find a starting point for employment, so that I can build my career. Let’s not forget my plans that will unfold when I return to Doha on July 18 (Assuming that I’ve already secured fulltime employment before my departure). That’s quite a big gamble, knowing whether or not I’m coming back. All I know is that I want to come back, and I have my reasons. I’m not in for the money, but I want to help set an example of setting things right. It’s time that we show and educate the baby-boomers about the potential of the millenials/Gen Y group. We don’t have to stick to the old ways, if that just fuels the ego for power. Biggest breakthroughs have unfolded in the past decade, and we are ready to capitalize on it for the future.

This is my second to last entry as part of this series. Watch for the finale entry as graduation approaches.

Middle East future-scape – Immediate Success (Part 2 – Cannibalized Influx)

Overview

My earlier entry started off with 4 things that I had talked about: Inflation, Influx of contractors, Quality of services, and Regional Tourism. As I mentioned that I would expand on one of them for another entry, this post is dedicated to the influx part from the previous one.

Immediate Success – Part 2 (Influx)

When I mentioned that contractors would be waiting to bid for the numerous tenders that would be released, I didn’t even touch upon the influx of other things that Qatar would have to sustain – visitors and job opportunities. As the country recently announced a total of 200 projects encompassing the range from education to residential and healthcare, it’s evident that the country may lack the workforce and the people to perform the job.

The main part of this topic that may have been overlooked is the increase in job opportunities in the country. Over the past years, Qatarization has aken higher precedence, with the government clamping on private companies who have failed to meet their quota. As long as they are employing Qataris, that’s what matters to the ministries – otherwise, it’s a QR 100,000 ($27,398) instant penalty. Now, this is a point of contention as the country also has another breakthrough project that seeks to develop the human capital of Qataris and non-Qataris – Education City.

Qatar Foundation‘s flagship project have already graduated numerous alumni from the different branch campuses, but some have still faced hardships of securing employment in the country. Most of the non-Qataris have taken out interest-free loans from Qatar Foundation to pursue their education goals. By working in the country in one of the approved places, their debt is written off every year. This is part of the Foundation’s goals to retain that pool of talent that can greatly contribute to the country. The last thing to happen is for it to leak out for someone else to benefit. If there are no job opportunities for these graduates to apply, they might as well pack up and leave.

Preparing for the World Cup is not only an honor, but also a challenge. You may not find the proper qualified people to perform the duties. They may not even know how to deal with an influx of tourists who would come from different parts of the globe. Language poses a barrier right there. From my experience, much of what happens here is attributed to Arabic. Unless you know the language, then nothing gets done. Some of them haven’t even seen the outside world and know what is good to do. Qatar still doesn’t have a vibrant youth culture and society like Dubai, but that is changing. However, the generation of our parents still hold to their positions and would be reluctant to change.

This is where Education City can fill this void. As the graduates are well prepared to meet the challenges of the corporate and professional, they have been groomed and prepared over 4 years. This is the opportunity that they deserve to not only give back to the country, but also put the Foundation’s human capital investments into action. There is no other opportunity than now for companies across Qatar to recruit the finest minds from Education City. This not only gives them immediate access to the talent that companies would be scouting for, but also saves them the hassle of any financial or immigration-related troubles that would arise.

Being a fresh graduate, many of the job postings I have seen necessitated having atleast 3 years of work experience. In addition, as part of the Qatarization strategy, some companies have kept fresh graduate positions for them. Unless something can be done to address this, the efforts put in by Qatar Foundation will only create a massive brain-drain that countries like India and China have experienced. It will be to the benefit of other organizations outside Qatar to tap the talent pool of Education City, as they reap the benefits of American educated youth but lower recruitment costs due to smaller geographical differences.

Tune in to my next post, as I delve deeper into the wider benefits for the Middle East.

Middle East future-scape – Immediate Success (Part 1)

Overview

Riding on the bandwagon of success from FIFA’s announcement of awarding Qatar the privilege of hosting the World Cup 2022, I thought of doing a series of blogposts that will discuss the repercussions and many aspects for the coming future leading up to 2022.

Immediate success – Part 1

December 2nd changed everything for the Middle East as the FIFA World Cup will be hosted in the Middle East for the first time in sporting history. Moreover, it also represents an opportunity to push for many changes across the entire region. Qatar may be small, but it will be the first country since the first World Cup in Uruguay 1930 to host it in such a small location. You’re thinking, ‘enough of all this that I know, what’s going to happen next?’

A LOT….QUITE A LOT over the next decade, but the effects may not kick in immediately. I thought of segmenting this into several parts relevant to the context, so that readers can easily digest it.

  1. Inflation
    This is the first thing that I anticipate.

    People predicted that with the privilege of hosting a high profile event comes at the cost of increased cost of living. Currently, many people find it hard enough to make ends meet, due to rising prices of basic food consumables like meat, poultry, and vegetables. The government has to take prompt and proactive action to control this, as it spiral out of control and even be an outlet of unfair advantage for retailers and distributors to capitalize on profiteering. That’s what I already see when many commodities are already expensive enough.Companies would have to raise incomes and benefits to align with price hikes, or you’d be seeing many packing their bags and flocking to the airport like a pack of wolves. However, rents are at a current all-time low due to the abundant over-supply of housing and residential units; I’m expecting them to stay that way for a couple of months. I don’t know if I can say much about gas prices here, but people should find a way of controlling their consumption. It will yield more money when sold to other countries, and reinvested into other things.

    It may even spill over to other GCC countries, as they seek to secure certain privileges in exchange for their support in the bid process.

  2. Influx of contractors
    Contractors and many other organizations were clinched to their seats hoping to bid for the numerous tenders that would come from what will now be called the Qatar 2022 Organization Committee. That probably explains the absence of new buildings and architectural marvels not being announced in the paper nor sprouting out of the Doha horizon.

    Word was also on the street that around 60% of Doha (separate areas combined together) would be leveled and rebuilt to suit international quality standards leading up-to the games. Who better to do that than the numerous contracting companies who will want to set up shop in Qatar? The government will have to prioritize it to local contractors who will have to do a good job on them, and bring in external ones for the bigger and prospective projects. Of course, there is also the possibilities of the bigger ones sub-contracting to the small-to-medium ones here in Qatar or the Middle East region.

    (I’ll expand on this more in my next part as it will revolve around visitors)

  3. Quality of Services
    Let’s face it…everyone who has traveled the world has seen just how good products and services can be when the government works for the people. They give you the attention as you payed for it with money. However, it’s kind of the opposite here in Qatar and the region, as they only seem to target rich people with the malls and even upscale places that the majority may not even afford. I may be wrong, but this has been my experience. They don’t even know the meaning of ‘customer service’, or even retaining them to encourage repeat shopping.

    From my experience, I’ve seen the pace in which things can get done here – from approving a bank loan to even doing repairs to a car. Many of them ‘brownnose’ those who have money, but compromise in being equal to everyone. People who work here need to wake up now and improve their work ethic rather than sit around lazily saying “InshaAllah” to any question (I’ve seen people misuse this in Qatar and nothing ever gets done – it’s the opposite when I used to live in Dubai).

    Wake up everyone, we need to start conditioning ourselves!

  4. Regional Tourism
    As Qatar did say that the win is also for the entire Middle East region, they also stand to benefit for the coming years.Tourists would be able to use Qatar as a focal springboard for visiting places around the region, and the budget carriers are in prime position to capitalize on this. While Qatar Airways would be busy flying in people to the country from their numerous destinations, Air Arabia and FlyDubai have become the most popular options for inter-GCC travel. I may be wrong to think that this may even spur Qatar to start a budget airline of their own.
    It might grow into animosity and misunderstanding, but Qatar shouldn’t forget that they went around the GCC to secure their support for the bid. It’s in their best interests to work towards unity, and ‘divide and conquer’ seems to be the best strategy. Qatar Airways can primarily focus on bringing in people from around the world with likely support of other airlines like Emirates and Etihad Airways. The budget carriers can focus on promoting tourism to the other GCC nations, and facilitate the regional influx to Qatar to watch the games. It’s a ‘win-win’ for everyone.

    My view shows that Oman and U.A.E could stand to benefit the most, for the following reasons:
    1) Oman’s eco-tourism would allow them to promote places like Salalah.
    2) The June period is a boon for Dubai as they host their annual Dubai Summer Surprises. This will easily rebound Dubai as a cosmopolitan and urban capital destination that it had achieved.
    3) Abu-Dhabi’s aggressive take on having things like the Formula 1 race track, the Ferrari Drome theme park, and the numerous museums and cultural initiatives they are undertaking

    I could list more, but these stood out the most.

——

To end Part 1, I’ll leave you with this:

Liquidity is going to be flowing around like Niagara Falls, and accounts will be balancing out in exponential scale across the GCC. The Qatar 2022 Organization Committee is going to be buying a lot of Panadols to handle the headaches and migraines that they’ll be suffering for the next few years to figure out the logistics and arrangements.

Look out for my next post…in the near future