Monday, January 29, 2007
My current manager’s strategy for 2007 can be summarized in couple of words:
“The Lame Ass Bullet Dodging Strategy”
…very impressive stuff indeed.
I will refer to my manager as 'Bug' for the sake of easy reading.
Of course, Bug’s strategy enjoys a high level of secrecy, for the very simple fact that if it gets unraveled, it will make Bug look stupid (hence the lame ass reference).
- How it works:
Very simple; it is the ‘Human Shield’ concept in a reverse order, which means that Bug will keep himself in the front line as long as there is no fire shooting taking place.
However, once the shooting in his direction begins (i.e. the shit hits the fan), he will dodge as many bullets as he can, using the guys in the rear lines as ‘Human Shields, or ‘Bullets Absorbents’. Because according to the GCC’s latest edition of the ‘Workplace Ethics: Guidelines and Insights’, there has to be a recipient to any bullet with a nozzle velocity more than 1 km per hour.
Eventually, the bullet might hit one of us malingerers standing behind, but it doesn't matter, we are all dispensable.
Bug shall in the meantime keep high level of vigilance, watching out for any Bounties thrown in his direction, just to make sure that none of those Bounties will percolate him to reach the guys behind.
- How I found out about it:
We’ve had a meeting on Saturday where Bug has outlined his strategy for the year 2007, it was the most poorly managed meeting I’ve ever attended, he explained very vaguely how he’s going to hold the staff accountable for the missing deadlines and for the incapacity to bring in new jobs.
I smelled in his talk this kind of stench that has lead me to this presumption. It has become clear eventually that he’s not able to handle it on his own, he failed to come up with a sound touchstone for accountability. The Organization Chart he contrived defies every sense of business modeling. For him, the situation has become hairy, therefore, he needs to divert the blame somewhere else. He needs scapegoats.
Well, I must point out finally that I don’t hate Bug at all, I actually pity him, I vowed to myself that I will keep my allegiance to him: 1- as long as I am in this job and, 2- as long as he’s the manager…. Either way ….. it is not going to last long.
N.B.: The 'bullet' and the 'shooting' in this post are metaphorical reference to how the vengeance and the blame game take place in the workplace.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
He now writes for Emirates Today. He used to be a columnist for the 7 Days newspaper before that. Earlier , he was a Managing Editor for Iraq Today. He’s also the host of Al Majlis talk-show on Dubai Eye (FM radio channel). I believe that he’s also a contributor to Arab Media Watch website.
My admiration for the guy has culminated with his George Galloway interview following the 2006 July war between Lebanon and Israel. One of the most interesting and informative interviews I have ever come across, big credit to Mustafa for catalyzing the outspoken Galloway! (I am just wondering if a similar interview was to be conducted by one of our fuddy-duddy Syrian TV presenters, how would it look like? …Yeah yawn till your jaw hurts!)
Apart from the eloquent writing style, and the spectacular presenting techniques, I like his political views, his insights on Iraq are unmatchable. Here are some excerpts from one of his recent editorial comment in the Emirates Today, commenting on the manner by which Saddam Hussein was executed:
'That was a set-up designed to stir up tensions. It was a clever trick because we have all fallen for it. '
'When I was growing up I hardly knew the difference between a Shia and a Sunni – not out of ignorance of my own faith – because it didn’t matter. And it still doesn’t.'
Emirates today online edition.Thursday Jan 18, 2007
I bumped into him couple of days ago in a gas station, I’ve introduced myself as a ‘big-fan’, it was a good opportunity to cast my admiration for the young Arab journalist. For some reason, there is an inexplicable bond between us Syrians and our Iraqi brothers.
I wish him success and progress in his career, he has a long way to go, it's always refreshing to see a young Arab talent, improving the band of communication with our peers in the west.
Mustafa ought to get the scoop!
P.S.: Although it is a bit late, but the Galloway interview is highly recommended!
Monday, January 22, 2007
It happened on the 3rd interchange flyover SZR, I was driving within the speed limit (you can smell my feeling of guilt already) when I saw a bitch (that’s a female dog), domesticated one, snow white fur, clean like she’s just been shampooed. I was sure she was lost, she didn’t belong to that place, she was running across the road, I slowed down….It was obvious she’s not accustomed to ‘street life’, she looked oblivious to all cars….She managed to get across the road unscathed. Suddenly, and following her trail there was a very fast creature sweeping through the road, a husky dog I believe, he was also oblivious to all cars, I managed an intense swerve to avoid hitting him with the front, it was so intense that the car was about to overturn. It didn’t work perfectly though, he was running at such a speed that he has rammed into the car from the left side. There was a thud like sound, not very loud one. To my temporary relief, the husky was still running when I looked in the rear mirror to check on him. Thanks God, he was not ran over, at least.
Although I know it wasn’t my fault that those two innocent pets were set unleashed in the dangerous roads of Dubai. But I am still shuddering at the thought that I , although unintentionally, was a part of their predicament.
I would like to be able to get a hold of the owner of these two dogs, only to pass a brief message and to ask a question,
The message: make sure your pets are always kept in leash, or within a restrained environment.
The question: I would profoundly like to know what happened to those poor souls eventually?
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
In fact, even with the current system in place for immigration control and with the existing, internationally recognized borders, huge numbers of people are already opting to live in different countries rather than their homelands.
The process of mobilizing oneself from one place to another, pushed by economical, political, cultural ,whimsical or compelling reasons (like escaping a buffalo stampede), this process is called by different names and governed by different laws in each case; heavily dependant on the atmosphere between the point of departure and the point of arrival.
You would be surprised to learn all the intricacies involved in setting out the requisites for an Entry Visa to a certain country. A Pakistani-American friend of mine told me the other day that he was about to cancel his middle east tour because of difficulties he’s facing with the Indian Consulate in Huston. I was a bit amazed at this unexpected fussiness on the part of our Indian fellows: it seems that every Indian visa-application of a person who’s born in Pakistan, regardless of his current nationality, will have to go through a thorough security check. This might take up to ONE YEAR!.
“Do you really have to go to India?” I asked.
“Yes, it is business related, we’ve OUTSOURCED our help desk department to Mumbay …I am assigned to audit them” he replied.
This is another case of mobilization, jobs being moved from one country to another, to the convenience of the corporate world and to the delight of the recipients of those jobs. There are now call centers for almost every international company in India. And by the way, allow me to ask the stupid question: why can’t Syria also take its share of the cake and try to be an incubation land for outsourced jobs?….do the Indians speak a better accent to make them better qualified for call centers’ work?….I am only wondering…
I am continually disturbed by the concept of the Global Citizenship, not because I am reluctant to embrace the shenanigans of globalization, in fact, it is quite the opposite, I feel intrigued by the advancement of technology in this digital age, and I like the anticipation that I am here able to communicate my ideas to a big chunk of prospective audience!
No, this isn’t the disturbing side of it, what’s annoying about the whole thing is that some people (of certain nationalities or pedigrees) are having implicit advantages over the others. They are, by the virtue of their physical existence, more complaint with the standards of the Global Citizen. They are therefore entitled to a bigger and more creamy share of the cake.
That brings me to the Dilemma of the Expatriate, the schizophrenic kind of life each one of us expats are having to experience. Being compelled to design leisure activities, surgeries, dental treatments, weddings’ attendance, paper works and get-togethers, all in and around vacation time. Not knowing where real home is. Having two entirely different lifes, not knowing which one of them is finally going to prevail. Missing so many eventful and unique moments that should have been lived, shared and spent with loved ones.
Watching parents growing older. Watching family, friends and acquaintances vanishing, getting married, giving birth, getting divorced, getting sick, getting retarded, going crazy… all at the pace of light speed, and from a remote place. Like watching an old mute black and white reel, with intermittent snapshots one after the other in a haphazard order… this is simply the dilemma of an exapt’s life….draggling years.... in the middle of nowhere.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
I reckon Mr. J! it feels a bit awkward to answer questions I've myself 'concocuted' from the first place! anyway here we go:
1- Are you a principled person? Or are you pragmatic?
I think I do have some principles to adhere to, although it is not always easy to do so. Faith and principles are inseparable. Some friends tell me that I am rather a strict person. I feel more comfortable this way, more self-confident and more submissive to the intrinsic laws of life.
Business wise, I would like to learn to be more pragmatic, there isn’t anything more destructive to creativity rather than a stagnant set of rules.
2- Do you believe in people or in ideas?
Great ideas are abstractly great.
Great people are inspiringly great.
I find people more stimulating and engaging than ideas, I must admit that I’ve personally had very few great people in my life, but their presence were crucial.
3- How good are you in separating what is business from what is personal?
Not as good as I want to, it has been very hard for me to neutralize my ego or my emotions at work, being an architect who loves what he does and hold it high and dear, I sometimes get provoked when somebody passes unwarranted comments about a work I have done.
On the other hand, part of the answer to this question is dependant upon the attitude of the officemates/clients themselves. For me, some people are fairly easy to get along with and have an intelligent discussion every now and then, others are not (for a lot of reasons, most of it has to do with cultural background).
4- Do you have role models? How good are you in following their trajectory?
With the exception of prophet Mohammed (PBUH), I have never read enough about anybody’s life to adopt them as a role model. I don’t follow anybody’s trajectory, I would like to explore my own path….
5- A British saying goes: “Manners maketh a man”, what else do you think makes a man ‘a Man’?
On the personality part; combination of firmness and leniency when needed.
On the look part; a moustache whitened by the continuous smoking of the Egyptian Saloom!
6- Do you believe in taking risk? Do you follow your guts feeling? Has it ever failed you?
Risk is present everywhere, it is almost impossible to define its direct and indirect causes. It always comes down to what other options are available. If I am left with no other choice, I am usually a risk-taker!
I do count on my gut feelings sometimes, I don’t remember being hugely disappointed in this regards.
7- Have you ever been through a ‘paradigm shift’? if not, do you believe that such process exists?
Steven Covey has set forth few good examples about a ‘Paradigm Shift’ in his book (The 7 habits of Highly Effective People).
It is not an easy process, it takes time, dedication and persistence. It also needs the propelling inner force to be able to push for change. I always thought that such things come on its own, voluntarily and sometimes even without human intervention.
8- Do you believe in unilateral love? Have you ever been through such experience?
We have to remember that human pride always dismisses one-sided love…. I don’t believe or encourage such emotionally tormenting experience, but that doesn’t mean that I am not liable to fall a victim to it!
9- How good is your assimilation within your social sphere?
It is pretty good…it might sound a bit arrogant.. but I think I excel at understanding why people act, talk, believe, or do anything differently. Once that understanding is there, it is quite easy to assimilate.
10- Can you name some of your new year’s resolutions?
I hope I can finish reading the books I started to read in 2006, I also hope to quit smoking Argelih (or cut down at least). I will hopefully try to get to know more people, and strengthen the rapport with people I already know.
I wish to be able to help my friends more often. I will try to improve my career, settle down and get married (if almighty permits!).
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
He perched in his seat, fastened his safety belt and nodded to his friend in the passenger seat to do the same.
They drove the remnant of the glistening streetlights of 2006, which wasn’t much of a time, his watch was indicating 11:20 PM.They should hurry up a bit, this particular Latino bar, their destination, wasn’t too far away. But traffic was building up, and by the time they drove by the last signal, it came to a complete halt.
‘Damn!’, he yelled ‘why didn’t you notify me earlier?, I don’t want to receive 2007 stuck in traffic!’
Man propose, God dispose.
They were ordained to usher to the new year with their faces frowning at the registration plate ahead of them, eyeballs rolling at cars and drivers around them, not very good omen for 2007.Suddenly, he heard a muffled sound of a ‘countdown’, perhaps it was emanating from a car next to his, he exchanged a curious look with his friend, then he turned on the radio.It was indeed the count down to the new year. .....
He set the volume to the max, opened the door and jerked himself outside, his friend followed in a glance, fire works started accompanied by loud applause and hailing from near and far. He couldn’t determine how did it all start or when, but it was a frenzy of joy, everything turned pleasant and cheerful. On the side-walk, there were couples hugging kissing and feeling each other as they watch the glittering firecrackers. Everyone was greeting everyone!. An upheaval of emotion!
They never made it to the bar that night, in fact, they couldn’t set themselves free from that jam till 2:00 AM of 1/1/2007. But who cares? They were happy and that was all about it….