Sunday, March 06, 2011

It's cheap 'cos it's crap

This is getting to be too much of a habit. I took a week’s vacation last April, and was made redundant upon my return to the Lands of the Sand. It was fortuitous that I dropped straight into a new job, albeit in Abu Dhabi, but such good fortune does not last for ever.

I took a week off at the end of February to go to Barcelona for the wedding of two Dubai refugees, and to visit other ex-Dubai friends in Madrid. More fool me: I got my redundancy notice out of the blue the morning of my return.

Here commenceth the rant. Normal service will be resumed in due course.

The official reasoning behind my sudden enforced departure is that bids for new work have not been won, jobs for Abu Dhabi government have been cancelled and there is, well, insufficient work to go around. Despite money pouring out of Abu Dhabi’s ground at $105 a barrel, there seems an over-riding desire not to spend this mineral largesse. With little in the way of construction work going on elsewhere because of the Great Global Downturn of ’09, we find such contracts that are available being bid for at suicidally low rates. Much to the delight of Purchasing Departments, no bid is low enough.

The only construction firms able to win anything at all do so by bidding at or below cost, and hope desperately to make money with additional fees. Commonplace becomes the contractor who waits until the ink on the contract stamp is barely dry before hitting the client for a massive claim for additional payment because of a shoddily prepared contract. Maybe spending a bit more at the design stage instead of rushing it out the door without checking it would have avoided that unexpected piece of nastiness.

Good luck with getting the money: the track record for getting payments out of parsimonious clients in the Middle East (and elsewhere) is not good... Everything remains negotiable, from the tender, through negotiating discounts with the lowest tenderer prior to award, until finally demanding further discounts prior to making actual payments: “Ya Habibi. You can have 40% of your bill now, or nothing ever.” etc.

And so develops an incentive for a design team to take short cuts, to schmooze, possibly even – horror - to utilise the sort of lubricant that comes in a plain brown envelope.

But that is not the way the Goat plays the game. Basically, if you wanted someone who would cheat, lie and behave in an underhand and treacherous manner, you obviously employed the wrong Goat. This one lacks the social skills necessary to do politics; he scores almost zero in so-called ‘emotional intelligence’ tests. The result is that this particular Goat does honesty, professionalism and moral rectitude. (This blog post notwithstanding – names have carefully remained unnamed.)

And the Goat’s inability to achieve the impossible and his consummate refusal to produce crap have resulted in this new entrant into the job market.



Gnomad said...

I fully sympathise, I am myself looking for an alternative post since the promised accommodation that goes with my current post is being withdrawn and I cannot afford the usurous rents locally and I am not prepared to commute more than two hours a day from a location I can afford.

Once upon a time a chap's word meant something. Not any more.

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

Very best wishes for future employment.

I have posted this on my blog, as it is reflective of GCC economic situation.

Dave said...

My sympathies Mr Goat - best of luck to you...

nzm said...

We're gutted that your wonderful visit to Spain and our wedding ended in this way.

Jen, being German, is pressing thumbs and I'm crossing fingers that another job pops up as per last time.

Jayne said...

There is a dire skills shortage here (in the construction industry) & as much as I moan about the country, we still have an incredible lifestyle. Hubs' salary is now more than what it was in the Sandpit. Drop me an email Mr Goat, if you fancy a change & venture out this way.

Mme Cyn said...

@Jayne -- but can his ESL teacher wife find a job?

Paraglider said...

Fine post. I'm with you all the way on this. (And I hope something turns up).

EyeOnDubai said...

All sympathy, my caprine friend, from one who knows. I have a large supply of chilled beer and Scottish Barley Malt extract if you and the Mme feel the need to wash away the pain.

Tumbit said...

I don't blame you for trying to keep true to your moral and professional code. Maddening though, isn't it, when so many in big business are out to shite on each other.

Martín said...

Hi Goat,
I just read your post in the C14 forum. I'm really sorry to hear this. I am hoping that things down under are more fair to you. I wish I knew anything useful to tell you which could help you. What abou Mme. Cyn and her job?
Cr@p, just the thought of this happening to me makes me shiver.

alexander... said...

You won't miss the commute, at least.

Good luck in finding something decent with someone decent!


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