Lost in Qatar

Sorry for the delay. Its seems my absence in the blogging sphere has affected my presence. The reason for the delay, is my change in place and work. I was employed by a Company in Qatar. I should have realised the downfall in working in a Middle East company before i landed here.

I joined "A Company" on 15th of April, 2008 and since then it has been 5 months and 25 days that I have been working for the company. What I never realized is that the company has been underpaying its employees very recently, almost from the beginning time of my work. At present I am earning a total of $645 per month. This includes for my room allowance and my salary. I have to manage on my own for food.

I have been doing some talking arouind and found out that other companies are paying worker 3 times as much as they are paying me for the same job and experience.

What can i say I am a fool. I put my trust in the wrong people and end up in a virtual labour camp. I have to work for a round 13 hours for everyday except on Fridays where i work for around 8 hours. I have to work without any off-days.

Labour laws in Qatar is not very well practiced. Because everyone is doing it. They are doing it to their house maids and to their drivers.

They expect people to work more for less money. And I am stuck in such a company for another 1 year and 6 months. I a not going to fight this problem but I am taking this as experience to myself. And this is a lesson to me and everyone else work is seeking to get foriengn employement to :

1. Never trust the foregn employent agency you talk to. Cause the say things that seem sweet to the ear.

2. Always keep copies of the contract that the local agensy gives you and the employer gives you and compare these copies.

3. Never give your passport to the agency or the employer unless you are certain that its for applying employment visa and any important formality. Because some of these employers tend to confiscate the passport of the employers and demanding them to stay.

4. Always inquire about your accommodation and food. These are the things that tend to increase expenses. Example, 10 X 30 feet area of room costs around $600 ~ $1000. So don't think that u can manage this by your own. Its usually has to be provided by the company. and most of the time these are not private quarters. you usually have to share it with more than 5 people. The room i am in i have about 11 people with me.

Food is also an expense that has to be meet with carefully. You could go for Food Packages from Caffes and restaurants which would cast u around $ 80 a month. this is for a meal in the morning and a meal at night. If u try buying meals on your own might cast u about $160 ~ $200 a month so mind it.

5. If you already have friends in the place or area where you are about to work as them to find about the company that you might be joining.

6. Always have a copy of you friends and relatives number who are in their area. Make sure you have good contact with them and that they are reliable in case that you find that the company is a mess.

In my case I have to take the bull by the horn. I work for the time I am being paid for. I do extra work on my free time. I make sure I do the work that I am being paid for and never do a work that I never want to do. Besides so far I am doing ok with this company except for the fact that my salary is not enough for all my work. Only God can help me here no one else.

So hope that my endeavor is helpful to those who are planning to leave the country for employment. So Take Care until I have time to write another log.

Is working a need or an addiction to you?

{ Photo Credit : mtnwa }

Whats wrong with some people? They work so hard, wanting to achieve so much at the cost of their family relationship, friends and relatives.

When I ask some people why they work they tell me that they have to work like there is no other choice. Of course I agree to that point. You have to work. Working Brings in money which usually helps in settling those bills that we all get during the end of the month. It helps keeping a roof on your head. But the real question is how much to work? They are a few people who say that work only helps them get their minds off of things, e.g. family or relationship issues. But little do they know that using work as a cover-up excuse will only worsen the present situation to the point of breakup.

Even some say that they enjoy working, this may be cause you might be working in Google, a fun sort of environment that some tend to call home. Besides I would love to work in a place like Google. If you are not working in Google and still consider your Work Space as home then your real home must be a war zone full of land mines. Probably the moment you set you foot into your own home there would be dishes flying. Thats really funny to think about.

But alas the true example to this problem would be me. Yes. Noticed that my blog been having few posts per month, well thats because I have been sent to Hell for the past few days. Don't worry I didn't have a near death experience but something that could have really broken me apart.

Very recently One of my clients calls in saying that they had couple of printers and some palms to repair. The other day he walks in with 31 IPC Palm Printers (IPC PP-55 TX) and 21 Palm PDAs (TX and T5). I screamed inside myself "WTF". I tried to maintain a smiling face and I did pretty well. I checked in the Items and sent the client away.

It took me nearly a week to nearly sort thorough half of the printers while simultaneously handling other IT Hardware issues. It was going a bit smoothly until one fine day when I was minding my own business when suddenly our Internet Gateway machine had a hardware failure and crashed. I was frustrated. I was answering calls on my extension reassuring the users that they will have their Internet and email running soon. But unfortunately it took me 11 hours for resolve the issue. What happened in that 11 hours to me was pure torture, which even words can't describe.

11 AM - The problem started I noticed that all my mails stop working. Immediately I tried to ping to my mail server and it failed. I then pinged to Google.com but that too failed. Then I realized that our connection was down. I then quickly tried to connection to our Internet Gateway (EBOX) but there was no reponse. I then went over there, hooked up a monitor and keyboard and I checked it. The display gives a message "File not found" and the end of the boot sequence. You know what that means "Format and reinstall".

{ Several months ago I stopped using an ISA server for a Linux Based Proxy NAT server known as EBOX. Thus my Internet Gateway too I named it as EBOX }

12 PM - Started to get several calls to my extension now. Therefore I lifted and kept aside my receiver so that my extension would be busy. but alas they called to my neighbor's phone and got me to answer the phone. At the very same time one of our support pc was also down and we kept getting support calls. And support issues started pending because of one support workstation going down.

{ That support PC was having a faulty motherboard. and thus my BOSS said that I should replace it with a new PC. }

1 PM ~ 4 PM - and still I could get the setup of EBOX done properly. I finally realized that the version I was trying to install from a CD was a bit faulty. This I had to download it via the net over 400 MB ISO file.

4 PM ~ 6.30 PM - the download took a while because of very high congestion. I guess this was from SLT's side. So I burnt the image to a CD-RW and tried to install the EBOX on to the server.

7.30 PM - The installation finished flawlessly and all I had to do way reconfigure some of the other settings and filters on to the EBOX server.

10 PM - Finished all the needed setting on to the EBOX server. Also p2p traffic was also filtered by fire-walling all the ports except the official ones. Now I left for home as soon as possible.

When I got the job in this company I thought that it was all about working from 8 am to 5.30 pm from Monday to Friday but this was not the case as you can see from above. I have even given up my holidays and weekends to meet up with the pending jobs. I rarely get sick and I am grateful to God for that. But still there is always a limit to how much the human body, mind and soul can take. I feel lost sometimes and I don't know what to do? Shall I work till 5.30 pm or till 8.30pm? Shall I work on my holidays or play and relax during my holidays?

I need to work but at the sametime I need to look after myself and keep a balance between work and leasure. Without a job, I don't havea respectable position in society. But I have to work up to a limit but I can't because my schedule is filled up. Then what do I do?

My Resolution for Year 2008

{ Photo : kudzuplanet - Winter Tree }
New Year, New Faces, New Experiences... A New Year should be a start of change, hopefully for the best. I have wanted to make many changes in the pattern of my life. I previously felt that I am doing the same thing over and over again. I am not sticking to a plan. I really don't know what my problem is? Is my soul / body hiding some sort of sickness from my own mind? or is it a problem with the mind itself?

So whats gonna be my game plan for 2008? It focused of self improvement, better social life. My change is gonna help others too. Thats what I have planned.

Change is said to be a double edge knife, able to cut both ways. Change can never be welded to anyones' requirement. My parents want me to change, e.g. get a better job, get married (I am not in a hurry, my parents are). I was always afraid of change cause with change you never know what the outcome is. So I am planning from this year to start changing.

At the moment I am Head of IT Hardware in the company that I am working for, i am not still feeling satisfied by my current situation. Well of course humans are never satisfied with what they have. But Now I have been given an opportunity to further expand my career by getting involved with a GIS (Geographical Information System) project. This opportunity was given to me by my boss so I am very grateful to him. In Sri Lanka this is virgin terrain. My boss once advised me, "Think of 10 years ahead of your life, and ask yourself where you want to me and then plan for it know". Wow thats really a great piece of advice. My boss is the soul owner of one of the most successful software company on Sri Lanka, and I am more than glad to be an employee of that company.

So it seem that I am in the process of change. Some of the greatest people of the world are people who have taken risks. To achieve greatness one must come with terms with the fact that everything changes. And keeps changing. Thats nature. But changing and adapting to that change is the best way to ensure self preservation. So change it is then. What about you? whats your plan? Care to let the cat out of the bag.