of gold and glitter – 1

All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.

by William Shakespeare

The middle east as a whole is infamous for work environments that are toxic, highly political and ethically challenged. KSA is no exception. The money draws people in and many of them lose their integrity (assuming they had some in the first place). The immigration laws are such that money will always be the most obvious reason for coming to the country. With 2 year contracts as the norm, many Western expats are here for the short term, hoping to make enough to retire a little earlier.

One description/explanation that keeps popping up for the morally challenged (esp expats) is that they are insecure. Thus they plot and scheme, attack, lie and conspire against their co-workers. After years of working with insecure males (in other parts of the world), I firmly believe that a major reason for insecurity is the assumption that others are like them. People project their responses and values onto others- they assume that everyone acts like them. Thus if they cheat, they assume that everyone cheats. If they lie, they assume that everyone lies. If they act like they know everything even if they don’t, they assume that everyone else is also full of hot air. If they act against people, they assume that everyone acts against them.

Thus the insecurity problem persists- perpetuated and reinforced by the very people that are brought in as “role models” to make the workplace more professional.

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2 Responses

  1. Absolutely, the money is a major reason for expats to work in the Kingdom.

    Insecurity, however, is a new one to me. My experience has been the opposite– the expats in KSA were the most secure, self-confident people I’ve ever known, and that goes for non-Western expats as well. They were also most professional, and dedicated to their professions.

    I worked at KFSH for six years, and I never once encountered anything of dishonesty, scheming, and cheating amongst expat colleagues..

  2. I wonder if the difference is based on industry? My interactions have not been on the health side, but on the services side (finance, investment banking, consulting). Not to say that all the people are like that, but a disproportionate number.

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