For a few dol­lars more

Muscat Daily - - NATION - Mo­hana is the chief ex­ec­u­tive and manag­ing edi­tor of Apex Press and Pub­lish­ing. If you have any com­ments, please email her at mo­hana@apex­me­

A few months back, on my way out of Mus­cat, I was sit­ting in the Oman

Air lounge, gen­er­ally mind­ing my own busi­ness and ini­tially didn’t pay much at­ten­tion to the young man be­hind the counter. Slowly, I be­gan to watch him in­ter­act with guests – all tourists

– and the more I heard him speak, the more im­pressed I was. Zaid was young, prob­a­bly in his mid-twen­ties, and his con­ver­sa­tional skills held the per­fect amount of friend­li­ness, po­lite in­ter­est and sin­cer­ity.

He started chat­ting with a pair of el­derly Dutch ladies who were re­turn­ing home af­ter their first visit to Oman. He told them about the di­ver­sity that his coun­try of­fers, that they must come back and where they should go on their next visit. An­other tourist cou­ple came up and they were cap­ti­vated, as was I, by his tales of rag­ing wadis, misty moun­tains and desert skies. And all this while he si­mul­ta­ne­ously took care of any other cus­tomer re­quests.

Zaid may have only been serv­ing drinks at the Oman Air lounge but he was so much more. I started chat­ting with him when the tourists had left to tell him how good he was with his peo­ple skills. In im­pec­ca­ble English and with a big, open smile, he told me that af­ter ten months here, he was leav­ing to go work in a bank. To add in­sult to my in­jury, he was join­ing the bank’s call cen­tre.

My im­me­di­ate, and rather in­con­sid­er­ate, re­sponse was – “Oh no. Why?” And I an­swered it be­fore he got a chance to re­ply. “Be­sides the pay, what else is good? You should be a front of­fice per­son, not hid­den away in a call cen­tre.” He replied, “I need that salary. I want to get mar­ried.” I re­ally didn’t know what to say to that.

I re­mem­bered Zaid be­cause I will be at the air­port again this Tues­day and I hope he is still there. To me, he per­son­i­fied what Oman’s tourism in­dus­try needs more of. And yet, I guess I can’t blame him for do­ing what seems to be en­demic to to­day’s youth – keep jump­ing jobs for bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties, real or per­ceived.

Sta­bil­ity al­ways seemed like a good thing to me, but it’s pos­si­ble I feel that way be­cause in my time, that’s what we did. We didn’t change jobs on a whim, for a few ri­als more or be­cause we thought that if we kept mov­ing, our salary and pro­mo­tion would be on a steeper tra­jec­tory. I agree that if you work at the same place too long, growth can be slower - not nec­es­sar­ily in terms of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, but com­pen­sa­tion.

How­ever, if you like your job like Zaid did, why not speak to your su­pe­ri­ors and see what they could of­fer? As they say: Ask. The worst you will get is a no, but at least you’ll know you tried. Chang­ing jobs for money never works out for one sim­ple rea­son: It takes all of three months to get used to your new salary and then if your job con­tent is not sat­is­fy­ing, ab­ject mis­ery is usu­ally the out­come. Of course, as a 26 year old col­league told me with a big grin, “You then change jobs again!”

Bore­dom born out of the daily drudgery of rou­tine is also some­times cited as a rea­son for quit­ting. I met a gentle­man this week who has been with the same bank for 25 years at least, but the way he spoke about his work was im­mensely en­er­gis­ing. There was not a hint of the en­nui that can eas­ily creep in when you have spent decades with the same in­sti­tu­tion. I have a strong sus­pi­cion that this may have been his first job as well.

He didn’t come across as some­one who was in that job be­cause it was a com­fort­able or safe choice, but some­one who seemed to want new chal­lenges and ac­tu­ally en­joyed what he was do­ing. If Zaid did get his bank job, I just hope it’s at this bank and one day he can have this gentle­man ex­plain that good things do come to those who wait. Some­times any­way.

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