Sunday, September 03, 2006

Summer Is Over

Summer isn't really over just yet, it's still dang hot. But today was Back To School Day for BetterArf and many other teachers, and the kids start back next Sunday.

And we've just had our first official Friday/Saturday weekend (as has Bahrain). Now if we can just get the idea into the heads of several thousand companies that a two-day weekend is a splendid idea, and that those two days should be Friday and Saturday, we might just see some progress.

Weekends have always been a total mess in the Arabian Gulf. My very first job in the region involved a five-and-a-half day week: the weekend for me was Thursday afternoon and all day Friday. But some multinational companies took Friday and Saturday. About five or six years ago the UAE Government announced that it was reducing the working week for their employees to five days, but to the astonishment of many (especially Westerners) they settled on Thursday and Friday. Now they have come to their senses but they have not made it compulsory for the private sector.

The working day is also a mess - some companies will do a split-shift that can involve their employees doing their commute home twice a day, while more enlightened companies opt for the 'let's get it over with in one hit' approach. Maybe this spreads out the traffic a bit, but those split shifts certainly create an awful lot of unnecessary travel.

None of this makes much difference to me of course - I just work all the time anyway.


Blogger Grumpy Goat said...

I have always suspected 'split-shift' to be a con. There's not enough time to go home or do anything useful between 1pm and 4pm, a lot of the smaller shops are shut, and any attempt to travel will involve spending 1pm to 4pm stuck in traffic.

So what option remains? Staying at the office, that's what. How about a three-hour siesta? Where? Under a desk? In a nap-cell (ha ha)?

Result: split-shift workers will surely inevitably end up working for free, killing time until work starts again at 4pm. And then not getting out of the office until 8pm is disastrous for any form of social life.

Personally, I'd much rather get the day's work done in one fell swoop. Split-shifters: please feel free to disagree with me!

(flame suit on!)

10:43 am  
Blogger MamaDuck said...

The split shift is left over from the days of a small town with narrow alleys of houses with windtowers. Walk through Bastakia, and visit the 'old town' in Dubai Museum to get the flavour. A split shift is a great idea when the afternoon heat makes everyone drowsy, and you live over or behind your business.

Give in. Go home. Sleep. See you later.

Journey time: 2 minutes

Traffic: next door neighbour

Heavy traffic: next door neighbour with shopping

Traffic accident: neighbour breaks sandal

Traffic jam: stopping because neighbour has stopped to fix sandal

Stuck in traffic: neighbour enquires after the health and well-being of your entire family from your great-grandfather to the new-born nephew of your wife's cousin, the one who moved to Al Ain

Road rage: rolling your eyes and squeezing past neighbour, muttering 'They're all fine thank you!'

Traffic fine: neighbour is insulted, and stops speaking to you; and when your family hears about this, they stop speaking to you too; and since these two extended families are related by blood, marriage or friendship to each other and, in fact, the entire town, life is rather disagreeable until sunset, when you aplogise and invite neighbour's family over, slaughter a goat, and stay up til dawn eating barbecue, drinking mint tea, smoking shisha, and revisiting memories of every relative on both sides of the family, right back to the story of Great-great-great-great-great-uncle Abdullah who drank too much qawfeh and broke his ankle chasing a djinn up a date palm.

The split-shift has always been a source of problems.

6:06 pm  
Blogger nzm said...

MamaDuck: very clever - LOL!

11:38 pm  
Blogger Jin said...

Hubs works the split shift, 6 days a week. On a good day he'll get 2hrs during the break & only gets home way after 7.30pm.......and he only works 2mins drive away! The Dubai side (of the company) has gone to 'normal' hours, so we're hoping & praying that the AD office does the same now.

BTW Mama-duck.........brilliant!

4:48 pm  

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