Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hours and Wages in Muscat

Many have asked me why I want to come to Oman and work when they are trying to come to my country and work.

Well, in general in Oman, expats with a passport like mine and a good degree get paid more than an Omani National with the same education. At LEAST $2500 Omani rials and above. LOL, I am one of those people who took off from college with certificates but no B.A. So I am not one of those. Everyone is like, it's just three more years of school OPNO, BUT I AM LIKE, I don't know how many years I have left to live (no, I am not dying, but you never know right?) and I don't want to spend my last days in school, LOL.

So I am left to work with the rest, 5-6 days a week (we get Juma off). We can work from 8-12 hours a day but have long lunch breaks. Slave labour! my father would cry.

I have more work experience than most Arabs and Omanis in my fields (yes, fields, I am one of those people who cannot make up their mind and get bored very easily) so I can make from $400 (don't want to take that)- $670.00 which is more than enough for the lifestyle I AM content with. If you wanna rent a villa and have no nice Omani connects to hook you up with one they don't happen to be using, well then, you gotta make more. The average salary for co-workers that are from other Arab countries is $320-$400. I have an Omani friend though, who only makes $260.00. Live-in maids from India get paid around $80 rials a month. Despite my low wage, my household still has a maid who visits six times a week, and I can afford lovely clothes and pretty furniture and good food. I have a few women as flatmates.

I don't know WHY the bloody work week is so long though, because I used to get just as much work done at a nine to five five day a week job as I do manage to here. I think people just use the internet more at work (free internet is great and no one kills you for facebook!---which was a firing issue back in MY COUNTRY). And I think, of course, that working more than five days a week is a crime. I like two days off in a row. It has been conditioned into me as my unconditional right as a North American. But I gave that right up to come here and work.

A friend visiting from another Gulf country was SHOCKED to see Omani men driving cabs, and Omani girls at grocery checkouts. This is unheard of in places like the UAE (unless they get a good discount at Gucci, LOL). It makes me happy because I think Omani people are more humble than some I've met from other Gulf states (nothing is worse than a Gulf-snob). But I despair for some, the young men who don't make enough to save for a house (at least $400 to rent waaaaay out of Muscat, and most families prefer that you own), two cars (one for the wife, one for the husband, the lowest costing $950 each), the maher (at least 500 rials but as much 40, 000), furniture, new clothes and gold gifts for the bride and her family, and food for the wedding. They have to take out HUGE loans to finance the marriage, then have to spend the rest of their lives paying their debt, just to fulfil their Islamic duty to marry, and take care of their children. Some work the day for their $125-300 jobs and then drive a taxi at night, all just to meet the basic requirements of marriage and children. So some cannot afford to marry, and end up staying with their families, and I find this just sad. The kids can end up having to work to help pay the debt (Oman has few Islamic banks), and for girls, this can be the additional pressure to make a marriage with money, which doesn't exactly involve prostituting themselves out, but it can pressure them into less-than Islamic means of meeting their future spouses for wholly good intentions of saving their family and helping themselves. It makes me sad for some Omanis!

My friends and I joke about pooling a sadaqah fund for the single boys we know to help cover their mahers, LOL. I know a lot of families do this.

This is really NOT a comprehensive article by ANY means, but its my most pervasive thoughts on the subject.

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