June 13, 2008

Reflections on a year with SABIS

Posted in SABIS/Choueifat tagged , , , , , , , at 11:12 pm by stephshimkooo

My New Passport Picture

So it’s over. It’s finally over. This past year with SABIS has been one of the most horrible personal and professional experiences of my life. What this company has done to myself and others is completely, in the politest possible terms, unacceptable.

I don’t know how to describe it without seeming overly dramatic, but unfortunately, emotion generally is not accurately portrayed in text. I can’t believe how… damaged… I am by the experience. I am a healthy, professional, hard-working individual, and I care so much about the job that I do. There have been times in the past where I felt unappreciated at work, but I’ve never really felt threatened by an employer before, and before this past year, I never would have fathomed working for an employer that was at least, negligent, and at worst, deliberately intending to do me harm.

Who I really feel sorry for are the people who don’t have any choice about staying with SABIS PPP or not. Most of these people can be classified as economic refugees because they did not necessarily want to leave their country, but the job markets at home were too abysmal to allow them to make a living. Most of these people are from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, as well as other places in Asia. They don’t have a choice. There are no jobs at home for them to take, despite their considerable skills, and they are tied to SABIS because of Emirati Labor law. If someone breaks with an employer, no matter how amicably, there is a 6 month work ban placed on them. They can stay with SABIS PPP (or any company they would work for, really), or they can take at least 6 months without any job or income. It’s a terrible situation.

On top of the occasional shaking and crying, I have found myself unable to write or to use my brain properly. Back in Korea, I churned out about a column a week for Socius, and I can’t even find the words to keep a personal blog going. Like I said, damaged.

So here I am in London trying to make it all fade away before I head back to the states this summer. I wish Ziad was here with me, but that’s a story for another time. I’ll get to see Johnathon and Pete this weekend, and hopefully Cat will get back to me soon. I’ve only been here a day, and already the creative juices are starting to flow, despite my excessive drowsiness from the flight.

I will document my experiences here under the tag “SABIS” for anyone reading this blog with research in mind. Apparently, some other people have been busy writing, too. Happy reading, and if you have a job offer with SABIS, Intered, or the International School of Choueifat, DON’T TAKE IT.

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