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Not-Quite a Job Offer

November 17th, 2012 at 06:07 pm

I was out with a friend the other night. I have a new job possibility, but the location is in Saudi Arabia rather than Dubai. The cost of living is less and the pay is higher - significantly higher. The problem? It's in Saudi Arabia. There is no way I'd take my wife there for the money they're offering. In fact, I cannot think of any level of money they can offer to get me to take my wife.

One possibility would be for me to stay in Bahrain and commute to KSA, but that's a remote chance by itself. I think I might start looking towards Singapore instead. One good thing about the oil patch is that we drill for oil wherever there is oil, so except for the Caribbean and a few other off-limits areas, my choices for where I work are fairly unlimited.

How much of a raise would it take you to move to Saudi Arabia?

18 Responses to “Not-Quite a Job Offer”

  1. LuckyRobin Says:

    I don't think any amount of money would be enough for me to live there or want to see my husband working there. He's had co-workers who have gone and worked there for a year and he says it ages them dramatically, just the stress of knowing you are always a target. The money is good, but they've all said they would never do it again, that it's not worth the trade-off.

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    There isn't enough money to make living in a misogynistic culture worthwhile.

  3. NJDebbie Says:

    Petunia, thank you for teaching me a new word today and I concur!

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    I can't think of a dollar figure that would make it worth it. I would give up way too much freedom.

  5. Thrifty Ray Says:

    A dollar amount vs the risk just doesnt factor out for me. The hub was there in the 90s during the first Gulf War- and met some American residents who offered him a job when he got out..but it wasnt worth it to us.

  6. snafu Says:

    I've several friends who are nurses with specialized skills who work in KSA for six or 8 months each year. They live in a special Expat district, travel in groups, are driven in a special van and are constantly aware of safety but there is an active social life for foreigners.

  7. snafu Says:

    Singapore is fabulous, the cleanest city state I've ever seen. The only issue is climate hot and humid 24/7 only a degree from the equator. the city is divided into ethnic districts and it's easy to imagine yourself elsewhere after a 15 minute ride on a bumboat. There are more rules than you can imagine but they work to keep Singaporians staying on the front lines of technology. On the other hand, canning is still an important part of discipline.

  8. Wino Says:

    I pretty much concur with everything everyone has said, except that muslims are not misogynists. That's a misunderstanding that many non-muslims have. If you go back just 100 years in the West, wife-beating was allowed as well, so merely the fact that theoretically the husband can still beat his wife only says they are a bit behind in some male-female relationship areas. There are still Christian-based cults in the US that have the man similarly powerful within a family unit. Women over here are actually revered by most men, and absolutely no one would dare to even insult a woman; the sole exception being a husband or father within his own household. Women get head-of-the-line privileges in almost all areas with the exception of fast food lines.

    I know about the compounds, but even here in Dubai, the nightlife can get a bit boring. Fun-boring, but still old hat. I can't see KSA being all that much different, but with less choice and less variety.

    I've been to Singapore dozens of times for weeks-long visits for past jobs. The humidity isn't much worse than Texas, and the temperatures aren't anywhere near as high as Dubai in the summer. I really love the fact that there is so much to do in Singapore. For just a few dollars, you can spend literally the whole day in the Orchid Garden and see thousands upon thousands of different flowers. One of my desires is to be there when the tiger orchid blooms, which is only twice a year. I've never been there during the requisite two weeks. It's just never worked out.

    But that's all theory right now. We just signed on a new apartment, so I'll be staying here at least another year until that lease expires. Once I get moved in, I'll post a photo of our view. The only problem is that it gets morning sun, which means no startling sunset views. I hope to get a few decent sunrise shots while I'm there.

  9. PatientSaver Says:

    Umm, my impression is that Saudis and much of the Arab world are not misognyists, they are far worse. Am I incorrect in saying they treat women like chattel? I mean, they can't dare show most of their body lest men go out of control with sexual desire? And this is the woman's fault? Can't think of anything more imprisoning than having to wear a burka and covering one's body from head to toe.

    Women can't drive, they can't vote, it's difficult to get an education and they don't have property rights. Their opinions aren't valued and they can't file for divorce. And they can be stoned to death for adultery.

    To compare this to random wife beating or abuse by some idiot in America is, i think, ridiculous. The former is institutionalized disempowerment of half the population; the latter is prosecuted and punished when it comes to light.

    That's far worse than misogynism, IMO.

    Wino, I'd be interested to hear in greater detail from someone who actually has lived in the region to tell us what you think it's really like for women.

  10. Wino Says:

    I live here in the Middle East now, PS. You have taken a few disparate beliefs of the extremist sects of Islam and grouped them all together and you have done so very unfairly.

    I could as easily point out Christian sects such as the Amish or Mennonites and the way their women are dressed and treated, the Mormons and their polygamy beliefs, the Jehovah's Witnesses and their medical beliefs, and attribute these beliefs to all of Christiandom. Do you know the origin of the phrase "rule of thumb?" Of course, attributing these things to all Christians wouldn't be fair as these beliefs/views are not held by all Christians. Well, the many beliefs you've mentioned are not held by all or even most Muslims.

    The KSA is much like Iran in its treatment of women. This is true. I ask, is the treatment of Saudi women all that much worse than the Indian subcontinent and its forced marriages of daughters for political or financial gain? What about European royalty and the intermarrying that is done there even until today, also to consolidate political power? Let us not forget the caning done to criminals in Singapore or the sexual exploitation of women in Latin America. There are many things in the world I don't like, but your post shows not just a little malice that is ill-founded and rife with half-truths and exaggerations.

    I should get a picture of the universities here in the UAE. Women can drive. Women can vote. Women are going to college in droves. They are politically active and I have heard of nowhere in modern cities of any women being stoned or killed in honor killings. Most of those pushing for more restrictive laws over here are women. You are attributing one sect's beliefs to all of Islam. I will grant you that I wouldn't want to live in the KSA for many of the things you have written, but your post paints an unrealistic picture of the vast majority of Muslims and their beliefs.

  11. PatientSaver Says:

    Wino. C'mon. You're all over the board here and you're ignoring the elephant in the room. In Saudi Arabia, dissension or disagreement about whether or not to wear a burka is met with force, brute force.

    I know it's different in certain other areas.

    It's laughable to even compare the Middle East to the Amish or Mennonites. The Amish don't ride around in jeeps with Uzis to enforce their beliefs on those they may find on the streets!

    The treatment of Saudi women may be similar to forced marriages elsewhere, but that doesn't make it right!

    My point was, the culture is barbaric in many ways. Whether there may be other cultures that contain backwards elements as well is besides the point.

  12. PatientSaver Says:

    From a 2012 report by Human Rights Watch this year:

    The Saudi guardianship system continues to treat women as minors. Under this discriminatory system, girls and women of all ages are forbidden from traveling, studying, or working without permission from their male guardians. In 2009 the Ministry of Commerce, though not other ministries, stopped requiring women to conduct ministerial business through a male representative.(wow, what progress.)

    On September 25 King Abdullah announced that women will be able to vote in municipal elections in 2015. (Welcome to the 21st century.)

    On May 22, Saudi authorities arrested Manal al-Sharif after she defied the kingdom’s de facto ban on women driving. Al-Sharif appeared in a video showing herself behind the wheel. Prosecutors charged her with “tarnishing the kingdom’s reputation abroad” and “stirring up public opinion,” according to Saudi press reports. On May 30, Khobar police released al-Sharif from prison after she appealed to King Abdullah.

  13. Jerry Says:

    No, I cannot think of anything that would lead me to move to Saudi Arabia. In my line of work there are very lucrative positions there, but I would not feel remotely comfortable with bringing my wife and daughters. (My wife spent some of her formative years in KSA when her father worked there, and does not wish to return.) There's that, plus the fact that the heat would freaking KILL me. Smile I have many Muslim friends who I love and respect, including some US Marines I served with who are Muslim, but I also see how other Muslim (and, while we are at it, Indian) men I know treat women, and it is pretty egregious. I know enough not to paint the entire culture with the same brush, but I also can pick up on trends and commonalities. I want some insurance of a society that protects its people equally... which is why I take significant issue with women earning 81% of men's salaries for the same job in the US.

  14. Wino Says:

    My friend just took a job there. He will be making close to $300K per year, guaranteed for at least one year.

    How many of you would turn down a job in H E double toothpicks for that amount for one year?

  15. Petunia 100 Says:

    It is a nice salary. Would a woman even be considered as a job candidate?

    I have no father or husband to grant me permission to work, to leave my house, or to drive. How would I get to work each day? What if I am arrested? Will I continue to draw my salary while I am sitting in jail?

    If you wish to pursue the possibility of a job in Saudi Arabia, then do so. I am not going to judge you or consider you a misogynist. You should do what you believe is best for yourself and your family.

    You did solicit opinions as to whether others would consider working in Saudi Arabia. I myself would not. But then, I am a divorced woman. Life in Saudi Arabia would be quite different for me than for you.

  16. Wino Says:

    Petunia, there are compounds in KSA where westerners live. No westerner who I know likes living in Saudi Arabia. Everyone I know who goes there does so solely for the money, women included.

    There are many places in the world where women are still considered second-class citizens. To single out Muslim countries due to western perceptions is not fair and is also a bit incorrect. It is the women here in the UAE who are behind the push for western women (and men, but mostly women) to wear more conservative clothing, especially in the malls. It is the younger women more than the older who are behind it, as well.

    Many of the women also like the pampered lifestyle. Not being "allowed" to work when one does not have a desire to work isn't really a burden. Not even 100 years ago in America, most women did not work outside the home. This changed during WWII, more or less, with many of the men going to battle leaving the women to work in the factories.

    I am not defending the Saudi lifestyle. Are you being oppressed if you enjoy the "oppression?" How would you like to stay home or go shopping or have your lady friends over every day, whenever you like? You would be surprised how much power the women actually have in Muslim countries. The power must be exercised through the authorities who are the husbands and other men, but the power is real. Merely disrespecting a woman here in the UAE is grounds for deportation.

    I turned down the Saudi job. I have no desire to work there. Perhaps after my friend goes there, he'll convince me that the money is worth the inconvenience. Personally, I doubt it. Living in Dubai, which is also a Muslim country, is actually somewhat enjoyable. It is much more cosmopolitan here, though, than KSA.

  17. Petunia 100 Says:

    Wino, in what way have I singled out Muslim countries?

    Yes, I do think it is a big deal that women are not "allowed" to live their lives as they wish without permission from their male authority figure. Yes, I do find it oppressive.

    Yes, I do know that there are many places in the world today where women are considered second-class citizens. I don't see how one culture treating women as second-class citizens excuses another culture for doing the same.

    If it is a western ideal that all people should be treated as equals, then I will proudly bear the title "western", for that is exactly what I believe.

  18. snafu Says:

    I asked DH if he'd take a job based on $300K per year. His 1st question was where, S Pole? Nope, KSA and he was flat out NO. We take international contracts and sometimes each work in a different country but neither of us would take contracts where our values are despised. Can you help us understand why the culture of hate for any other tribe underlays the value system of so many Middle East nations?

    What I see is that they value are the tools of war that the west create. They'll send their sons to learn to fly or operate sophisticated equipment to use against one another.

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