One of the things I’ve been the most embarrassed by, when it comes to my employer, is the way they (We? I’m not totally blameless. But in my defense the only thing left for me to do is throw a big tantrum in front of the entire staff.) treat employees. I actually don’t get as pissed about not getting paid (which has happened again for the month of April), as I get about the way the other employees are treated. For the month of April, about half of the employees remain unpaid.
I’m going to have to write a book length post about how this place has been run. Needless to say, when I go home later this month, I’ll probably never return to the island. The boss, in this part of the world the title is Managing Director, same as the President in the U.S., has been out of the country for over a month. He and I have stopped talking to each other. We hardly even exchange e-mails anymore. He’s supposed to come back on Monday. I think I’ll be saying Fuck and You a lot on Monday afternoon.
The locals that don’t get paid, while their situation sucks, have a support network here on the island. This is a very family-centric culture. No one that works and falls on bad luck will be left out in the cold. There will be a relative that will make certain that things are taken care of should the money run out.
What has really bothered me is the way we treat visiting lecturers. One of my peers has invited young PhD students to lecture for a month or two at our little business school. The last two have come to us from a university in London. Here’s the deal we offer them: lecture with us for experience, stay on a tropical island, get paid a small amount, but the work is easy and the island is beautiful. We offer travel and accommodations too. These students take the deal because it seems awesome. When they get here the reality is that we work their asses off. The accommodations they get suck. The accommodations suck canal water up the ass. You can’t imagine how bad they are. Really, you can’t.
But the worst part is that we do nothing to offer them any recreational or social activity while they are here. The local employees, who have lived on this island their entire lives are nice. Actually, very nice. But they do not include us outsiders in thier social activities. They have lived on this island all their lives. They have grade school friends, high school friends, college friends, cousins, etc., here on the island. Their social lives are full. They don’t need any more friends. Most of these people I work with don’t drink either.
The last two lecturers have been very nice young ladies. From London. We all know that young ladies from London like to go out, right? We all know that young ladies from London like a cocktail once in a while, right?
Well, the locals were providing none of that.
Now I ask you, when confronted with these circumstances, what is a 51 year old, married, American, with a three bedroom apartment at the beach to do? Especially when that 51 year old American doesn’t have any one to go out for a beer with?
I think you all know the answer to that question.
So please let me introduce you to G:
G is a Maritime Historian. She was my dinner companion for about a week back in March. G is one of the finest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. There will be a post about her in the future. There will be also be a post about her accommodations too. The place she was housed in merits special attention. G stayed at my place the last week she was here. It was preferable to stay in my spare room than to stay where the school put her up. G has returned to London to continue her studies.
On the island at this time is M:
M is a computer scientist. She’s been quite a bit of fun to have around as she’s been pushing me to do the touristy things available here on the island that I’ve put off because I’ve been working so much. There will be more stories about M too. I think if I keep calling her M I can tell all the gossipy stuff without causing her google embarrassment.
M really lucked out in the accommodation department. While she did spend a Saturday night here, over that weekend I introduced her to a Danish couple of my acquaintance. They went back to Denmark for three weeks. They asked M to take care of their cats. M has moved from a really crappy apartment to a six bedroom house with a pool just three blocks from the beach.
Those of you that have been paying attention should be asking yourselves, “What the hell is that business school doing hiring lecturers with backgrounds in Maritime History and Computer Science?” The answer of course is another blog post.
And I will reiterate what I said below in the previous post: No. I. Have. Not.
Oh, and my wife knows about these two also.