Welcome to Lebanon

I came across a very interesting advertisement for a job today during my own job hunt, which made me think about and dissect the whole piece… let me elaborate:

“A well known multinational company located in so-and-so area in Beirut (very posh area, I must add) is currently looking to hire an Assistant Manager in so-and-so field. The right candidate should be a university graduate with a minimum of 5 years experience in related field; age between 22 and 25… presentable… job responsibilities include (the ad states around 10 major responsibilities)… working hours: Mon-Fri 9-6, Sat 9-1… salary between $500 and $700. Interested candidates should apply to the following email address: so-and-so@so-and-so.com”

Certain parts of this ad really made me wonder:

First, how could one be 22-25 years of age and have 5 years of experience in a “similar position”? At that specific age, shouldn’t one still be finalizing their basic BA-phase of education? When will this “right candidate” have the time to work in a similar position for 5 years?! I guess one should start work in this country the minute they come out of their mothers’ womb!

Second, what does “presentable” mean? Does it mean that you have to you have the right branded clothing on (like people would be able to see the tag on the inside of your shirt… maybe if you wear it inside out?!!!)? And the right Italian leather shoes? And that, if you are a girl/woman, you are to be wearing a see-through blouse (of course, the bigger and more noticeable the tits are, the better), a mini-skirt and, of course, high-heel sandals (please, French manicure is a must)?… I sometimes wonder if companies really look at a resume and hire people for their qualifications, or if the hiring process mainly depends on the external appearance alone…

Third, if the ad – small as it is – stated only 10 job responsibilities (please, note the vocabulary: “responsibilities”.. they didn’t use tasks, or chores… responsibilities… like the company is setting the mood to the reader that in case, God forbid, you are hired, you will bear full responsibility for everything)… anyhow, if such a small ad listed 10 major responsibilities, I wonder what more would be in store for the poor candidate. I already feel sorry for the son-of-a-gun who will be hired…

Fourth, the working hours… interesting how the days have all been filled with work. If you have other things to be done, forget it! You are not allowed… I mean, would you need more than 6 to 8 hours of sleep Monday to Friday? Or, God forbid, do you think you might need a Saturday off to maybe get your car fixed, or maybe – just maybe – have personal things to do? Who do you think you are, Mr./Ms. Candidate? You are just a machine the so-and-so multinational company is hiring… so forget about being human, forget your own personal needs – work comes first (and, of course, the boss’s well being)…

Fifth, I think each and every person on the lookout for a job should be thankful that this multinational company is actually paying between $500 and $700; other companies barely pay $300… However, for entertainment purposes only, let’s think of this from two perspectives:

1. If you are single with no worries or responsibilities whatsoever:

Do you suppose that specified salary would be enough? Let’s dissect it: of course, being the Lebanese “candidate” you are, you probably have a cell phone (cute number as well). And with the recent offers on changing from pre-paid to post-paid, you definitely have a post-paid line (for further clarification, post-paid is the opposite of rechargeable). And, being the Lebanese “candidate” you are, you probably spend a lot of time on the phone, and thus your phone bill will amount between $70 and $100… Now, of course, being the Lebanese “candidate” you are, and since our public transportation system is screwed up, you definitely own a car, which you are still paying for (probably a 6-year plan). So, your monthly car payments are around $300 on average. Add to that, you need fuel for your car to go to work and other place, when and IF you have the time (don’t forget the working hours mentioned previously); and so, you would need around $150/month on average for fuel. If you are a smoker, which I am almost sure you are taking into consideration that 90% of the Lebanese population are smokers and the whole stressful situation in the country would most definitely drive you into smoking, you would need about $100/month for your Davidoff Ultra Lights (you know you cannot smoke anything cheaper, being the Lebanese candidate you are)… so far, your payments amount to $650/month.

Therefore, if you actually go to an interview with the so-and-so multinational company and do get $700 per month, you will have $50 left to survive off for the rest of the 30-31 days of the month… and you dare complain?!!

2. If you do have responsibilities (household, family, children’s school, etc…):

… You really want me to dissect the salary structure in this case? I think I’d better not go there…

What I do not understand is this: how could any employer have the nerve to offer $500? Do you suppose that such employers do not actually live in Lebanon? Or maybe they intentionally ignore the living standards and the highly expensive “everything” in Lebanon? Seriously though, do employers actually believe that $500 is a generous sum of money and that people will be flooding to fill that specific vacancy? Besides, it is an ASSISTANT MANAGER position, for crying out loud!

I guess I shall never understand how this country works… no, I meant to say: I shall never understand how the Lebanese people function since, for only God-knows-what reason, they do accept such salaries, thus encouraging all employers to offer less and less each time.

There is a lot more I can say, but I shall not dig deeper… simply allow me to welcome you to Lebanon: the land of civilization!

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