As we are all well aware, the Lebanese are one very unique nation. Their uniqueness is so overwhelming that I am sure there will come a day when scientists, psychologists, and other very, very smart people will write books about their analysis and findings about the Lebanese.
One of the uniqueness of the Lebanese is how they do work. Before I continue, just in case anyone would like to point out to the fact that I am Lebanese, I would like to politely ask you to hold your comments and thoughts till later, as this is a whole different argument which I will delve into in a separate posting.
At the moment, let us simply focus on how things are with the work force in Lebanon. Below are the guidelines of how to do work the Lebanese way. Please note that the below is to be applied by ALL employees, regardless of position.
– Always arrive to the office at least fifteen minutes late, and blame the traffic (even on public holidays when your company decides to be operational; it is the best and most credible excuse, and everyone still falls for it). If you’re a manager, get there 30 to 45 minutes late; after all, you’re a manager, and managers have all the right as they are the ones working the most (or are they really?). Besides, managers should always look their best, which, logically, requires time.
– Waste around 30 minutes upon arrival to turn on your laptop/desktop, prepare yourself a nice, hot cup of coffee (Nescafé is most companies’ favored brand), and engage in small talk mainly about the unbearable traffic in the country (look anxious and upset and curse the government frequently – that ought to make it sound/look more sincere).
– Sit at your desk and pretend to be reading your work emails (in most of which your email address appears on the CC line), while in fact you are checking your Hotmail/Gmail/Yahoo account for gossip or joke mails. Also, if your company’s IT has not blocked Facebook, take advantage and check your Facebook account (and Twitter – you just HAVE to update everyone on how bad the traffic was). Change your profile picture and status as well. However, if your company IT ‘gang’ had actually blocked Facebook, do not fret! There is always Black Berry (which I am sure that 99.99% of you have).
– Print out a few spontaneous work emails (choose the ones that are long), and feign the fact that you are reading them and taking notes (PS: the notes can range between jotting down lyrics to a song you woke up singing, to writing your beloved’s name and drawing little read hearts around it).
– Always keep your desk crammed with papers and documents, to give the impression that you are extremely busy. Under no circumstance should your desk look tidy and organized. You don’t want the boss and upper management to think you got no work to do.
– Go to excruciating meetings where you can continue writing your beloved’s name on your notebook.
– Check your Hotmail/Gmail/Yahoo accounts for any interesting gossip/joke mails, and forward to friends (especially the ones that come with a warning – if you don’t forward something really bad will happen). You don’t want to take the risk.
– Check Facebook (if available) and add comments to friends’ pictures, write on friends’ wall, add funny pictures (one of the many you had just received via Hotmail/Gmail/Yahoo), or simply go through your friends’ profiles. While doing so, always look serious and focusing, this ought to help create the illusion that you’re putting your heart and mind into work.
– If Facebook is not available, Black Berry is! Make sure you use that technology to it’s fullest.
– Make a few work-related phone calls and reply to a few work-related emails – after all, the company is paying to work and you want your conscience to be clear.
– Go through job vacancies on different websites and apply for jobs. After all, the current employer is not paying you enough taking into consideration the high living standards. Besides, you are always looking for ‘growth’ and ‘development’ in your career.
– Time for lunch! Make sure to lock your laptop/desktop before leaving your desk, and go on your one-hour break, maybe more depending on the traffic.
– Get back to the office and engage in small talk again about what you had for lunch (recommend the place and go on and on about what a pleasant experience you had there), and discuss after work plans.
– Get back to your desk and unlock your laptop/desktop – check your work email, and – maybe – reply to some if it is a matter of utter urgency. Otherwise, leave it all till a later, unspecified time.
– Check Hotmail/Gmail/Yahoo account – you never know, you might have received a reply to an application for a job).
– Check your Facebook – either on your laptop/desktop or via Black Berry.
– Check more job vacancies, and send more applications. – Take a 15-minute break for an afternoon coffee and a cigarette.
– Come back to your desk and check Hotmail/Yahoo/Gmail again – we all know how clam work is in the afternoon.
– Create a folder on your desktop entitled “urgent” (visual effects for your boss), and include in it all the songs you like on your colleagues’ shared folders.
– Start burning your new mix CD for your car.
– Close down all web browsers and get ready to leave (all the while your desk is still packed full with documents and printed emails.
– Always leave 10 minutes earlier – after all, you do need 10 minutes to get to your car.
– Repeat daily. Rest on weekends.
Take note that if you’re management, make a lot of phone calls. Speak in a low voice to make your call seem more mysterious to your subordinates. Another point worth noting: heaven forbid should you behave in any professional/organized way, you should be fully ready to bear all consequences to your actions, including disciplinary action for not working hard enough.
You have been warned!