30 May 2007

Bahrain Youth and Jobs

Just listening to the speech yesterday by Bahrain's Minister of Labor made a lot of thoughts rush to my head. He brought up an issue I have been talking about for ages, and that is basically that the Bahraini youth need to get up and step up to job opportunities, rather than sit back, relax, and expect the best jobs and salaries to come their way without doing anything.

Its unfortunate that we have this attitude here in Bahrain. Sure, we have a lot of Bahraini's who put in the effort, who study, who work hard, and push themselves through whatever challenges life faces them with. However, there still many who think that they are God's gift to this country and this world, and expect the best jobs to just land in their laps. I've been saying this for years now; us as Bahraini's expect the government to do everything for us - find a good job which pays very well, provide us with top notch housing, health care, facilities, etc etc etc...

And before anyone starts to argue againt this, please sit back and take a look at this situation! Whether we like it or not, Bahraini people have managed to create a sort of dependancy on the government, and expect everything to be handed to them; its true that some of the other GCC countries help out their citizens a lot more, whether its by guaranteeing them jobs, giving them houses when they get married, bonus payments for no particular reason, etc, but on the other hand, we are not them, and I would have thought most people who have understood this by now, but they haven't.

I've seen demonstrations, riots, etc over people demanding jobs and housing. Now the truth is, there are jobs out there. Its just that these people don't want to work them! Fresh graduates seem to think that coming out of college with a brand new degree will get them a thousand dinar job (approx $2,500/month). You won't get it, get over it! You need to work your way up from the crappy small jobs up to where ever you want to get in life, things won't just happen for you just because you're "Bahraini"

I see a lot of people complain about foreigners brought in to do what are supposed to be "our" jobs. Well, of course! If the foreigner is going to do, twice, three of four times the amount of work you're going to do and have a lot more work experience than you, then why WOULDN'T they be hired in your place?

I graduated from Sharjah, UAE. Straight after graduation, I found a job in Dubai paying 700 dinars a month, plus commissions which used to average another 500 or 600 dinars; in total I was recieving around 1400 monthly, which is an amazing amount.

I worked in Dubai for a few months and decided to move back to Bahrain, to be with family, friends, and back home. Now coming from Dubai and a 1400 dinar salary, I told myself I would be content with around half of that. Think I got it?

I stayed jobless for approx 6 months, and FINALLY I found a job paying around 200 dinars a month. Thats peanuts, and most people in my position decide; "Screw it, i'm not working my butt off for a lousy 200 dinars", but you know what? I took the job. First, it's experience for my CV and sooner or later it will give someone else the motivation to hire me since I have work experience.

3 months later, I got a better job paying around double that. Still not much, but a lot better. Worked very hard at this job and a year later I got my break; another job paying much better, and had very good chances for growth. Of course, if I had just stayed jobless they probably would not have considered me for that post. But I was working, I had some experience and they took me in. I worked hard, moved up along the ranks and within less than two years was a supervisor with what by Bahraini standards is considered a "Really Good" salary.

Would it have worked if I had just stayed home and waited for the right job to fall in my lap? No.

All this while I see other people complain that there are no reasonable jobs, and even when they are offered lower paying jobs, they decline and decide to stay home. Thats not a way to improve; way I see it you have two options - sit home and complain that there are no good jobs, or take any job you find and work your way up.

I chose the second, I really hope the rest of Bahrain do.

I'm not saying Bahrain youth are the only people to blame for the whole unemployment problem we have in Bahrain. Sure, the problem is real and there should be some official departments working on the solution; but this problem isn't one sided. The attitudes need to change, people need to work hard. If we all do this, within time i'm sure we can all get through this problem.



GULF DAILY NEWS: 29 May, 2007

MANAMA: Bahraini youngsters who think the world owes them a living were blasted by Labour Minister Dr Majeed Al Alawi yesterday.

"You want the government to give you houses, you want the best salaries, you all want to start at the top of the ladder," he said.

"But what you forget is that you also have to make an effort. You cannot start at the top. You have to work your way up."

Many young Bahrainis are "misfits" in the working world, outpaced by foreigners who single-handedly do the work of three or four of them, he told the Young Arab Leaders Summit, at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.

But Dr Al Alawi said Bahraini youngsters were not solely to blame for what he called "disaster in the making".

"We as a nation have to take a large part of the blame. We have been complacent to let it reach this stage," he said. Dr Al Alawi urged youngsters to seize the opportunities that surround them.