Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are a mixture of my experiences as well as the experiences of others. Therefore, any resemblance to people, companies, or businesses (unless clearly stated) is purely coincidental and should not be taken personally. 😉
15 things I’ve learned about working in Lebanon.
1. There is almost never enough Nescafe or Coffee Mate (or lighters).
2. You should never use someone else’s mug.
2. “I got stuck in Jounieh/Hazmieh/Achrafieh traffic” is actually a valid excuse for tardiness…“I couldn’t find parking” is also another valid one (especially in Achrafieh).
3. If you get to work even a little bit late, there will be no place left in the fridge for you to put your Tupperware..and then you will have to spend the next couple of minutes rearranging everyone else’s Tupperware so that yours fits…ANNOYING (isn’t it?!)
4. The dress code varies immensely, depending on your industry of course. That being said, it’s not uncommon to find gym clothes (spandex pants, sneakers, and a hoodie) and night club attire (mini skirt, six inch heel boots, and cleavage bearing top) next to each other, in the same office.
5. If the secretary is passing around Lebanese sweets, you know someone just had a baby.
6. Meetings continue without a flinch, even when the power goes out. Business as usual, even in the dark!
7. People are often expected to take on the role/responsibilities of two or three employees, without an increase in pay. Oh, and almost everyone does freelance work..even if it’s “against company policy.”
8. Human Resources (HR) is still an emerging, highly misunderstood, and extremely undervalued field.
9. Clients are still reluctant to use email, they would much prefer a face to face meeting..even if it’s about something very minor that could be resolved through email, or at most, over the phone.
10. Whether or not a company gives off certain religious holiday is always a matter of contention.
11. Job titles are of supreme importance, even if they aren’t justified.
12. While most people speak 3 or 4 languages in Lebanon fluently, many offices have a single language preference – a language that the majority of employees feel most comfortable speaking in..and the language that is most often heard around the office.
13. Although most people bring food from home, it’s not uncommon to see 25 different delivery men come through the office doors within a space of a day.
14. People will start smoking just so that they have an excuse to join everyone else on smoking/coffee/chatting breaks.
15. Don’t share anything too personal about yourself at work, it can..and probably will, be held against you.
That’s my two cents. Agree? Disagree? Got anything to add?