Cobbler, stick to your last

In the beginning I didn’t know what I was looking at. I looked at it like an idealistic "American", like anyone could be anything. Well in Qatar, not only can you not be anything (as anywhere) but the list of things you can be is pretty well defined based on your nationality.

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Figure 1. Typical Job Ads

I mentioned this in the forum once the pattern came into focus. Low status laborers denied driving privileges, etc. Since that time I’ve come to understand it more deeply. It’s not like someone with "low" status could be anywhere in the low status realm, as if it was a continuous function. It’s more discreet, like there are exactly 11 jobs an Indian man can do, 99% of Indian men will be in one of those jobs, each of those jobs having a precise status. The 1% that do something else are just an anomaly. And never mind that the number isn’t actually 11.

And it goes both ways. Not only are races suitable only for certain jobs, each job has an exemplar race or two and only exactly that is what is desired. Driving is a job for Indian men. Non-Indians and non-men need not apply. Nobody cares what you want to do, if you aren’t an Indian man, fuck off. Nobody gets fired for hiring a male Indian driver.

It’s a cultural outlook of sameness and simplicity. All Filipinas are the same, all Brits are the same. You don’t have to evaluate people individually, you just follow the simple rules.

It wasn’t until I had talked to a few dozen people of various nationalities about their daily lives that I realized how deeply this thinking permeates life here. No one dreams of becoming an actress. None of the hospital cleaning staff secretly wants to go to nursing school. None of the drivers are learning python at night so they can become a coder. No African hairdressers are wondering why they can’t be on the cleaning crew or be a cashier. There’s not a single thought given.

Some westerners here have options, they could get a different deal somewhere else. They probably feel like they have a career. But here, nobody has a career. They just have a job. They do their job and then they go home.

After enough conversations with chicks I found the pattern. They talk the same by race, they act the same they think the same. It’s like NPCs backed by a bored dialog writer wielding a Markov chain.

I linked before to a list of job titles in Qatar which are ineligible to apply for a driver’s license. Your job title here is very important and you can only have one. There was some discussion about why have a list of jobs that can’t drive, why not have a list of those who can.

I think I understand it better now. It’s not just a list of job titles. It’s how people think here. You see "AC Technician". They see "low status Indians & Pakis who dun wash". And under the system they have created it’s entirely true. All AC Technicians are exactly so.

It seems to come from the "exactly 11 jobs" mentality, just extended a little each year. And it’s impersonal in the sense that "no you aren’t a person, you’re an ac-tech-flavored indo-paki and exactly nothing more".

And since Qataris are majority owners of every company in the country, and they take the majority of executive positions, they control all of the hiring practices. If nothing else, through veto power.

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