Lazy Workers

The daily high temperature dropped to the mid 80s from the mid 90s and I took the opportunity to forgo some taxiing in favor of foot patrol.

There are a lot of new construction projects in Doha. Some are massive mile long affairs stocked with bus loads of workers busily digging / excavating / constructing and all the other things. I’ve driven by them many times, it would be hard to avoid.

I never felt bad for them but I did feel like they seemed to be earning their daily bread, working outside all day in 90 to 100+ degrees under the desert sun every day. I also got the impression that the Qatari construction overlords really know how to crack the whip, keeping an army of worker ants on task year after year.

Well, the picture looks quite different when you are walking past these workers compared to when you are speeding by in a car.

One guy was shoveling gravel and it struck me how little was in each shovel full. It was maybe half a coffee cup’s worth. Over and over. Two stones at a time. And I noticed that he was holding the shovel with his finger tips, as if gripping it to his palm was to much effort. I laughed to myself thinking, "this guy’s a shitbird".

But then I observed the same thing from the next 4 dozen workers I walked past, one after another for 45 minutes. They were really going for the gold in the do nothing olympics. One guy standing over a wheel barrow and another leaning on a shovel for every one who was actually digging. If you call what I described above "actual digging". They have developed "generating the smallest amount of movement to present the appearance of work" into an art form.

After that, I started to watch more closely when driving past work crews. Exactly the same. Everywhere. I don’t know how they’ve managed to build so much here.

Now, I fully expect to be told that this is already how pretty much all "modern work" is. And zek salarymen in the US, and knowledge workers writing emails all day and HR departments and middle managers. And I don’t disagree one bit.

I also understand that animal nature is to do as little as necessary.

I’m just saying that I don’t have to the words to describe just how impressively this particular nothing is being done.

MirceaPopescu - 2018-11-04 17:38:11

One way to look at it would be that Qatar attempted to transform its own mineral wealth into building its own republic, except in their case it was natural gas rather than Bitcoin and except further that instead of daily beheadings to cull the shinohais off the rolls, they let the problem fester and eventually ended up with a dead end subculture of pointlessness. I readily grant the "father amir" that the result of his two decades' toil is simple ; the only problem I see is that it doesn’t seem to be in any sense useful. Then again, that might be a matter of taste.

BingoBoingo - 2018-11-04 18:10:04

I suppose compared to this the arrangement where each trade gets to assign one of their tradesmen to a parilla isn’t so rough.

Jamie - 2018-11-04 19:23:17

You said yourself that being out in that heat zapped your energy to the point that you needed to nap. I applaud those fuckers just for holding the shovel. I know how sweltering you like a climate, so if it knocked you on your ass, it has to be Hell’s neighbor.

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