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 Working 9 to 5 (Or 8 to 3 in Egypt)

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YallaBina
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PostSubject: Working 9 to 5 (Or 8 to 3 in Egypt)   Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:58 am

*What's a girl got to do to get a job in Egypt?
Claire, I know we've spoken before about this, and you gave me some GREAT pointers. Perhaps the other girls would find this useful as well.

*What are the best jobs for foreign women in Egypt?
And please don't say teaching...that's what all the sites say LOL. I would love to know some other great options.

*What's it like as a foreigner working in Egypt? long hours? little pay? bad management? wonderful? the best? hahaha - I want the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY!

FOR THOSE OF YOU MOVING TO EGYPT IN THE FUTURE:

*Will you try to find work? If so, what would your dream Egyptian job be?


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PostSubject: Re: Working 9 to 5 (Or 8 to 3 in Egypt)   Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:36 pm

The truth is, what kind of job you can get or want to apply for all boils down to who you know. If you know someone in a high position, you can most certainly get the job that you want. Unfortunately, this is how it works in Egypt. Most people in good positions (whether they deserve them or not, though most don't) probably either paid someone to get that job, or knew someone who could intimidate the HR office.

Now, this doesn't mean that you can't get a job if you don't want to follow these methods, it just means that it will be harder. To be honest in Egypt, is basically to get run over. This is something that I had a lot of trouble with when I was working in Egypt.

Yes, teaching English as a second language in Egypt is probably the most sought after job by foreigners wishing to move to Egypt. Most foreigners wish to do this as their job because they figure that they could teach in Egypt where they wouldn't likely be able to teach in their own countries.

What kind of job you want to get really depends on where in Egypt you plan to live, and what you like to do. I personally worked as a Guest Relations Supervisor at a five star hotel in Sharm el Sheikh. I found that the motto that I was so used to living in the US "The customer is always right" didn't sit well with the Egyptian managers. They were reluctant to give any sort of compensation for anything, and while it was my job to go around the hotel on a daily basis to make sure that the guests were satisfied, any and all complaints that I took to the managers were either ignored or I had to listen to a speech about how the guests didn't really know what they wanted.

If you want to live in Sharm el Sheikh or Hurghada, you could work at a dive school (either as a diving instructor -which requires a certificate- or in the offices), in a hotel as a Receptionist, a Guest Relations member, a book keeper, or even on the Animation Team, which would do things to entertain the guests. Getting a job in a hotel is usually easier if you know more than one language.

If you're living in a place like Cairo, you could apply to work at your Embassy, or for hotels or international companies.

If you want to live in practically any tourist place and have a degree or experience in business, you might could try to work for an international company as either an employee or a secretary.

In Alexandria, there are also hotels, or maybe you can find a business office to work for at the port.

If you like to cook, some hotels will hire female chefs, but not many. Actually, when I worked in Sharm, I would be asked to go to the kitchen to write the day's menu on small chalk boards that would sit in front of each dish on the buffet, and they would freak out when I walked into the kitchen, saying women shouldn't be in there. Now, I don't know if that's just because our staff was all male, or if that's normal, but the head chefs in the hotels are almost always foreigners (of course, you have to have a degree from culinary school to do something like that).

You could also try to get a job in the office of an airline company, or in the international airport in Cairo. If you can speak English, chances are it will be easier for you to get hired, because they love having native English speakers in big tourist areas. You will be worth more to a company for every language that you speak. Someone who can speak English and French, for example, or English and German would be a treat for companies. Some of the girls that I worked with spoke 3-4 languages, while I only spoke English and a bit of German. In Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, and Hurghada, Russian is also a good language to know.

You don't always get paid on time, from my experience. I started in a relatively new hotel, so I got paid on time (or a few days after) every month, but I had friends who worked in hotels with the same chain or even different chains and they would get paid sometimes three or four months late. In Egypt, you usually get paid once a month, and this can be really tough on trying to pay rent and for food and everything. Egyptians usually work 3 weeks with no days off, and have the whole fourth week off to rest. The system is supposed to be that after 8 hours, you should get 30 minutes of rest, and get paid overtime for any hours over 8, that's the international law. However, it never works like that, and most people are required to work 12-14 hours a day. For me, I worked from 8:00am-4:00pm (first shift) or 2:00pm-10:00pm (second shift). We took turns doing night shift every Saturday night, which was when most of the arrivals came. The night shift was midnight on Saturday-8:00am on Sunday, and then you'd have to come back at 4:00pm that same day (Sunday) and work until 10:00pm. However, we all complained about that and it was changed to aa fourteen hour shift, from 12:00 midnight on Saturday until 2:00pm Sunday. We were paid 450 Euros a month + 600 Egyptian pounds if we lived outside of the hotel (which was a pretty good deal, financially). To cover the costs of food and the apartment and bills and everything though took every pound that we had. More than 2/3 of my salary was gone just for the rent, and we'd go to the grocery store once a month and buy groceries for the whole month. If we needed anything extra during the month, my husband usually had to work more to be able to afford it. My job, compared to many in Egypt, was a good deal. I didn't like it, and I had a lot of horrible experiences, but I tried to make the best of it, and because I was with my husband, I didn't care. There are better hotels though than the one that I worked in. If you want to work in a hotel in Egypt, it might help you to get some experience before you move there. Even if it's a part-time job. I had trouble getting that job, because I had no experience, and had I not been from the US, I probably wouldn't have been accepted. In Sharm, Dahab, and Hurghada, you're competing with foreigners from countries where most children are taught three or more languages, so you have to make yourself seem as though the company HAS to have you to succeed. My salary amounted to about 4,000 Egyptian pounds, which is so much better than what most people make, so we couldn't complain, but it was also not even enough to live where we did. Make sure that whatever job you try to get in Egypt will cover your expenses. You also need to obtain work permission from the government. Usually, the company that you get a job with should be willing to do that stuff for you, but they often don't want to bother with it, and wouldn't care if you got in trouble and got fined or fired because you did'nt have permission to work. If you choose to marry your husband legally (not through the orfi contract) then obtaining permission to work from the government is easy. However, if you marry your husband through the orfi contract (in which case, you're not really married), then you will have to get a work visa, because you can't obtain a residency visa for a spouse having only the orfi contract.

Hope this helps!

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PostSubject: Re: Working 9 to 5 (Or 8 to 3 in Egypt)   Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:46 am

Thanks for the great info, Claire! I imagine I will probably try to find work at a hotel...working in reception/guest relations. Who knows, maybe I can get a position where Peter works...that would be convenient! And yes, he works 12+ hours a day, 3 weeks straight, then off one week for holiday. But, I think the girls at his hotel have a more relaxed schedule. I believe the last girl to work in reception worked from 8 to 2. BUT, I'll take that 12 hour day...cause I know on the Egyptian salary, it won't be cheap living in Dahab or Sharm!

Claire, what was it like working at the hotel, in regards to male guests? Did they ever cause a problem? Or say things to you that were out of line? Peter has mentioned that he's heard many tourists say inappropriate things to the female staff. This is one reason he's hesitant of me working in this type of position. So I'm curious to see if you ever encountered things like this.

Ohhh, and about Sharm, what is the average price in EGP for a 1 bedroom apartment, decent, European/American standard? I know in Dahab, I can find a nice 1 or 2 bedroom with everything we need for 1100 to 1500. I would be interested in finding work in Sharm, but I know the cost of living will be higher than Dahab.

SHUKRAN!
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PostSubject: Re: Working 9 to 5 (Or 8 to 3 in Egypt)   Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:47 pm

Does the hotel that Peter works in house Arabic guests? Most of the hotels are either for European tourists or for people from other Arabic countries. They usually don't mix the two. The hotel that I worked in had guests from England, Georgia (the country), Ukraine, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Russia, etc... I didn't have a problem with the guests, but yes, I did have a problem with the Egyptian staff.

You shouldn't make eye contact with Egyptian guys, as this is a sign that you're "into" them. I learned that you can't smile, because if you give almsot any of them an inch, they'll take many many miles. I wanted to be friendly with everyone, so I ignored my husband's warnings and just acted like myself. Haha, that was a big no no. They see you as a "sleep-arounder" if you act like that, which yes, we would think is rediculous. Not all of them were that way, but I tihnk maybe 95% of them. And because Sharm is known as the place in Egypt where prostitution thrives, it's easy to get branded as "just another foreigner" in those regards. Now, most people don't see this, until they get a slap in the face from reality when a guy tries to "put the moves on you". Yeah, working in a hotel, especially on the night shifts, was scary. And to make it worse, the Housekeeping manager decided she wanted the Guest Relations to go everywhere with an HK supervisor... which meant that I was walking around the dark resort grounds alone with a man. I hit a bump in the road one of those nights, and decided that I was going to start acting like the other foreign girls I worked with (or most of them, anyway) and basically act like a snob. It worked, in that they started leaving me alone. Some told me that I was mean, and some got the message loud and clear. It stopped all of that stuff, and yes, I felt miserable a lot of the time, because I didn't like acting like that, but it was better than compromising myself or the reputation of my husband.

We rented a brand new studio apartment, so it was just a big bedroom with a TV, a tiny dining table for two, a small (but nice) kitchen with a washing machine for the clothes and a new fridge. It didn't have an oven, but it had an electric smooth top stove with two eyes. We had a bathroom that was pretty nice (until we got a cat and he liked to go outside of the litter box...) with a shower that was a stand up shower (no tub) and had glass doors on it. We paid 2,200 Egyptian pounds a month to stay there. I'm not really sure why, other than I really loved the location and the place and didn't want to move. Some of my co-workers paid roughly 1,800 a month, sometimes cheaper. Depends on what you want. We didn't do a lot of looking around, because at the time, we literally had everything in our suticases and were living on the street with everything that we owned in a few bags with us. When we came to that apartment, we were just happy to have a place with air condition, lol. And because it was clean, we were very happy.

It's hard to find something with more than one bathroom. I found an apartment that looked like a princess should live there! It was really expensive though, lol. Anyway, move to Dahab with Peter and if you want to move to Sharm, I suggest going on multiple apartment hunts to find the best apartment for the cheapest price. I can try to get some more information for you from my friends there if you want me to.


YallaBina wrote:
Thanks for the great info, Claire! I imagine I will probably try to find work at a hotel...working in reception/guest relations. Who knows, maybe I can get a position where Peter works...that would be convenient! And yes, he works 12+ hours a day, 3 weeks straight, then off one week for holiday. But, I think the girls at his hotel have a more relaxed schedule. I believe the last girl to work in reception worked from 8 to 2. BUT, I'll take that 12 hour day...cause I know on the Egyptian salary, it won't be cheap living in Dahab or Sharm!

Claire, what was it like working at the hotel, in regards to male guests? Did they ever cause a problem? Or say things to you that were out of line? Peter has mentioned that he's heard many tourists say inappropriate things to the female staff. This is one reason he's hesitant of me working in this type of position. So I'm curious to see if you ever encountered things like this.

Ohhh, and about Sharm, what is the average price in EGP for a 1 bedroom apartment, decent, European/American standard? I know in Dahab, I can find a nice 1 or 2 bedroom with everything we need for 1100 to 1500. I would be interested in finding work in Sharm, but I know the cost of living will be higher than Dahab.

SHUKRAN!

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PostSubject: Re: Working 9 to 5 (Or 8 to 3 in Egypt)   Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:33 pm


No, he wasn't talking about Arab or Egyptian men. The resort gets guests from all over Europe, with majority coming from Germany and England...and the occasional American every now and then haha. I think he's referring to younger groups of men, who are on vacation looking to have a fun time. Now, it's all men in reception, but there used to be an Egyptian girl, and he would hear guys make comments and propositions all the time towards her. Just like here in America if we had a group of obnoxious boys, harassing some girls while they're on Spring Break lol.

2200 EGP? Ewww...I hope as soon as you stepped out of bed, you're feet were wet because you were THAT close to the sea hahaha. I doubt we will end up in Sharm Sad but if we do, I'll have to do some research and look around to find the best deals. When I was looking in Dahab (before tourism took a dive)...I could find everything I could possibly want (and even nicer than my apartment here) for 1100 to 1500. Peter found an awesome apartment a month ago (but too bad we don't need one yet). Two bedroom, middle of the city, great area, ac in every room, fully equipped kitchen with stove/oven and washing machine...for 1100. Fingers crossed we can find a great deal like that when I move out there!
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PostSubject: Re: Working 9 to 5 (Or 8 to 3 in Egypt)   Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:51 pm

I hope so as well!!

No, I did not ever experience harassment from the guests in the hotels, and neither did any of the girls that I worked with. In general, most of the guys were not young. Most of the people who came were adults, and the younger adults were usually females. The only younger guys that came often were from Russia, and most Russians don't like to speak English if they don't have to. So, other than that, I didn't even see groups of guys like that. Yes, they come, but they spend most of their time at bars. We had some drunk people in the lobby a few times, and those were groups of young men, from Germany I believe. My husband dealt with a lot of guys who would hit on girls at the cafes, but most go straight to the night clubs like Pacha or Little Buddha. Even Hard Rock Cafe there is a night club, not like a family restaurant that we'd see here (at least, that's what everyone has told me. I don't like clubs, so I never went).

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