Friday, December 28, 2012

What a Year !!

Hi Bloggers,

It's been a fair while since I last blogged, but certainly not because nothing has been going on in my life.  Rather the opposite, the problem has been not knowing where to begin.  But now that the year's coming to an end, maybe it's a good time to try and make head and tail of things.

They say that time slows down when major events occur and that's certainly seemed true for me.  I can hardly believe it's only 11 months ago that my mother died.  Obviously that was the major event, but equally strong contenders must be getting married and having my first child.  Not to mention being unfairly dismissed by my then employers, the British Council, and eventually moving to Saudi Arabia for work.  In between I also managed to spend two months working in Thailand, and about three and a half living in the Philippines, where I bought a house, another first for me.  Finally, I brought a case against the British Council at the Employment Tribunal, which is still continuing now.

I documented my ever-caring mother's sad passing away in earlier blog.  Bless her soul.  I hope she's now in the kind of heavenly abode that she deserves to be in.  I've also said a fair bit about my marriage in Bahrain to my lovely Filipina wife, Rhoda.  So I'll take up the plot from my amazing dismissal by the British Council, briefly mentioned in my previous blog.  Then in my next post I'll say something about my son and my new job.

Things had gone from bad to worse in my relations with the British Council, first from the absurd suspension I was put on in February (suspected political activity in the classroom), through the Performance Improvement Programme (PIP), which was in no way related to the original problem (Arabic in the classroom), to the damning End of Year Record of Performance (EOYROP), based simply on a series of casual observations, which finally resulted in Malaysia revoking my contract just nine days before I was due to travel.  It was an unbelievable downward spiral, in which it was easier (and more convenient) for the management to treat and assess me as a sub-standard teacher, rather than look at the possibility that there was something badly wrong with their own procedures and way of handling things. 

I won't bore you with details of the above, but suffice it to say that I felt so aggrieved by the way I had been treated that I actually brought a case against them at the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal.  Unfortunately, legal matters move very slowly and it's still going on.  I'll say more in a later blog about that.

The most significant feature for me, though, was the sheer callousness with which the British Council dealt with me, at almost every stage.  For example, they suspended me just after my mother had died, and I remember the centre manager didn't even offer condolences.  Enacting the suspension was far more important.  Also, just having a chat with me before making that incredible decision might have clarified everything.  But no.  Then during the PIP I was treated like a guilty man.  There was a certain inevitability about the outcome - it was going to be bad.  And, finally, the revocation just nine days before travelling.  I didn't even know what country to go to! 

You have to be pretty heartless to do that to someone, but, then, that's what I now say about British Council managers, they're like androids or automatons, who simply apply procedures in a completely impersonal, unfeeling way, with absolutely no regard for the human impact they're having.  Clearly, the humanity has been lost somewhere along the line.  It's such a pity because there are so many good things about the Council too.  It's the quality of the managers that spoils what could be a fine organisation. I always think the British Council nowadays is rather like a beautifully ornate wine bottle, but filled with rubbishy wine.

Anyway, so much for my worst ever work experience.  Luckily, I have found a good job in Saudi Arabia now, though there is still the problem of holding my family together.  My next blog will be about one the happiest experiences of my life, the birth of my son in October.

What a rollercoaster of a year !!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Any outcome to your legal case with the British Council?