The UAE today

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grampa

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Unread post08 Sep 2012, 06:17

Thecrewdog wrote:My opinion of the UAE is one of many, and should be read as just that…and opinion. It’s very simple… If you plan before coming, accept it for what it ultimately is (a job), and look for opportunities to excel no matter what anyone tells you, it is a good place to work. You will find frustration in any job that you take; however, this job presents challenges of a different kind. If you’ve worked in the Middle East, you know some of these challenges. Just remember to never compare what the locals do to what you must do. They pay us to be here. It really doesn’t matter what they do on a daily basis. It’s sort of like trying to tell your boss that he doesn’t do as much as you. Would you do that? Never… So keep this in mind when making your choice.

I am speaking from experience. This can be a good place to work. Do not, however, underestimate the power of the buddy system here. As with any location, there are groups of people who have come from various locations. Within those groups of people, there are leaders who make choices about where people work. This place is no different, and it shouldn’t be frowned upon. The buddy system has created a strong workforce for Lockheed at this location. Your best bet, if you choose to come here, is to keep your head down if you do not know anyone, get a feel for the environment and people around you, do as little complaining as possible while still getting your problems fixed, and give it 100%.

Another subject is the amount of time that one has worked at this location. It plays a large part in some of the decisions made about you. To me, this is disappointing; however, after you’ve been here for a while, you may better understand it. It’s sort of like going to battle with a group of people who have already been in the battle for a long while. You’ve got to prove yourself to those around you. You’ve got to gain their respect by doing your job well and letting them trust that you have their backs when the stuff hits the fan. It’s as simple as that. I’ve worked with Lockheed for a few years now, and was placed on the flightline, launching and recovering jets when I arrived. I have many years with varying depths of experience on the F-16. It really doesn’t matter. Just accept that you will more than likely be working directly with the locals while launching and recovering jets if you are APG. If you are weapons, you’ll probably enjoy your job very much. Other backshops and specialties seem to like it as well. APG personnel seem to have a more difficult time with this location because it is perhaps more challenging to do their job here.

The supervisors are very likeable, kind men. As with all men, they have their faults. Overall, they are looking out for the best interests of the mission here. They have goals to achieve just like any other supervisor. They make choices based on personal preference and what they have to work with, while also being a leader on the frontline for the company. It is my advice to allow them to get to know you, while not boring them with the bullet statements on your resume. I personally like the people in charge here. Never misunderstand that this is anything other than a difficult place to work. By doing this, you may better understand some of the decisions made by those above you. They are simply doing their jobs the best that they can with people they know (and have probably worked with at other locations). We all have opinions about what our leaders should do. Keep them to yourself. They are your opinions and rarely take into consideration those things which we do not see that are going on behind the scenes. My advice to anyone who makes the choice to come here is to put your blinders on. Look forward and not around you. Do what you have been trained to do and do not worry about the others. If you do this, you may eventually be rewarded with a position that you have longed to be in. If you do not do this, you will certainly become extremely frustrated.

There are, and will be, opportunities in the future here. You must be at the right place, know the right people, and make the right choices to get them just as if you were working for any other company. It is up to you as to how much you like this place. It is up to you as to how long you are here, and how well you do here. If you are a person who excels, who does the right thing when others around you may not, and who accepts this place for what it is, you should have no problem.

We are currently living in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi. There are plans to move people to a different location. I will not give too much information on this because it is not my place to do so, and everyone looks at this site for information…

Housing – 1 or 2 (mostly 2) bedroom, 1 or 2 bath, fully furnished (not my choice of furniture but it does the job) flats. You have the flat to yourself. You do not share it. They are typical Middle Eastern concrete flats with tile floors. There are many places where you can live. It depends on what is open when/if you get here. If you do not like the flat that you are given when you get here, you may move; however, you will be on a list with other people who also want to move. Your seniority will play a part in when you are allowed to move. Electricity is paid. Internet is not. It may take some time once you move to get it set up. Be patient. It will drive you crazy. Internet will cost you anywhere from $50 to $150 per month, depending on your choice of packages.

Rental cars – You are paid an amount for renting a car and for fuel. I’m not sure how much your contract will allow you for this. That’s up to Lockheed. Rental cars cost no less than $500.00 per month. Others may disagree with this; however, I have looked since arriving and have not found anything less. Fuel is somewhat cheap. While driving from Al Ain to work in a small car, you’ll use about $13.00 per day of fuel. It’s best for many to carpool. The plans for new housing would allow us to live closer to work, thereby cutting fuel costs. You can buy a car after you get your residence visa. This will take at least 30 days to get. You cannot leave the country for those 30 days. Keep this in mind. You may also get a loan for a car. I haven’t done this, but some have with success. It’s your choice.

Location – Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Dubai all offer nice parks, expensive malls, places to eat, and things to do. Keep in mind that the UAE likes to keep its money here. I can’t blame them. Just remember, it is costly to do the fun stuff. You can, however, go to the beach cheaply. : )

APO – We do not currently have APO privileges, and I do not believe that we ever will again. Someone messed it up for the group a while back. There are other ways to get your stuff mailed here. We have pouch service to a PO Box, and you can even go through a company to set up a service which delivers packages from the States to your door. It’s expensive, but it seems to be working for some of the guys. Most generally, you can find everything you need here. You can buy clothes, baby things, electronics, food, and much more at every mall. The grocery stores in the malls have many American items. They are reasonably priced. On average, I spend $150 per week. I’m living here alone and do enjoy buying some things which are somewhat expensive to eat.

Spouse and visa – Your spouse can join you, however, it comes out of your pocket. This includes her visa, etc. The visa will cost approx. $500 in total per person. Do not quote me on this. It changes a lot. If your wife is an American citizen, you will need a marriage certificate which is authenticated by the Secretary of State for the state in which you were married and the Secretary of State in the U.S. State Dept., with Hillary Clinton’s signature on it. There are companies which will help you with this. It is costly (around $500 to have them do it) or you can try to do it yourself. My advice…go with the professionals and get it done quickly and GET IT DONE BEFORE YOU LEAVE. They will even send it to the UAE embassy in the States to have it authenticated by them. This has caught a lot of people off guard, and is the cause of much frustration for many who choose to bring their spouses here without being informed first. There are those who get it taken care of it before coming because they were informed. I’m informing you now. If you wait until you get here you will pay for it with time, money, and frustration.

If you spouse is from another country, you must look up the requirements for that country. Some countries (33) are allowed to enter the UAE without getting a visa before coming. There are also countries which require a visa before coming. The requirements do change for visas and I do not wish to send you in the wrong direction. Your best bet is to do your research and gather all of your paperwork before coming. This process is being worked on by some people here with Lockheed, but, it is not at all simple and there is little that they can do except process the paperwork for the visa when it is all completed.

Children are another challenge. If your children are U.S. citizens, you’ll need their birth certificate authenticated as well. If they are not U.S. citizens, get their citizenship before coming if it is possible. What I have outlined here are the basic processes for residence visas. If you can arrive with all of the needed paperwork in hand, you may be able to obtain your spouse/children’s visas with little frustration.

Positive things about the UAE:

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are centrally located for your R&R’s. You can travel to many locations rather cheaply from here. You will undoubtedly enjoy your vacations.
It is said that the country is compiled of 85% ex-pats and 15% Emirates. This makes it a fairly open country to western habits.
With as much money as you will make, you may be able to buy your dream car here. You will surely see one of them driving down the road one day.
Once you find your place at work, you’ll find friends. Friends are important here, for both you and your wife/children.
There are some great places to eat with cuisines from around the globe. You can even buy pork at a pork store in Al Ain. It’s small, but the selection is tasty!
You can save A LOT of money if you are disciplined.
The sun shines nearly every day of the year.
The beaches are beautiful.
The dynamics of our work environment are changing because of the number of new openings just approved. This should create a better work environment for the months and years to come.

I think I've said enough. It's your choice. I hear that they are hiring. : )



Anyone work in Oman.......
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F31CrewDawg

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Unread post08 Sep 2012, 18:09

Grandpa your treatise is precise and concise when it comes to the locale. Are we talking about Lockheed or AMMROC??
Geez laweez APG has it tuff everywhere it seems. What types of specific challenges are germaine to APG there??
Good job love to hear your response. cheers
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grampa

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Unread post08 Sep 2012, 23:13

I think the company is called Dyncorp International with Omani F-16's
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de82

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Unread post09 Sep 2012, 09:12

grampa wrote:I think the company is called Dyncorp International with Omani F-16's


You are correct, that is who has the contract right now in Oman.

You gave a very detailed assessment of most everything that you should expect out of signing on for working in the UAE. Let it be noted though, that if you are signing on with Lockheed that most people will not find the housing area up to their standards of living unless they get on board as a Supervisor. 95% of the work force (Blue Shirts - and my % may not be totally accurate), reside in the area known as Mussaffah (otherwise known to LM as Mohammed Bin Zayed City). If you have ever seen the movie The Kingdom, picture that and that's where you live, no other way to explain it. The apartment buildings they would have you up in are actually adequate and somewhat nice. The area is a different story. You would be surrounded by TCN's of all nationalities, the buildings you live in are not secured, and overall just a non desirable place to live.
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F31CrewDawg

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Unread post09 Sep 2012, 17:43

well thanks de82 u shed lite on a few things. Gramps must have went on qt :D
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madrat

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Unread post10 Sep 2012, 02:15

My first thought of that description was of the movie 'The Kingdom'. Insecure. If you disappear there is no news of it. You may or may not show back up.
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