My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: XV. Work Attitudes
Within several months it became evident that the differences between us were too large to bridge and that we would not be able to manage the business effectively together. Although I could appreciate his investment in people, I found it hard to accept working without a budget, written plans, set opening times, and safety measures, to name a few. The garage was in constant flux and it was too much uncertainty for me. Bashar would make major decisions, like hiring and firing people or major expenses, without consulting with me or even informing me (or anyone else). I experienced these surprises as disturbing. Since then I stopped my active involvement, but continue to visit regularly. I did not withdraw my financial investment, but only my expectation to make money out of it. One more thing that remained some time from the period in which I was actively involved was the registration of the cars and the income; on a paper notebook, despite the fact that they have a fully equipped computer.
Work and Leisure
Cultures have different perspectives vis-à-vis the work/leisure division (Manrai & Manrai, 1995). In the West, for most men waking hours are divided in a rather rigid way between work – or studies – and leisure time. (One may consider time for volunteering – which I do quite often – as a separate category, or include it in either category.) In the Netherlands, most people work according to fixed working hours and finish their job at a fixed time. The notion is that at work one works, and during leisure time one does not work. At least in my upbringing this division was strict. For instance, I recall my father’s reaction when I called him once from my office in order to get from him some information. He said: “Are you not at work?”, implying that it is inappropriate to call him when I am supposed to work. Israelis tend to be more flexible in this respect. Many Israelis will make private phone calls or errands during working hours. In the Arab world there is no clear differentiation between work and leisure time (Samovar et al., 2009).