My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: XV. Work Attitudes

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).


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About the Author

Daniel WeishutDaniel J.N. Weishut, born in the Netherlands but living in Jerusalem, is a professional with a diverse background. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and an MBA in Integrative Business Administration, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a PsyD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology (Sacramento). He has about thirty years of experience in consultation and therapy with a wide variety of clients and issues, more than twenty years of practice in group facilitation, and over fifteen years of know-how in governance and management in various organizations. Daniel Weishut offers his services as a "Partner on the Way", while taking a world-view that people are diverse but equal. He works with a variety of clients, but his special interest is in work with those who have found themselves persecuted or otherwise in conflict with their social environment, because of their culture, identity or belief system. For example: migrants, expats, refugees, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, pacifists, and individuals from religious, cultural or sexual minorities. Daniel Weishut is a social activist and in this capacity he volunteers as Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy, as Member of the Membership Appeals Committee of Amnesty International and as forensic expert for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. He also is involved in raising awareness about the situation of Bedouins around Jerusalem; awareness which led among others to the writing of his dissertation "My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship".

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