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Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Old May 29th 2015, 9:17 pm
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Default Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Hi all,

Just wanted your input on the following offers:

- Doha

Work in a governmental organization in Strategy with an all-in salary of 50,000 QAR, plus as extra medical, housing, flights etc and 45 calendar days off. Contract annual but renewable. Odd I know, but I was told it was the only way to bypass the set grade structure and get this money. They sounded sincere, they paid for a face-to-face interview flying me from Europe, they will provide for the first 2 months accommodation at a hotel until i settle and generally they sounded as if they really want me (particularly my boss who is very-very senior within the company) - but then again i cant be sure and I don't want to sound (or be) naïve.

- Dhahran

Work in a governmental organization in Planning (less exciting job and boss vs. Doha), with an all-in (equivalent) salary of 70,000 QAR, plus as extra medical, housing, flights etc and 39 calendar days off. The company is very big and it'd look good on resume (for whatever that is worth).

Basically the question is if the 40% premium is enough to justify the move to Saudi vs. Doha, and if yes what is the cut-off level in your opinion i.e. would you say the same if the differential was 20% or 30%?

I've been to Doha once, and I must say that I was positively impressed (I guess I had low expectations). I've never been to KSA, but all information points to the fact that it's not the place to live.

However as the $ differential is substantial, I'd love to hear what people think. My concern is that even if KSA pays more, I could handle living there for less time than I could handle it in Doha (e.g. 2 years in KSA vs. 3 in Doha) so the money may in the end not be so much different, not to mention that KSA cant be IMHO a good place to live (I'm single btw).

Any input, however brief is very much appreciated, so please let me know what you think!

Last edited by omega7; May 29th 2015 at 10:22 pm.
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Old May 30th 2015, 8:46 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Depends mainly on your objectives, which are, I guess, centred on your future job prospects and savings potential.

I've nominally set my live-and-work-in-Saudi-threshold salary very high, with a £50k pa reduction if it was in an all-singing all-dancing compound. Even then I'd think twice, both times long and hard. If the difference in cash is important to you, then you may want to view Dhahran as where you spend 5 nights a week (assuming you'll be working 5 days a week), and then bugger off somewhere less awful for the weekends (Bahrain or UAE in particular). I honestly couldn't contemplate "living" full-time in Saudi unless it was in a fully-westernised compound.
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Old May 30th 2015, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Thank you very much for your reply Bahtaboy.

Well in the case of the Saudi offer, the budget does afford me a western compound, otherwise I wouldn't even entertain the idea of renting (on my own) just a flat in Dhahran. But even living within a compound doesn't sound too appealing (with mainly families living there and me just coming alone and single).

On the one hand, the 40% differential comes down to the non-negligible amount of $65,000 p.a. which is serious money, and that's without even accounting for the savings that a life in Saudi entails compared to one in Doha. On the other hand though, I'm beginning to think that to compensate the Saudi life I'd need to increase dramatically my trips to Dubai to retain my sanity, so the actual $ differential may come in the end to a lesser amount. Regarding the prospects I could alter sell both jobs, but making money now is the key objective.

Had you ever had to choose between such two offers, or is it something that you have just thought about?

My friends in Dubai have all argued against Saudi, but when they realize the money involved I can tell they all do have second thoughts.

Anyone else who may want to help me decide?

Last edited by omega7; May 30th 2015 at 7:07 pm.
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Old May 31st 2015, 6:43 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

It is difficult to choose really. I have been living in Doha for over a year now but not lived in KSA. I have been many times to KSA for short visits (~ a month each) and know many people working there so have an idea of what sort of life to expect in KSA. To say the least, nothing is like living in KSA and I would think a thousand time before taking a job there. It is medieval age! In your case, being single is a big plus. You also need to consider living cost difference between KSA and Doha. Food prices in KSA from what I see (the last time I was in KSA was last Feb) is around half of it in Doha. Again as you are alone this saving on food will be marginal.
In the end it depends on what you want. If you are looking for saving then go to Dahran otherwise take the Doha offer. You did not mention the contract length in KSA?
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Old May 31st 2015, 7:03 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

To cope being a mercenary, you have to accept one of two options: monk or meat-head.

i.e. you have to (1) devote yourself to your work/religion, or (2) spend your time in the gym.

If you can't face these options, then the money isn't going to help you.

I always said I could cope in Saudi, but having been a lot recently, I've decided that the absolute lack of females would make it a deal breaker.
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Old May 31st 2015, 8:40 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

@EastWest

I'm indeed focused at saving as much as possible (as I guess pretty much everyone else taking a job in the ME), but retaining my sanity is also key for both staying healthy and also not packing my bags anytime soon and going back without having really saved much. For example I am afraid that if KSA is too bad then even if they pay more, it wouldn't help me much if I manage only to stay there a year vs. Doha where I think one can stay longer.

One question though: why do you think that being a single is a plus for taking a job in KSA? I mean as a single there I wouldn't even have my family to support me, my wife to be with me etc So to be honest I see it as a negative and not a plus. But I may be missing something.

Contract for KSA is indefinite, whereas for Doha is annual (but 'renewable'). From the explanations I got from Doha, I am not particularly worried about the duration, as this is the way they suggested in order to by-pass the inflexible grading structure and offer me this money.

@Millhouse

I cant see myself being in the gym every day, and I'm a Christian so really cant see how KSA can work out. Thanks for your straightforward input.

Any other advice from anyone?

Last edited by omega7; May 31st 2015 at 9:08 am.
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Old May 31st 2015, 8:43 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post
I always said I could cope in Saudi, but having been a lot recently, I've decided that the absolute lack of females would make it a deal breaker.
There were plenty of females available when I lived in Saudi. You just had to be very careful. Alcohol consumption likewise.
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Old May 31st 2015, 8:49 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by mentalist View Post
There were plenty of females available when I lived in Saudi. You just had to be very careful. Alcohol consumption likewise.
I don't mean dating them. I mean just generally seeing them around. I find going to a restaurant or hotel and not seeing a single female just difficult. I'm not some kind of horny sex-pest, its just the lack of integration that bothers me when I'm there for a few days - then again, I respect that living there may well be very different.
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Old May 31st 2015, 8:54 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Actually, you are not limited to Monk. The exact options now that I remember them are:

Monk - devote yourself to work
Skunk - give up all sense of personal hygiene
Hunk - live in the gym
Chunk - eat junk food and do nothing like the locals
Drunk - homebrew
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Old May 31st 2015, 8:56 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by omega7 View Post
I'm a Christian so really cant see how KSA can work out
As a Christian you worship the exact same God as Muslims (and Jews). And you should also follow pretty much the same dietary laws (I guess you know that the Bible says Christians shouldn't eat pork etc). Muslims also believe in Jesus, but as a prophet, not as the son of God.
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Old May 31st 2015, 9:08 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by Bungdit Din View Post
As a Christian you worship the exact same God as Muslims (and Jews). And you should also follow pretty much the same dietary laws (I guess you know that the Bible says Christians shouldn't eat pork etc). Muslims also believe in Jesus, but as a prophet, not as the son of God.
Here we ****ing go.
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Old May 31st 2015, 9:08 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

For in & out trips i can cope quite easily simply because i know i'm leaving at a specific time . It's basically eat / work / gym / sleep and repeat . To go full time would take some getting your head round . I'd want generous leave entitlement and bang on digs , both of which are not easy to get or negotiate . Plus i'd only do it on single status .

Make no doubt about it Saudi is a plutonium grade shit hole and long term living there will suck the life out of you eventually . So if you're going to do it then it must be for a large premium .
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Old May 31st 2015, 10:05 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by omega7 View Post
@EastWest


One question though: why do you think that being a single is a plus for taking a job in KSA? I mean as a single there I wouldn't even have my family to support me, my wife to be with me etc So to be honest I see it as a negative and not a plus. But I may be missing something.
Being with a wife and probably children is not a good thing in KSA. Unless your Mrs is working, she had to stay all the time at home reading or watching TV/gym etc, and if wants to go out she needs a taxi. And there is no where to go. Only malls and malls and that's it.
As for dress code, KSA is very conservative. Although I have seen very few westerner women without head cover/scarf/abaya in KSA, but it is very rare and looks odd as it will attract all males eyes. BTW in KSA and also to some extend here in Doha the way men stare at females I have never seen anywhere in the world!! It looks as they never seen a female in their life.

On the other hand, having kids means you need to find them good schools, and arrange for transport etc. This is a big headache. This is why I think being alone is a big plus.
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Old May 31st 2015, 10:44 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

I laughed.

Wrong.

It's not really the same god. The interpretation of who the god is VERY different. Wholly different. Not the same being at all.

Christianity is based on the NT, not the OT. The OT is where it says no pork. In the NT Jesus says it is not what we put in our mouths that makes people unclean (what we eat) but what comes out our mouths (our words) that make us unfit. Book of Matthew, I think.

Biblical history lesson courtesy of a content atheist.

Originally Posted by Bungdit Din View Post
As a Christian you worship the exact same God as Muslims (and Jews). And you should also follow pretty much the same dietary laws (I guess you know that the Bible says Christians shouldn't eat pork etc). Muslims also believe in Jesus, but as a prophet, not as the son of God.
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Old May 31st 2015, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by DXBtoDOH View Post
It's not really the same god. The interpretation of who the god is VERY different. Wholly different. Not the same being at all
If you say so.

Christianity is based on the NT, not the OT
And yet Christians are happy to pick and choose what they want to believe from both the OT and NT. If they completely disregarded the OT I wouldn't mind so much.
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