Working in higher education in the US I became used to tight budgets and doing more with less. In my last job I started the year with no budget and begged, borrowed, and hoped for funding for various projects (the necessities got covered – but no frills). In my new role I am consciously aware of the fact that the budget was cut by 30%; however, I am still amazed that there is funding for wonderful projects. Each of my initiatives has a budget! (This is amazing to me) In addition, my CDAs have clear budget guidelines, and while they think it is a tight budget, it is comparable, if not higher than most RA budgets in the US (depending on the school).
Today I was reminded in a very tangible way that budgeting is much different in Qatar. While budgets have been cut to reflect the state of the economy, we were still given a Ramadan gift from the foundation. Every single QF employee received an ipod shuffle. I love my job! I have never owned an ipod, and I was just about to buy one. While part of me thinks of the budget items that were cut and what they could have saved by not purchasing these awesome gifts for about 5000 employees, the other part of me just wants to say “thank you” and run before they can change their mind. The good news is the ipod is engraved with Ramadan 2009 and the QF logo – so they cannot return them. They were also kind enough to have some stuff already uploaded for us. First there is an introduction to the meaning of Ramadan (I am hoping in English, because I want to listen to it). Next the entirety of the Quran is included in both English and Arabic.
The next time I see you I would be happy to show you my exciting gift.