Friday, July 3, 2009

Advice for an Omani Student overseas

Here are some words of advice for you youngsters at University, or just about to start employment. Take it or leave it. I encourage other readers to add their 2 cents worth.

Before you think about returning to Oman, try to get a job in the real world and earn your bones against international competition. Try to work for someone better than you and learn all you can.

Try to do something you love and can also get paid for. Passion for what you do should always come before money.

Demand a fair wage, but make sure you create way more value to the business than you earn.

Take your leave/vacation time. But don’t take a sick day unless you are dead or have a broken limb.

Hire people who are keen, talented and sharp. Don’t hire just based on what pieces of paper they have.

Be very clear about what your expectations are from your staff: what needs to be delivered, by when, and to what standard. Most people just want to be told what to do. So tell them early and explicitly.

Only trust your employees when they have shown willingness for selfless sacrifice.

Forgive 1st errors, concentrate on not making the same mistake twice. Call people on their mistakes, but only do it one to one. Then be merciless.

Admit when you were wrong.

Praise people. Be kind.

Watch your back and don’t take any shit.

Never lie. Ever. (But you can be economical with the truth.)

Have a firm handshake and look people in the eye.

Be punctual. Never be late.

The best off the cuff presentations are well prepared.

Judge your staff (and yourself) by quantified results, not by the hours they do, the efforts they make, or the strength of their good intentions. Who gives a shit about how hard you try if it ends in failure. Not your customers. And not me either.

You can always do something better, faster or cheaper: but only pick two.

Don’t tell people to do a job you couldn’t do. No task should be below you. Lead by example.

Try to make your boss look good to their boss.

Pay your taxes: it’s the price you pay for civilization.

Pay your suppliers on time.

Apply the highest standards to your personal and business dealings. Act like you could always be audited. One day, you will be. Don’t steal. Be sensible with gifts you accept.

Treat all email correspondence as potentially public domain.

Treat all microphones as if they are live.

You don’t have to answer a question just because its been asked by a reporter. You can always say: The real question is this: then state whatever question you’d rather answer, and answer that.

Always take full responsibility for things when they go wrong – never blame a subordinate or a colleague.

Listen to well intentioned advice, and take what you want.


  1. Good advice but only good if they are allowed to practice it!

    Post this on the notice board at close to the road safety section as they will let you!!!!

  2. ... and then we all live happily ever after. Good advice.

  3. "Hire people who are keen, talented and sharp. Don’t hire just based on what pieces of paper they have." or on how closely they are related to you, or on that they are in the same tribe as you. Abd

  4. Good advice. I would add this - if your boss or coworkers spend more time and energy trying to look busy than actually getting business done correctly, guess who's gonna be in the frame when the blame starts ?

  5. Abd,
    Yes, tribes and relatives too!

    I like the Baz Lurman reference... I thought the same thing as I wrote it!

  6. Money is a good servant but a bad master!


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