Beyond your salary. A story from Egypt

ได้เรื่องนี้มาจากฟอร์เวิร์ดเมล์ภายในบริษัท อ่านแล้วประทับใจมาก เห็นด้วยกับคนเขียน เพราะเราเองก็เคยได้ร่วมรับรู้ถึงความห่วงใยของบริษัทที่มีต่อพนักงานในยามวิกฤต ทั้งในช่วงหลังเกิดสึนามิ และช่วงที่พธม.ยึดสนามบินสุวรรณภูมิ

 

Beyond Your Salary, 6 February 2011

 

What managing the Egypt crisis teaches us about our company, our colleagues and our friends?

Is it all salary or is there something deeper in your working relationship with the company you work for?

What price for your comfort?

What price for your peace of mind?

 

They say true friendship is best known and tested during crisis. This is when you know who is and is not truly with you and behind you and will support you.

 

This was my second “revolution”, the first one happened on 2nd Feb. 1979 when I was in Iran and was on my way to US to go to university when the airport was jammed with travelers, around 50 times more travelers than there were planes to take them out. My second “revolution” 32 years later was on 30th of Jan. 2011, when Cairo airport was jammed with travelers, but this time I was not alone and we had to move together as a team and fast!

 

While at the airport, we met many people from all sorts of businesses and embassies who were in the same situation as we were. Many with kids and some were actually classmate of my 6 year old son, so they sat on airport floor and played games with no care as to what was going on around them.

 

Flights were being cancelled left and right and people were getting near panic mode as they thought no one was there to take them to “safety”. The airport was out of food and water immediately since there was no supply coming in to feed the masses and those who had camped there all night. While many parents had only one ticket to take them out, I got into motion and started using my 3 mobile phones and my 3 global travel agencies P&G has put on my path!  What price for peace of mind?

 

I called the local plant manager the day before, Paul who immediately approved all that I needed in terms of resources and travel, “take care of your family first, do what is best for you, I approve”, he said, thank you Paul! UK NIC (NTC) HR took my call as well and told me to go with the first flight I could and P&G “will take care of everything”, thank you Simon! Paul put me in touch with Global Security, one from Dubai and one who was managing me from Johannesburg and giving me tips, thank you Mark and Selvan! My 3 travel agencies, one from US, one from UK and one from a dear colleague who put her secretary to work full time on my case on her Sunday, thank you Lisa and Joyce! Never mind that some did not have a profile for me as an expat and did not even know that I was an employee, but they were willing to help once they contacted US HR! What price for peace of mind?

 

With all this help, I was able to secure 5 sets of tickets and had 5 times better chance of getting my family out vs most people who were still frantically trying to reach someone in their company. How are you going from one waiting line to another they asked me, how many tickets do you have? P&G is helping me out I said! What price for comfort?

 

With the first 4 flights cancelled, we were able to get on the 5th one with Singapore airline to Dubai. I think it was the first or second commercial flight out that day. The travel team in UK had told me about this flight but needed me to buy the ticket myself as they could not book it on line. Here comes my P&G corporate credit card and the airline took it without hesitation after confirming that I wanted to buy it cash.

 

There was no food or water and it is now 5 hours in the airport! After passing the passport gate, we could buy water, some food and juices from duty free for our friends caught on the other side and pass it on to them from a small opening near the passport gate with immigration officer approval. Our friends and especially their young kids were grateful! What price for little comfort?

 

What made all of this possible for us and not for 1000’s of others who were stranded? The only difference between me and many others who were at the airport was P&G and the system we have (although not perfect) that allowed me to have the peace of mind, the fast and no frills authority each and every function gave me to do what is best for me and my family, to be able to buy 5 sets of tickets with no questions asked and no red tape, to be able to fly out and know I will be taken care of.

 

I landed in Dubai on Sunday and went to the local GO on Monday, had a desk, a phone and internet, ready to work and join the Cairo crisis team to protect the business, shift volume, and execute our BCP (Business Continuity Plan), thank you Khalil and Marvi! With my family safe and sound in the hotel, I could focus on work as much as possible. I contacted local HR in Dubai and told them about my situation, no cash, no access to my bank account in Egypt and my credit card fast reaching its limit. They told me “not to worry about anything, we will take care of you, just tell us what you need”, thank you Francis and Ahmed! I talked to friends from other companies, some of who landed in Dubai. I heard about the arguments they were having with their managers and their company HR on what would and would not be covered, what they could buy and not buy, where they could stay and not stay, etc. etc. Some were fed up with their support team and all I could share with them were my stories and unanimously they were agreeing how well P&G has cared for us. What price for a peace of mind?

 

Why am I telling my story? I want you to know better the company you are working for; I want you to look beyond the immediate situation you are in, I want you to think BEYOND YOUR SALARY, beyond your health insurance, beyond your life insurance but also look into your living insurance and your happiness insurance!

 

Life and work is not all about what you get paid, it is also about how you are cared for and how you can have the peace of mind and be comforted knowing when needed, your company, colleague and friends will come to help you. You will realize and understand that “true friendship is best known and tested during crisis”. I went through my crisis and saw how important it was to me and my family.

 

So, thank you P&G, thank you my dear friends, colleagues and professional contract support functions, thank you for all the calls and well wishes, thank you for the quick approvals on your Friday, Saturday and Sunday! My family and I appreciate it.

 

All I can hope for now is for the crisis to be over soon and for us to get back to the wonderful country of Egypt, to help build the country, build the business and help the people and touch their lives and improved their life. Egypt deserves the best, and P&G can offer the best and we will give it to them.

 

Thank you all,

On behalf of the Madadi family

 

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