How many staff do you have?
There was a story in Gulf News today about how the UAE’s domestic workers are to get more protection from exploitative employers. Great news, blah blah, but, while it was an interesting story, there were two things I took away from it.
First was the fact that domestic workers outnumber family members in 22 per cent of Emirati families – that’s a lot of staff. How does that work, I wondered? Housemaid, cook, driver… assistant housemaid, emergency driver, Chinese cook, omelette chef, saloon-car driver, helicopter pilot, racehorse trainer?
Then I got to the second thing of interest in the story: The categories of domestic worker. And it all fell into place.
The categories covered for households are: Housemaid, Imam, private sailor (I kid you not), watchman, security guard, household shepherd (yes, shepherd), family chauffeur, household horse-groomer, household falcon-carer and trainer, domestic labourer, housekeeper, private coach, private teacher, babysitter, household farmer, private nurse, private PRO and private agricultural engineer (that’s a gardener to you and me).
The one thing that was missing, though, is the one member of staff I increasingly feel that I need. And that’s a techno butler; someone who can sort out a website for me, jazz up the blog, sort out the fact that my printer doesn’t recognise Windows 8, fix me up on Skype and help me synch my iPad with the right computer without deleting all that’s on it.
Gerlie’s great and everything, but, really, unless these domestic agencies start offering technology training, I think the days of the lone housemaid slaving away with a mop are seriously numbered.