Yesterday, I had a conversation with the relocation manager (from one of our contractors), finally they noticed that I will bring my family here in Saudi Arabia. I informed them that I was told I will transfer on Wednesday (01 April) to the new family accommodation, and that my family will arrive on Sunday (05 April).
The manager was quick to offer handling my transfer from Sultan 2 to Al-Khair Compound as well as meeting with my wife and 2 kids at the airport. Including explaining to me that I am entitled to 800 kilos of shipment (combination of air and sea cargo) from Manila to Jeddah as part of the relocation entitlement for personal effects. I told him as of now I cannot think of anything to bring with us here in Saudi Arabia. Very unlikely for furniture nor appliances as our accommodations are all fully furnished. Nonetheless, I sincerely appreciated their assistance being offered to me. The manager asked me to send him an email regarding my move and flight details of my family for them to officially act.
Therefore early morning today, I composed the email and sent to the relocation manager. An hour later he replied to my email assigning three different consultants to assist me and my family. One for transferring my personal stuffs from my current accommodation to the new accommodation. Second to assist on matters relating to my new accommodation. Third for the meet-and-greet at the airport. I am pleased how professional they are for this relocation process.
Several hours later the enthusiasm vanished and turned to frustration. He approached me and told me that according to the division head (from my company and from my own department) declared that I am not entitled for such services, and I need to pay them for these services (e.g. cost of transport of transferring my stuffs to new accommodation, cost of transport to and from the airport). Upset, I simply shrugged my shoulder and told him, in such a case I don’t need their services, I will do everything myself. Perhaps the manager caught off-guard with my response, tried to appease me with some explanations on such a decision. Still upset, I contested his explanations countering it are mere excuses. A gentleman and soft-spoken that he is, he apologized and still offered their assistance to me even on personal basis. I also apologized to him and ensured him that I have nothing against him but simply frustrated with the 360-degree turn of decision. We ended our conversation affirming I can handle everything myself.
Less than half an hour later, the manager approached me again. Apparently with his sincere desire to assist me, he approached again the division head handling the relocation, but was fed with wrong information. He was told that the company had relocated me the first time when I transferred from Sultan 1 to Sultan 2, to which I claim it is false. There is no assistance provided on this transfer, and besides there is no need anyway as the aforesaid transfer is only a walking distance of about 150 meters. Again, he reasoned that if they will provide me relocation now, they will forfeit my privilege for Manila-Jeddah personal effects shipment. I asked him if he can put this statement in writing. He responded he cannot. Thereafter, he mentioned that there are gray areas in the contract and company policies for this matter. I simply told him that if the intent is to assist me there are always ways, if not – there are always excuses. I reiterated that I have nothing against him, I am simply frustrated.
Then he informed me that the other division head (handling transport) has agreed to provide a vehicle for us to meet my family at the airport at no cost to me. I do really appreciated his gesture and thanked him.
The irony of which is that the cost for transporting my personal stuffs from current accommodation to the new accommodation could only be 30 Riyals (8 US$), and the cost of transport to and from the airport is only about 80 Riyals (22 US$). A very insignificant amount compared to the multi-million-dollar contracts we are entering with our service providers (I know how much our department is paying our service providers as I have a copy of all the contracts as part of my job).
Meantime, with my previous stay in Jeddah (1999-2006), I gained friends with vehicles (including those who own a Toyota pick-up) that I can ask assistance to conveniently transport my stuffs. Even if I will insist to pay them, they will not accept this $8 for friendship sake. Furthermore, what they didn’t know is that I worked at the airport for seven years (the same airport we will perform the meet-and-greet) and I still have friends there. I can even ask someone from there to assist my family even starting from inside the airplane – but of course it is not necessary.
Oh well, another day, another frustration. Yet always an optimist that things will be better soon.