In her latest column for the Expat Telegraph, Doha News editor-at-large Victoria Scott focuses on the life skills needed to settle comfortably into Qatar.
Figuring out to plan (way) in advance, network with new people and pack/unpack with swiftitude are among the more obvious ones.
But another critical skill expats need is a sense of good humor, said Scott, who has lived here for five years.
“Life is so much easier if you stop swimming against the tide,” she argues, meaning that while one cannot control the pace of bureaucracy here, or the heavy traffic or many other things, residents can at least temper their expectations and adjust their own reaction to such challenges.
“It really is worth remembering to smile. One of the aspects of Qatari society I admire most is their friendliness and hospitality, and this is just as true over the counter at a government office as it is in a majlis. If you’re desperate to get your paperwork done, you are much more likely to get a positive response if you’re warm and friendly, rather than walking up to the desk with conflict in your eyes.
The fluid nature of bureaucratic processes in Qatar has two sides. Whilst you may be caught out by changes, and infuriated by your many pointless journeys around town, you may also be able to take advantage of the pliability of the rules. This isn’t the UK, where “computer says no” – this is Qatar, where a smiling manager drinks tea with you, and might bend the rules if he feels you’re genuine and return his warmth.”
Other tips to decrease stress while living in Doha include managing expectations – “never expect to achieve anything on the first attempt” – and always keeping a file of important documents on hand.
“There’s nothing like being asked to produce your grandmother’s birth certificate and actually being able to bring it out with a flourish and a victorious smile,” Scott jokes.
How do you cope with stress in Qatar? Thoughts?