Doing HR in Afghanistan

August 30, 2014

HR in AFG290“Hi Sir, staff arrived safely at the RV”. So read the text that arrived late into the night, long after the neighbours kids have been put to bed (that has become my clock). And with that text a sense of relief. There is an HR dimension to Afghanistan I never really appreciated until I came here. It’s one thing to make assessments about your own situation, deciding to shop or not shop, to go to this area or not go to this area. But the responsibility taken for other people is another weight again, and not a dynamic I ever had to contend with in Australia. As a CEO in Sydney, how many HR decisions were weighed against the possibility of staff being killed? None that I can think of, unless I consider the regular booze ups when something accidental might happen. At best all you do in that case is make sure you plan events away from the office premises. See, what you are really thinking about is public liability, adverse media and insurance claims. Your decision to have a Melbourne Cup lunch weighs those things, not the possibility of any fatal action. Read more

Mind Your Head (And Your Prostate)

August 21, 2014

meat 290A journalist by the name of Foley was beheaded, the news of which swamped the fact that a foreigner was similarly treated on the main road to the airport in Kabul today. An event that has suddenly put everyone on their toes. But I had an appointment to have an ultrasound done. So off down town we went, caught in traffic and mindful that anyone out there just might be interested in targeting a foreigner. Especially a wandering one. For while we had an address, it was not such an obvious place to find. As with so many markets and shopping centres in the Middle East shopping enclaves are built around a specific product. If you want to buy water pumps there will be 24 shops in a particular stretch of road that sell water pumps. Nearby will be shops selling pipes, then shops selling valves. If you want second hand Seiko watches that last ticked in 1974 there are 17 shops at a particular square the owners of which will be happy to look after you. Read more

Kabul Summer Evening Rooftop

August 16, 2014

sunset290The sun has finally dropped across the distant ridge in the west and suffused that part of the country in a peach wash that the camera fails to capture adequately so I have stopped trying. It’s a witching hour. Kites wobble high in the sky, some so startlingly elevated that I wait to see if a low flying aircraft is going to sever its connection. Less stable airfoils bob and dip, are pulled high, but then sideslip their objection and fall towards the ground in a stammering dive before being encouraged aloft again by unseen hands. They dance their various dances against the hills that are lovely in their soft pastel duns and blues. No hill or range is the same shade and as the temperature slips back towards thirty, layers of grey and tan, blue and purple softly and quietly march back towards a smudgy horizon. A grey blue haze over the city, that laces the horizon to the south, is capped by a peach dome directly above me that is being dragged too swiftly to the horizon, like a billowing cape towed by the sun. Read more