Over the years we’ve heard of people being asked to leave KAUST (to put it nicely) because of various reasons. Some stories are hilarious and juicy, others unbelievably stupid. But that’s something you learn when you arrive as it’s not openly talked about.
Obviously if you do something illegal you will be deported (I’ve heard of people getting 24 hours notice or even less). Usually if you are fired you will get 2 weeks notice and for some people that’s enough time but for others, it’s devastating especially if it happens over the holiday period (my friends were not able to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s because they were so busy packing and getting ready for their final exit). Working at KAUST/Saudi Arabia is very different from working elsewhere because once you are fired, your spouse basically loses his/her job as well since his/her visa is tied to yours. You have a very short time to basically sell all your stuff and it’s harder if you have an expensive car. Your kids will have to be pulled out of school. You have to plan your next move immediately. You need to close your bank account and file all necessary documents. All in 2 weeks. Seeing close friends go on such short notice made me realize just how precarious our situation is here.
Some tips for working here:
- Don’t piss people off. Especially your superiors.
- Don’t buy too much furniture. KAUST provides a fully-furnished home so it’s not necessary to buy an extra couch or an extra bed, for example.
- Respect Saudi customs.
- If you are in doubt about doing something, err on the side of caution.