Just thought I would share with you my Emirates experiences to use or not use as you wish!
I joined EK in January 2012 and was assigned a room in the now non existent Hamad Lootah Building. After one week (when I learned how to log in to our lovely portal) I saw an email from Accommodation stating that I had to move by the end of that week to a vacant apartment in Al Nahda in a new building, or into a vacant room.
Imagine you’ve just unpacked, you’re stressed, at Training College with a bunch of “seniors” speaking to you each day like you are a retarded onion…and you have to move, again!
Whatever, it’s just teething problems.
After two months, I had just started flying and all of a sudden my appendix burst on a flight back from Doha. Luckily my senior there was a caring, professional adult and took me immediately to the clinic on landing which happened to be closed.
There was however one doctor working late who took one look at me and took me straight to hospital where I received emergency (life saving) surgery. She stayed there with me and also contacted management on my behalf.
When I came out of hospital after a week, there was only one more week covered by a sick note. Towards the end of that week, that AWFUL telephone rang in my apartment and it was my manager Hassan el Dimassi. His first question to me was “when do you expect to be back at work?”. Nice.
I had a prolonged recovery which took almost three months. I was petrified I would be fired but I couldn’t work, and I was frightened I wouldn’t be able to do my job properly after three months off. I developed sleeping problems.
Despite Doctor’s notes, I still had to go to Attendance Management meetings where I met Michelle Dmello for the first time. An awful woman who doesn’t care about people in the slightest. I had to have a disciplinary hearing with my new manager, AM, and HR immediately after a TRV turnaround. Thankfully my Doctor insisted on being present and she spoke on my behalf as I spent most of the meeting in tears.
During the time I had been off, I used up the statutory sick pay. After this, you stop receiving your basic salary. One month, my payslip read -500 AED. I owed EK money for being unable to work. My stress and anxiety levels increased.
Two months later, although back flying, my sleeping was terrible and all the initial signs of depression began to show. Things finally came to a head when my ex committed suicide back in my home country. I spiralled into a severe depression and could barely get out of bed. I lost a lot of weight and weighed only 46kg. I could hardly make a cup of tea, let alone serve 310 pax in economy on a day flight to Glasgow. I was signed off sick from work again, but this only increased my problems as I had these sick days deducted from my salary again.
I went to EAP and saw their head of Psychology, a local lady who was terrible at her job. Hard enough to talk about anyway, she said of my ex’s suicide “We treat people with much worse problems than you dear, inshallah your sleeping will be fine.” A great, supportive response to just another staff number who can’t sleep.
Eventually I saw another psychologist in EK, without who I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. She was nothing short of amazing. Emirates DO have the staff who genuinely care about others, but they are few and far between.
I returned to work but never managed my sleeping problems and still went to work with that awful anxiety and suffered panic attacks at least once a week. I won’t go into detail with all the Image & Uniform stuff and all the ridiculous other things you have to deal with at work with seniors and management but I never fully enjoyed my time at Emirates after this.
I met Michelle Dmello once more after I developed food poisoning in Brisbane and had to stay downroute. I had called sick too many times over the year; reasons for which she had in front of her. So, I began with the obvious which is “how do I come to work when I am so weak I can barely get myself to a bathroom every five minutes?”
She told me that FOOD POISONING IS AVOIDABLE.
Well you heard it here first. That thing that people just love to get on purpose and spend three days in agony on a drip in a hospital is avoidable. She’s a joke. When I said something to this effect in the “meeting”, she told me I had an attitude problem and needed to be careful what I said. Fear/reporting/blahblah.
You and so many others are right when you say that this fear and reporting culture results in an unhappy, unhealthy workforce. I have now moved to another airline where sadly a lot of the “office culture” remains the same but the conditions of my contract far outweigh those of Emirates and overall I am much happier….and I can sleep like a normal human being again!“