Morocco is the only widely Muslim country I’ve lived. This week marks the first week of the Holy month of Ramadan here and I am consistently astounded at the transformation that took place once the Ramadan season began. Ramadan is the Holy Month of the Islamic calendar and a month when Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset. Fasting means total abstinence from water, food and cigarettes. This means, no more delicious office lunch and I have to wait until next month. Women would spend hours of cooking, sometimes the entire afternoon in preparation for the ftoor meal around 8pm to “break” the fast. As early as 3pm, I can smell around four or five various dishes in the apartments nearby. Any Muslim that is caught eating or breaking the fast in public is subject to arrest, although I’ve heard rumors that it is not unheard of in the privacy of one’s home. I’m more accustomed to having my meals in the day and eat nothing in the evening. My colleagues would constantly remind me that I’m not required to fast. However, being in their country, I figured it’s out of respect for the community and to try to get a sense of Ramadan from a closer perspective. Moreover, I discovered it isn’t that hard to get up a little earlier to eat breakfast before daybreak, skip lunch, and sit down to a somewhat larger-than-normal dinner.
During Ramadan, all schedules from most business establishments, offices and personal schedules change. Normal business hours in GSK are from 8am to 5:30pm. During Ramadan, office hours are shortened from 9am to 3:30pm. Most gyms and other businesses now don’t open until noon. 90% of restaurants and cafés stay closed all day, opening only once the sound which signals the end of the fasting is played throughout the city. Majority of the good restaurants, particularly those that cater to visitors and foreigners, are closed for the entire month. The customer base for these restaurants is mostly limited as Moroccans prefer to generally have their ftoor at home.
I’ve been assigned to do several interesting projects these past few weeks. I was assigned to update the employees Job code in GSK Morocco using a Universal Coding System. I found this part of the remuneration survey interesting as it allowed me to assist GSK North Africa HR to learn how to exclusively relate each position to its specific code. It allowed me to assist my mentor in organizing the employee’s data according to its responsibilities and position before taking the survey. It is a good indicator for business managers in solving workforce remuneration concerns to address and benchmark remuneration issues. I definitely improved my analysis and organization skills. This task has helped me learn and discover more about the Compensation and Benefits aspect of Human Resources.
Another project I’m spearheading that I started this week that will run for the next 2 months is the E-Recruitment implementation for GSK North Africa. I definitely consider this as my biggest project for this internship as it is one of the crucial projects for the future of the processes that is being implemented in the HR department. Basically, the objective of this project is to automate the recruitment process here in Morocco, and integrate it with the current manual system that involves job fairs and recruitment agency. I’m thrilled to be doing this project as I was given the opportunity to be in charge of the project from scratch and currently directly communicate and negotiate the planning stages with the third party company. It gave me an immense sense of responsibility and empowerment. As I said in my interview with GSK before, I love taking up new challenges and I’m definitely getting what I asked for. Right now, I’m looking forward to more tasks and continue to provide my passion in succeeding to every project they give me.