Afghanistan Diary
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
  Work
I haven’t been so little stressed about work in recent memory. In the past, one of the difficult things about work was to manage to work on several concurrent projects while simultaneously providing support to end-users, attending meetings and “managing” others people. Here I have the luxury to more or less concentrate on one project at a time and I am not too pressured for deadlines either (truth be told, most people don’t have a clue as to what it takes to develop a software so they go with whatever I tell them). Whenever somebody does come to me with an urgent problem to fix, he is usually so apologetic about disturbing me that it is almost embarrassing. And I should add that my boss is happy with my work as well. The challenge will be to remain motivated. So far, the job still has enough novelty to keep me interested but it is pretty easy and I can foresee getting frankly bored in the future. I have been lobbying for a major system upgrade that might make work more challenging for me.

My boss expects that I will leave them with a working system that manages itself, and I had to break it to her that this is not the way things go in IT. Qualified staff will be needed to administer and maintain the product of my labor. My job description include the word “capacity building”, however, management has been quite elusive as to what this means. Our stated long term objective is to “afghanise” the workforce (i.e. to get Afghans to replace international staff) but DACAAR is also reluctant to provide much training because once the IT staff is trained, they take a better paying job and bye bye. You could argue that even if they do leave, training qualified staff is a service provided to the country anyway, but in the meantime our organization get screwed. Another problem is the lack of high level technical training offered in Afghanistan (some of our staff take distance education courses from Pakistan).
 
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This is my diary. My name is Lev and I work in Kabul for a non-governmental organization (dacaar.org).

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Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
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