A businessman is giving people the chance to vote on whether he should swap his job in sun-kissed, tax-free Qatar for self-employment in West Norfolk.
Peter Lawrence has enjoyed eight years in the Middle East, but is considering giving up his job in personnel and training management in the energy industry to return to the less balmy climes of the UK to set up a human resources and training consultancy.
The online community can vote yes or no on Mr Lawrence’s website, humancapitaldept.com, and sign up for updates at the same time.
Mr Lawrence, who has family near Lynn, wants to see if people think he is mad to end his exile in the sun for the vagaries of the Norfolk weather.
“I thought it would be a fun way to gauge people’s opinions and also to see what demand there is for this type of support business in West Norfolk,” said the 54-year-old.
“I could stay out here - although the economy is not as good as it was thanks to low oil prices, my job is not under threat, but I do feel it’s time to do something different and crave greater autonomy and control over my own work.”
And the scorching hot summers in the Gulf state are not necessarily a good thing.
“Summer is really difficult – I’ve known it get as hot as 56C. You have to stay indoors most of the time; you can’t really go out,” said Mr Lawrence.
“In their winter it’s like a nice British summer, about 18 to 20C and sunny most of the time – so you can see why the 2022 World Cup was moved to winter.”
As well as dealing with the extreme heat, Mr Lawrence said there were other adjustments needed to live in strictly Muslim Qatar.
“I’d never been to the Middle East before and there’s the religious and language aspects to adjust to as well as the weather. It’s as different as it can be, but I’ve also heard it can be a shock for people when they return from a spell overseas, so I’m mentally prepared for that.
“I’ve worked in a lot of places in the UK, but as I have family near King’s Lynn it would be nice to return and be closer to relatives and friends, and I’d really look forward to a decent pint!”
Born in Slough, as a young man he worked on the building featured in the opening credits to The Office and describes David Brent as his comedy hero..
“He demonstrates the worst HR Management practices - I suppose that’s why it was so funny,” he added.
Human Capital Dept. would seek to help small to medium sized enterprises who tend not to have a dedicated human resources function.
The business would work to ensure clients are legally compliant and working towards best HR practices, so that they get the best from their workforce, and retain their competitive edge.
“A key part of the business plan is to link with other consultants and utilise other people’s expertise to broaden my offering,” added Mr Lawrence.