Pinch me, NOW!

…so,

In a few weeks I will wrap up an incredible almost-9-year stint with something I helped establish and build. I am childishly excited and thrilled about embarking on the new phase of my career.

And though there is just a trace of nostalgic sadness, I am in the main extremely proud and grateful for the opportunities, for the lessons learnt, for the people I met.

The accidental dream job

In mid-2003 I walked into a storeroom-turned-office space with an ancient PC, a lot of electronic waste, and a new-to-Doha start-up editor, who recruited me into that chaos right away.  A different matter that he left within some weeks, and I was expected to carry on. There was a part of me, at that point, that was full of self-pity for the mess I was left in. But fortunately, the impractical side of me egged me on to give this a go–paltry remuneration, disorder and lack of direction et al. What an AMAZING journey it has been!

The places I’ve travelled to, the people I have met and interviewed, the events and campaigns I’ve been part of, and most importantly the magazines I’ve launched… What a DREAM. Pinch me, now!

 

The bad, the ugly

Of course, not all of it has been positive, but I am glad I had every last one of those experiences.

Often, I’ve handled people, conflicts and situations badly; but to my credit, I think I never repeated my mistakes, only made newer ones, and a lot less frequently (I hope). At every step, if I had to, I did own up and apologise.

Then there were things beyond my control. The fact that I impotently occupied a ringside view of corporate corruption–both petty and big–because sometimes not becoming party to it is all the achievement one can manage.

I saw fragile egos tear families apart and demolish careers, because in this part of the world the labour laws give way too much ammunition to managers whose need for power outweighs their reserve of moral ethics.

I bore the brunt of some racist attacks, and I’ve learnt not to be angry or humiliated. All that I feel now is pity for the ignorant. Still, I won’t go so far as to stretch the truth or lie outright that I am now more mature and level-headed.

However, I am more circumspect of my need to be right all the time and have the last word.

I am far more open to opposing views.

I have learnt to take important decisions with a level of emotional detachment and a higher degree of intellectual engagement.

Most importantly, I am learning to give myself credit for what I do, for who I am and what I bring to the table. Modesty in excess, I have learnt rather painfully, does not help in building self confidence. We might after all begin to believe that a modest effort is the maximum we are capable of.

And then again…

I am now at the threshold of a career change. After nearly 18 years in print media, I am moving. I am going to be learning, relearning; I will flounder and screw up, but I will learn; because once again, I have been lucky enough to be given an opportunity this exciting. And I can only hope enough kindness is shown to a novice.

Wish me luck, because one can never have enough of it!

About

Umm Oviya + Nilah = Mother of Oviya + Nilah. Because in the Arab world a woman is first addressed as bint X (daughter of X) and then once she has a son (Y) she is Umm Y. I am not sexist, so don't mind surrendering my identity to my daughters.

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15 comments on “Pinch me, NOW!
  1. Best wishes and I am sure you are going to be doing well.
    Also loved, ‘Modesty in excess, I have learnt rather painfully, does not help in building self confidence. We might after all begin to believe that a modest effort is the maximum we are capable of.’

  2. Kisara says:

    I will wish you more than luck :). Luck sounds chance-y. So I am going to wish you success; solid…satisfying… punch the air and say “yessssssssss!” kind of success! I am also going to wish you enough contentment to keep you happy and sufficient restlessness that will always inspire to reach greater heights. Not going to pinch you because you deserve every good thing coming your way and more! Just remembered A Dr. Seuss Quote –

    “Will you succeed?
    Yes you will indeed!
    (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
    Kid,,, you’ll move mountains
    So – be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
    Or Mordecai Ale Vani Allen O’Shea,
    You’re off to great places!
    Today is your day!
    Your mountain is waiting.
    So… Get on your way!”

    There – all I had to do was to add a letter ‘i” in there and it’s just perfect
    Hugs :D!

  3. UmmON says:

    @IHM: Thank you. True too, isn’t it?
    @K: I’ve already told you all that I wanted to. Thanks.

  4. Mamta Singh says:

    The very best of luck Vani to where ever you are headed. This is my first visit to the blog. Read the one on patriotism. Loved the guts and effervescent nature that comes across in the post. Could not meet you here in Qatar but may some day. Fare well where ever you go!
    Best,
    Mamta

  5. You did an AMAZING job! So many of us have enjoyed, benefited and learnt from what you created.
    Wishing lots of luck in your new challenge.

  6. UmmON says:

    @mamta: am still in doha, though.
    @gabrielle: kind words indeed. and i have to thank you too.

  7. Supriya says:

    Good luck, vani, for your new adventure!

  8. shyam says:

    Good luck, am sure you will blow everybody’s socks off :)

  9. teesu says:

    Good luck! I sincerely agree you can’t have enough of it (luck) no matter how good you are. Lady luck needs to stick around. (hah. they call HER a lady, eh?) Feel you have kept it a bit too short…and ‘nutshelled’ your experiences.

    How about you single out some experiences? ‘Read and learn from mine’ sorta life’s lessons @work…

  10. UmmON says:

    piyu, thank you.
    shyam, i would settle for just standing on my feet, before knocking anyone’s anything off :)
    teesu, so much to say, but i am controlling myself.

  11. a says:

    Don’t let luck take credit for bulk of your hard work. If luck landed you in the store room, it was hard work that fueled the rest of your journey. Here’s to more hard work with the occasional spotlight of luck guiding your way. Onwards and upwards!

  12. sindhu says:

    I have to pin this up “Modesty in excess, does not help in building self confidence. We might after all begin to believe that a modest effort is the maximum we are capable of.”
    All the best to you. I am sure you will excel in whatever you do, coz you give your 100% to anything you do.
    I say it again you are an inspiration…:)

    • UmmON says:

      @ammani: combination of opportunities and grabbing them. thanks.
      @sindhu: thank you. and yes, that line seems to have really connected with many. do put it up :)

  13. marlene says:

    The very best of luck and a plesaure working with you.

  14. […] It’s one short life where I have to love and enjoy and feel a sense of contentment, if not achievement, on a daily basis. Something I’ve been fortunate enough to have almost all my working life, including the 15 years in Qatar. […]

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