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!