Whilst writing this post, I counted at least five concerned people I advised to “hang in there”, last week alone.
There was the young local lady who complained about being stuck in a job that has not offered her any kind of career growth in the last 6 years. She was frustrated and confused by the lack of opportunities within her company, as well as the job market. All I could tell her was “hang in there”.
Then there was the 50 something year old charming and articulate gentleman with around 30 years of experience in the private sector who was forced to take an early retirement. He believes he still has the energy and will to be a productive member of society. Yet he is always confronted with the same response at every door he knocks on: he is either “overqualified” or is “too old”. I told him as well, to “hang in there”, and that the right opportunity will present itself someday.
I spoke to a young and ambitious single Asian mother who travelled to Dubai seeking a “second chance” to build her life with her son. It was clear she had been through a tough time and was frustrated that she couldn’t find any opportunities while here. There was not much time left till her visa expired. She feared that she would have to leave the country and go back to “nothing” as she put it. The only words I could find to console her were “hang in there”.
I remember that in that same week I repeated those exact words to a senior European banker who has been laid off from his work after many years of service, a struggling entrepreneur I know personally, my young cousins who graduated a year ago and hopeful of landing dream careers which remain elusive to them and an uncle concerned about the future of his sons who have been searching for jobs for so long.
You will notice that I’ve referenced the nationality, age, gender or status of these individuals because I have come to learn from the many similar stories I’ve heard that regardless of the different backgrounds, ethnicity and status of people, we all share one powerful common denominator; the personal struggles each of us endure or have endured at some point of time, through our journey in life.
Some of these struggles are visible, while some are not. If we could appreciate this denominator we share, I believe it would help us become more empathic, less envious and less judgmental towards other human beings.
People often ask me, “Talib, what do you think is going on in the market”? My answer tends to be more philosophical than based on some economical or political analysis -which mind you have a history of being off the mark in so many occasions. My answer: “Nature is taking its course”. Just like it did during the global financial downturn in 2009, and during the various global crises every nation has faced throughout history. Nothing is constant. This cyclical nature of the market means that the businesses that will survive unscathed will be the ones that stand on a solid foundation and have put an effort to build a reputation of reliability and sincerity with its customer base and most importantly are flexible to change.
As for people like you & me who are caught in this cycle and are uncertain about what to do; I think the best short answer I can give you right now is the title of a song by Reggae superstar, Damien Marley: ‘Only the Strong Will Continue’.
In the hot Arabian Peninsula, it is popularly known that the region only has two seasons; nine months of summer and at best three months of winter. Many locals believe that the seasonal dust storms (at times known as Shamal) is considered a sign of the seasons changing. Even though people fear these winds and take shelter to avoid harm, they are perceived to be beneficial in many ways as they cleanse the air from harmful insects and microbes, and even support plant inoculation. To me this is a befitting metaphor to ponder over during this summer of uncertainty.
I will leave you with this beautiful quote by French author and journalist Albert Camus:
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
P.S. If you are interested in learning what you can do during these uncertain times to increase your chances of succeeding in the UAE, follow my blog for my next post on the topic on: www.talibbinhashim.com as well as follow me on Instagram @memoirs_of_emirati_headhunter for inspiration and advice in the areas of employability, entrepreneurship and leadership