Here We Start – Issue #25

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

As many of you know, we celebrated our 2nd anniversary last month with a number of our readers & followers in the Pavilion, Downtown Dubai. It was a great event that included a discussion panel with Sail Team moderated by Aida AlBusaidy, one of our own advisory board members. You can find all the pictures taken here.

The discussion panel mainly revolved around the articles that were compiled as the best-ranked articles for each of our columns and printed in our first print volume, which was given away to the audience.

We also launched on our Anniversary, our new look of the magazine, which you will notice facilitates browsing through the magazine and its different columns & categories.

It is also worth noting that we are marking our 25th issue with this month’s issue. Here is the brief of our issue:

  • Art of Living 101: Hamda AlHashemi reflects on the kind of person she’d want to be seen as, and urges us to do the same.
  • Just Another Undergrad: Fatma Bujsaim looks at the types of research and why we should look for new pieces of information.
  • Scenes from Life: Rawan Albina writes about authenticity and the value of telling the truth and holding on to your principles.
  • Sense and Sustainability: Haif Zamam explains how good ideas can be funded.
  • Special Contribution: Ayesha AlMazrou, a guest writer and a journalism student in Zayed University, analyzes the effect of certain social norms on the Emirati women’s independence.
  • The First Years Last Forever: Ayesha AlJanahi discusses child abuse from different angles and how can we notice the signs.
  • The Mind’s Eye: Moadh Bukhash takes a current view at what he could say to his unborn child from his life’s learned lessons.
  • Too Blunt For Words: Fatma AlKhaja writes about demons at work and whether they are a reason to stay at work or to change it.

And of course, don’t forget to enjoy our illustrations by Dubai Abulhoul & Fatma AlHashemi.

Enjoy the reads!

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

Reflecting on Yourself and Who You Really Want to Be

Hamda Al Hashemi (@Hamda_alhashemi)

Column: Art of Living 101. Previously as: Living Through The Eyes of Art
Hamda AlHashemi is a 20 something year old interior design graduate, and an SZHP employee. She appreciates art, food, psychology and culture. For her, Arabic calligraphy is music for the eyes; beautiful and calming. She thrives to become an entrepreneur of her own furniture line and aims to get her Phd on the long run. Hamda’s articles revolve around how our psychological thoughts influence our actions, and how to use them to our advantage.

Latest posts by Hamda Al Hashemi (@Hamda_alhashemi) (see all)

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself,” (Thales, pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher). We always define people through the same criteria; gender, ethnicity, nationality, educational background, wealth, etc. Sometimes I wonder if that way of thinking is justified. Is it possible that people who have the same circumstances will end up in the same place? Or are they imitating each other to fit in?

A lot of people follow the same paths and make the same choices to end up with the same result. At first I found it astounding that two people can be so alike. But eventually I began to realize that that is impossible. No matter how alike individuals can be, there are still so many things that will make them different. But sometimes, people who want to fit into the world of their role models will do anything to be like them.

The reason I chose to talk about this is a result of different things I saw in a very respected place. It was an event where the youth was supposed to show a large audience their potential and what they can accomplish as individuals, but instead, it became more of a competition of who can look more eccentric and disturbing.

Ralph Waldo Emirson, an American lecturer and poet, once said, “Insist on yourself. Never imitate”. When we are given a chance to display something to the public, it reflects who we are and our way of thinking. But from what I’ve seen, it seemed like everyone was imitating everyone.

Is it a trend for girls to look like males? Is it a trend for girls to develop new facial features through layers and layers of make up? Is it a trend for two Arabic speakers to speak together in English? Or is it just another coincidence for them to be doing the exact same things as they see on television or see in public?

While I was researching some artists, I came across a very interesting one called ‘elSeed’. ‘elSeed’ is an Algerian artist who lived his life in France, and travelled to North America for a while. It would make perfect sense if ‘elSeed’ would do artwork related to the place where he grew up in. But instead, he chose to do Arabic calligraphy in all of his art pieces.

Why would he do that? Why would he refer to use the language of the country he barely lived in? Because he is proud of it. Because when he introduces himself to himself, he sees that part of him; that Arabic origin makes up his personality and character more than the land he lived in because of a difficult situation.

When I asked him about why Arabic calligraphy is very dominant in his work he repeated the following quote, “You can take the man from his land, but not the land from the heart of the man.”

Artwork by ElSeed
Artwork by ElSeed

In his artwork, elSeed always creates it in a public space. He does it to deliver a message, to share a thought, to spark that sense of curiosity in the audience, and to make them wonder whether or not they’ve had the wrong ideas about Arab stereotypes.

Isn’t it a shame to see a man who has lived away from his land among people who know nothing about his culture, work so hard to communicate who he is and what he believes in, when on the other hand we, who grew up as Arabic speakers, and were created by God as proper human beings, to reflect an ugly personality?

Some things can be considered simple mistakes and a phase that will eventually go away. But when people describe the environment you come from or live in as “repulsive”, it becomes a serious matter. It is not okay for us to display a negative public message about ourselves. And it is not okay to lose ourselves and our base because of a misguiding trend.

Plato once said, “To conquer oneself is the best and noblest victory; to be vanquished by one’s own nature is the worst and most ignoble defeat.” Communication is vital, and mingling with the world is important, but losing sight of who we are and becoming something that the human nature does not agree with is not. When young girls dress, talk, walk, and act like men in public, it’s time for us to realize that there is an issue. But seeing that and acting like it’s something very normal, that is a catastrophe.

“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear,” (Socrates). If you are an Arab but speak to Arabs in English, then there is something that needs to be fixed. If you are girl but act like a guy, then there is something that needs to be fixed. Imagine that you are looking at yourself from someone else’s eye, and ask yourself, is that who you really want to be?

Why Conduct Research?

Fatma Bujsaim (@FatmaBujsaim)

Senior Editor. Ex- Column: Just Another Undergrad

After graduating with a Bachelor degree in International Studies and a minor in converged media, Fatma still finds herself hungry for knowledge, which led to her enrolling in a postgraduate program. Her passion for both reading and writing has made her extend her stay in Sail eMagazine so that she can learn & develop her skills. When not buried in her books and novels, Fatma is found on tennis courts or in a classroom learning a new language.
She wrote her previous column: “Just another undergrad” hoping she can give what she didn’t have when she was a freshman: comfort and guidance, and also bring back memories to all those graduates out there. She wonders if things are going to be the same after graduation.

Latest posts by Fatma Bujsaim (@FatmaBujsaim) (see all)

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul (@DubaiAbulhoul)

I remember when I was younger and I asked my father “what does this word mean?” he would always say: “There’s a dictionary on the bookshelf, go look for it.”

Never in my life has my father given me the definition of something. Now, when I hear anything I do not know, whether it was a word or a piece of information, I find myself using Google right away to know what it is.

I often wonder why bother looking for every single detail I come across that I don’t know. I also wonder why I ever chose a major that requires me to read and write, then read some more and write. And then I realized: I’m hungry for knowledge.

Research is the systematic investigation into existing or new knowledge (The Oxford English Dictionary). One’s research either confirms information, or comes out with a new piece of information. No matter how small or large a research is, it will always add something to the world; if not the world, then at least the individual who conducted the research.

The downside of being an expert researcher is that they don’t get paid so well and they don’t always get the funding to conduct research. But there are people out there who don’t really care about that. Their passion for research and the end result makes them forget all the hardship they went through.

So why? Why go through all that? I guess that it’s a craving even they cannot shut. Exactly like the hunger I get when I face something I don’t know. Research is not limited to science; we can research anything we want. I personally think that research is a way to answer the “what, why, when, who, or how”.

There are two ways to conduct research:

  1. Primary research: Using the original documents & data on the topic.
  2. Secondary research: Using secondary sources such as Wikipedia.

As for the research design, researchers choose either:

  1. Qualitative research: Where a broad question is asked and the data that is collected & analyzed are based on words.
  2. Quantitative research: Is somewhat like the quantitative but works with number-data, & depends on random sampling.

As I mentioned before, the beauty of research is that someone always benefits from it. The least thing that comes out of it: the researcher gains new information. So why not research? Why not learn something new? We don’t really have to create a huge research that will change the world, or stress ourselves over wanting to publish the research and sharing it with our own society; we could simply do it for ourselves.

About Authenticity: Being True to Yourself

Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina)

Rawan, CPCC, ACC, is a Professional Certified Coach, owner of Leap Coaching & Training whose life’s mission is to help women achieve their dreams.
Her strongly positive nature and calm demeanor enables her to gently draw out a person’s full potential as she helps them get in touch with their passions, find their purpose and LEAP into a truly fulfilling and extraordinary life.
Women who are at a crossroads in life, young women ‘Entreprenettes’ and teenagers have all found a strong guide in Rawan who has helped them discover the life skills needed to begin the new phases in their life with confidence.

Latest posts by Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina) (see all)

Illustration by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

I was having a chat with a friend of mine and she was telling me how much trouble she’s had her whole life because she was always straightforward, honest and blunt. And she added “you know what? I wouldn’t change for anything in the world”. I looked at her, smiled and thought if only we all defended our values this strongly, the world would be a better place!

Everyone I meet struggles to varying degrees with authenticity. Living their truth or telling it like it is. People believe there are universal truths they should adhere to and in the fear of looking stupid, being judged or measured, they forget about their own truth! But you see I have found time and time again that it is only in the light of your own truth that you truly shine.

I’m not suggesting a world of anarchy where each person lives by their own rules but rather a responsible world where people uphold beliefs and live by them; a world where people make choices and refuse to wear masks that hide who they truly are simply because they need to blend in or play the game so that they’re not treated as outsiders.

We are social beings; we want to belong to a group, a community. It is only natural that we would want to please or go with the flow but if this flow takes us away from our inner flow, the one that truly fulfills us, then this is a sign that our need to belong has taken over and has masked our truth.

How many times have you had someone lie to you just to save face? How many times have you been hypocritical in dealing with another person because you didn’t want them to see or know the truth or simply because you thought there was no other way? People back stabbing others just because they consciously or unconsciously believe the truth is bigger than them and they can’t handle it.

Here is what I know: you can believe what you want about others but unless you face them with authenticity and compassion you might be missing out on a lifelong friendship. Human beings are so good at creating conspiracy theories in their mind when the simple truth is usually the easiest path to find answers.

But, in order to be true to others, you must first be true to yourself and this requires that you deflate your ego, look at yourself in the mirror and be willing to face and accept your dark side. Seeing the bad in others is a reflection of how you perceive the world. This will encourage others to only see the bad in you too. Have the courage to stand in the light of your own truth, it will then be much easier to face the whole world with conviction and pride. No need to hide anymore.

Some people might find this intimidating but that’s because they haven’t yet found their own truth, definitely not because of you. The mask you would be wearing then would be that of your own authentic, compassionate self looking to grow in this new found light.

The Cardinal Rule of Venture Capital: Good Ideas Get Funded

Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa)

Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa)

Column: Joie de Vivre, Ex-Column: Sense and Sustainability
Haif Zamzam is a bon viveur who just can’t get enough of life. Her inflexibility for the norm coupled with her constant hunt for a challenge pushed her to the private sector where she is a professional in a top-tier consulting firm. Haif has an MBA from INSEAD and a Bachelors degree from the AUS. Through her column, Joie de Vivre, French for “Joy of Living,” Haif hopes to show how living with your head in the clouds is highly underrated.
Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa)

Latest posts by Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa) (see all)

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul (@DubaiAbulhoul)

Over dinner one evening, a friend of mine mentioned how she had so many good business ideas that she would like to execute.  I told her to put her ideas to paper as a first step to see whether they really are “good ideas.” We’ve all been there. The point where we see a problem that we believe we have a solution for and feel that it would make for a great business plan. By default, any good idea will get funded. With that said, any good idea must incorporate the following critical elements:

Time and dedication

An entrepreneurs’ time is not his/her own. An entrepreneur who has a “day job” is even more time constrained. Running with an idea will take time and effort, so make sure you’re in it with the finish line clearly in your mind.

An idea

You need an idea. You don’t necessarily need a breakthrough mind-boggling idea that is the first of its kind.  You need a good idea.  Good ideas could be ideas that others have implemented and are successful in. Don’t hog ideas and don’t be surprised or take it the wrong way if you see other people working on the same idea. Good ideas are good ideas to everyone. Furthermore, you need a plan that is not half-baked; think of what product or service you will be offering, where can you source the product or service, who will be buying the product or service, who are your competitors, etc.

I’d like to cite one of the most powerful and concise guides to making the most of yourself, “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be” by Paul Arden who urges people to not hog ideas.  Below is a short excerpt from his book:

“Ideas are open knowledge. Don’t claim ownership.

They’re not your ideas anyway; they’re just floating by on the ether.

You just have to put yourself in a frame of mind to pick them up.”

Market, market, market

You need market demand. You need a sizeable market that is able to support a profitable business (or non-profitable if that’s the route you’re taking). You need a market that is willing to pay a price that includes your profit. You need to have some marketing background (or partner up with someone who knows how to or what is needed to sell your product or service).

Competition is good

Competition in the industry you are looking to enter is good.  It’s good! It means that there is an actual market. It means that there are customers and you could customize the product or service. Now don’t take this point to mean that you should go into a flooded market. Too much of a good thing is still too much. Scope out your competition and rather than vowing that you will overtake them, differentiate your product or service and you will have customers.

Fundraising plan

Get out there and pitch your idea to potential investors.  Whether the investor is in your family, your group of friends, Khalifa Fund, etc., make sure you have a solid pitch. In my opinion, even if you have your own capital to start your business, fundraising and pitching it to investors will tell you how successful your business could be.  When you have a good idea and you can’t get funding, then it is time to analyze the process, the product, and the package you have been selling. Because when a good idea can’t get funded, something is missing from the “good idea package”.

So, what should you do? If you have an idea, work with it and do it fast. Recall one of the building blocks for business (that I actually apply to a lot of my life), KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Just KISS. Take your business idea seriously and form a strategy around it.  Execute on your business plan, and most importantly GO TO MARKET.  The truth of the matter is, there’s already a handful of people thinking of the same business idea (someone is stealing your idea before you work on it).  In the venture capital (VC) world, investors are really looking for three very simple things:

  1. How quickly you can set up your business and start selling your product or service
  2. How quickly you can show your investor the money
  3. How little start-up capital is needed up front

The cardinal rule of VC is that good ideas will get funded.  In the start-up world, slow and steady doesn’t necessarily win the race.

Cultural Norms and Young Emirati Women Gaining Independence

By Ayesha AlMazroui (@AyeshaAlmazroui)

Illustration by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

While the leadership of the UAE is committed to empowering women and reducing the gender gap, many young Emirati women are still dependent on their parents or husbands.

Young Emirati women make up to 47 percent of private universities’ graduates in the UAE. However, according to the Emirates News Agency, only 20.3 percent of the national workforce are females. Many young women stay at home after graduating from high school or college.

Asma AbdulMalik, 26, a country program officer at Dubai Cares, said that in her opinion, the main reason behind women’s dependence on husbands and parents “is the social, cultural, intellectual, and religious heritage of the UAE.”

She said that many Emirati women are still not comfortable to “go beyond the roles and responsibilities shaped and mandated by society and religion.”

Saif Al Suwaidi, the director general of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), suggested that the problem with overly dependent women is in the way many parents in the UAE raise their children.

“This has resulted from the dependency that we raised up our children upon, especially girls,” he said. “I think that our parents were more successful than us in raising us up (as independent adults.) We raised up our children in luxury and abundance that had a negative impact on their attitudes and behaviors.”

He also said that with the economic challenges that the country faces, the independence of women is not only acceptable, but also a necessity and a duty.

“Certainly, the UAE society is, like any oriental society, a male-dominated society,” he said. “But, we are witnessing a significant increase in the recent years in giving women greater opportunities.”

Maitha Salim, 23, an international affairs student at Zayed University, agreed that the UAE society is male-dominated. She said that while the world is moving toward equal-gender rights, some males from the young generation are still holding onto the old traditions.

“Many brothers still put restrictions on their sisters,” she said. “Sometimes parents accept that their daughters drive or work. However, they give their sons the authority to control their sisters.”

Iman Ustadi, 23, a chemical engineer, said that one of the main reasons for dependency is parenting style.

“Sometimes parents don’t distinguish between caring and teaching dependency,” she said. “Unfortunately, some parents see it as a way of taking care of their children and giving them their attention. Caring too much about children without limits turns to dependency that might be recognized later (when they grow up), or not.”

She said that this usually happens to girls.

“On the other hand, I see that boys reach a stage where they can take decisions and manage their lives even though they were raised up with dependency on their parents”

Hind Yousef, 26, a freelance journalist, said that some girls still look at work as a way to get money without thinking of some important benefits.

“What about ambition and self-actualization, serving the community, getting experience, gaining social skills and meeting different people?” she asked.

However, Ms. AbdulMalik said that female independence is growing in the UAE due to the national strategy and the realization of the vital role that women can play in the economic and social development of the nation.

“While government support is principal in providing opportunities for female independence, tackling existing cultural norms and perceptions is also central to the debate.”

Protect Your Child from Abuse

Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Column: The First Years Last Forever
A loving mother of a son who has changed her life and put it into perspective. Ayesha is a senior social media specialist, a Global Leader for young children in the Arab region, and a writer in few Arabic publications. Her column is written in collaboration with the Arabian Child organization, and offers inspiration and an in-depth exploration of early childhood development.
Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Latest posts by Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi) (see all)

Illustration by Dubai Abulhoul (@DubaiAbulhoul)

Children are angels from heaven and all of them are equal in innocence. They are also very vulnerable. From birth through age of 8, a child’s growth and development is influenced by a variety of factors from their surroundings to interactions with others. During the early years in particular, parents and caregivers need to be vigilant about recognizing the signs of abuse in babies and young children. This is the first step towards safeguarding and protecting our children.

Since children mostly depend on adults for care, education, and nurturing; they are susceptible to abuse, which makes them “perfect victims” for any form of abuse. When we explore “abuse”, we address physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and neglect. Shockingly, research shows that perpetrators behind violent acts are not necessarily strangers, but in 8 out of 10 cases, it is someone a child knows and trusts.

Protecting children is the demand and strong desire of every parent. There is nothing that could totally devastate the soul, worry or sicken parents more than child abuse. Apparently, it’s one of the most challenging areas where children’s lives are seen to be at stake. There is a pressing need for change in children’s protection techniques that help recognize the possible indicators of any form of abuse that can prevent its severity and long-term negative implications.

We need to come up with a family safety plan that includes pre-planned discussions and spontaneous opportunities to teach children on a regular basis. For instance, let’s take a discussion about memorizing key telephone numbers in case they get lost; try to make it sound like an enjoyable game instead of a safety lesson.

Beside the given discussions and lessons, parents should make certain family rules such as “Don’t answer the door unless it’s mummy or any trusted person.” Some strangers are not welcome to pass by anytime and say hello. Children should understand the difference between strangers and close family members, or friends.

Avoid giving your child mixed messages. From a child’s perspective, they are likely to received contradictory messages if you tell your child that it’s risky to talk to strangers yet you say hello to an unfamiliar sales person. Tell your child that if he/she gets lost in a shopping mall or grocery store, that he/she should only approach security personnel or a police officer in uniform attire. It’s very important to ask our children to interact with strangers safely and educate them well on how to protect themselves.

One of the indicators of abuse in children could be sexual abuse. Parents should focus on both physical and behavioural signs that will help them recognize abuse in their child. Physical signs could be urinary tract infections, pain, bruising, bleeding, or a sexually transmitted disease. Behavioural signs could be seen in bed wetting, sexualized behaviour, isolation, and aggressive behaviour. To avoid such abuse, parents/caregivers should teach them correct names for their body parts. This will help parents or caregivers notice any kind of molestation or harassment.

Other forms of abuse are emotional abuse and neglect where a child’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, and trust in their own perceptions is worn away. The child seems over anxious and may have speech disorders. Unfortunately, some parents are responsible for committing such abuse due to neglect and saying things that make a child feel worthless.

But how can you teach your kids about personal safety to prevent sexual abuse without scaring them? It’s never too early to start enlightening children on how to protect themselves. Some parents usually have the notion that we should follow the expression “knowledge truly is power.”  However, it’s not healthy to convey your fear to them by giving scary stories as examples. Try empowering your children instead of scaring them, which will enable them to successfully handle a situation where they need help. Fear often backfires, makes children freeze, and disables them from acting in an emergency. The most important concept that should be highlighted is that “their body is their own, that nobody can touch without their permission.” Any person who refuses to respect that should be considered dangerous and immediately such an incident should be told to parents without any fear or embarrassment.

At the end we must always remember that we are our children’s first and most important teachers. Children watch every move we make, question our choices, and notice the outcomes of our actions. “We must be sure that we are walking the walk, talking the talk and not giving vague or mixed messages”.

In coordination with Arabian Child organization. Visit www.arabianchild.org for more information about early childhood education in the United Arab Emirates.  

8 Life Lessons That I Would Pass on To My Future Children

Moadh Bukhash (@MoadhBukhash)

Moadh Bukhash (@MoadhBukhash)

A brand manager by day and a ‘wannabe’ philosopher by night, Moadh graduated from the American University in Dubai with a degree in Marketing. All about logical discourse and self improvement, his aim is to be a 21st century iconoclast. Though born and raised in Dubai, Moadh aims to develop and nurture global identities built around shared humanistic values. A writer of his own blog, which bears the column’s name, Moadh’s ultimate ambition is to be the spark of a positive change in any individuals who come across his words.
Moadh Bukhash (@MoadhBukhash)

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Illustration by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

Time goes by and surroundings change. People are born and people leave. Through it all, much is passed on from a generation to the next, be it words of wisdom, and teachings from life. I often wonder what I would say to my own, what I would pass on. This is my current take on it, summed up in a few humble words:

Remember always that thought is unrestricted; thought cannot be restrained, contained, or abolished. Thought may be swayed, but if you remain true to yourself, your thought will always prevail. Use it to assess what you believe, to assess your surroundings, to analyze both your everyday encounters and your long-term aspirations. Be selfless in your thought, do not concern only your needs with it; let it roam free and experience the world in all its majesty.

Treat the cure, never the symptom. Many people run around focusing their efforts on treating the side effects of a problem rather than the problem itself. Concern yourself only with the cure, endlessly engaging in treating the problem doesn’t solve the issue but rather prolongs it. The foundation is where the problem lies and without the necessary foundation, the structure will never correctly stand.

Idealism is utopia, a wonderful place where everything is without flaw. Do not be ashamed to profess your idealistic mentality. That is the target, but you must accept that the target may never be attainable. Instead, you must accept reality and include it in the equation. Keep your eye focused on the ideal and work your way through reality to achieve it.

Be righteous, but remain kind hearted. In many ways, your negative interactions with people might seem terrible from your end, but you must ask why that person is the way they are. It might be the circumstances they have gone through, it might be a short term stress that turned them that way, and it might just be that somebody overtook them on the road that day. Whatever the case, be kind hearted enough to question that before resorting to negativity on your part. Remind yourself of the parent that scolds their children about discipline, when you can see that behind the method in which the communication was delivered lies a good principle.

Identify your passion, and allow yourself the time to do that. Some people never figure out what they truly love, or perhaps figure it out a bit too late. The process to find your core is a lengthy one and it requires true introspection. Ask yourself what might interest you and practice it. It sometimes requires trial and error, allow yourself that kindness.

Remember to learn from others and teach yourself the modesty to respect opinions, agreeable or otherwise. Dialogue is a great tool for learning; do not filter those you dialogue with. Respect dialogue in itself and remember that you are the master of your silence and a slave to your words.

Let your love be endless, draw no borders for it. Let it roam continents, affecting all those that come by it. It is the only thing that makes you not only decide for yourself but include others connected to you. Only love makes many into one.

Above all else, in life’s ups and downs, remind yourself that triumph is temporary, but class is permanent.

Dealing with Demons in the Office

Fatma AlKhaja (@fay_alkhaja)

Column: Observing the World, previous column: Too Blunt for Words
Fatma (Fay), Emirati girl, with an experience in Corporate Communications and CSR. She is passionate about anything that is traditional and Emirati. In her free time she loves to watch Japanese anime, read manga, and play videogames. Spas are not the only thing that relaxes her, but cooking as well.
Fay’s columns observe work-life experiences and balance. A lot of her articles are based on first-hand personal experiences and issues she has seen or been part of. She loves to observe her surroundings, and watch how people handle different situations they’ve been put in.Also, she is trying to balance the art of staying positive at work and helping her peers understand that not everything should be a problem. With her writings she hopes to make a difference and make people more observant of the little problems in life, or work that hasn’t escalated to a catastrophe. It’s the little things that matters.

Latest posts by Fatma AlKhaja (@fay_alkhaja) (see all)

Illustration by Syac

We all complain about work, colleagues, and bosses; it is a given. However, sometimes you reach a point where you just want to turn to that person who keeps complaining and ask why are they still here then?

I asked one of them, and that individual simply looked at me, and said “‘it’s better and more comfortable to work with the demons that you know.”

I took a moment to assess the situation and register his words; it did make sense somehow, but that also meant for me that he’s completely given up and has lost interest in risking an opportunity to better his situation.

Let’s say I worked for a certain company for 3 years and it was a living hell, but I was used to it. I knew the management, how the system operates, and I had comfortable working hours. Would that make me think twice before deciding to move on? I think not!

Think of how such a situation would be negative. In the previous edition, my colleague Reem discussed ‘The Human Black Hole’ where she mentioned how there are certain “people who completely drain you and exhaust you from your positivity, no matter how strong you try to stand.”

I believe the same is applicable for an organization as well. Regardless of how well you know the demons (colleagues, operation, systems, etc.), eventually that negative energy can drain you, and could kill you. People forget that working is not only to put food on your table, but you to also need to maintain your sanity and energy to come out of it healthily.

I believe it’s better to have some comfort level when you are at work, but not at the risk of your health. For example, I know an individual that worked at a company for a very long time. At one point it wasn’t sunshine anymore, and every day that he went home exhausted, he kept complaining about the same things to his wife. His wife asked him, ‘Then why stay!? Leave.” He replied, “My boss is good, I might not find someone like that in the future.”

After some research I learned that such an excuse would not suffice. There are so many factors you need to take into consideration when changing jobs, you cannot base the decision on one. Regardless of how well you know that demon, I believe that wherever you go you’ll meet new ones. Therefore, make an effort and move on.

Work is not worth ruining your mood, wasting your energy nor destroying your family life. At the end of the day, it is only work. You work with those demons for certain hours in a day. Make it clear that you are only available during those hours unless there’s an emergency.

Next, I learned that demons like to think that every person working underneath them is a personal slave that bows to every whim. That’s not true either; put your foot down, and stand your ground. Like I said, why must their joy come at your expense?

And finally, it doesn’t matter. Demon or human, you deserve to be healthy, happy and comfortable so think of yourself first before humoring the needs of the rest.