Here We Start – Issue #28

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)

Dear Sail Readers,

In our 28th issue, we welcome a new columnist to our team: Ahmad Al Gergawi with his column “Emirati Dimensions”, in which he will be discussing topics pertaining to Emirati youth.

This month’s issue is a shorter issue in comparison to our regular issues, as we know most of our readers are on their summer holidays, hence we are publishing a quick to read issue while they are on their trips.

And here is the brief about this issue:

Issue #27 – June 2012

  • Emirati Dimensions: Ahmad Al Gergawi discusses the job hunt for fresh graduates in UAE.
  • Scenes From Life: Rawan Albina lists for us survival guidance points that helps us through our struggles.
  • The Mind’s Eye: Moadh Bukhash examines mental and physical health from different perspectives.
  • To The Point: Mohammed Kazim describes the phenomenon of trivializing moral values and not standing up for the truth and for what is right.

Enjoy the reads & don’t forget to check out our illustrations by Fatma AlHashemi!

Warm Regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

My Experience With Job Hunting

Ahmad Al Gergawi (@A_AlGergawi)

Ex-Column: Emirati Dimensions

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Illustration by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

You are a fresh new graduate, a proud moment for you to celebrate this victory after all those sleepless nights staring at numbers, observing figures, and reading endless book volumes. You have worked hard to get where you are, then this sudden question pops into your head, where do I go from here?

Everyone you know becomes your life coach during that phase. People around me suggested that I should “go on a long vacation”, “catch up on sleep”, or “pursue a master’s degree”. All these pieces of advice didn’t benefit me at all; in fact, they only created confusion on what my next steps in life would be. Even in my confused state, there was an adrenaline rush that took over me since I knew that I was so close to being independent and breaking away from my parents’ generous tree.

I was extremely anxious and that’s why I started applying for jobs before my graduation. I told to myself I would finally be able to utilize what I’ve learned in the last 4 years. It was extremely vital to do my research on where, how, and when will I apply for jobs. Suggestions came that one should start as soon as possible, because it was early 2011 and it was a season where companies began recruiting. Many of my friends and colleagues advised me to apply right away, but the issue was where and why.

Everyone was talking of the Abu Dhabi (AD) trend, as I like to call it, since the job market is more dynamic there and the pay is higher. I took my chances and started applying in AD to different companies through career fairs. In January of 2011, I went to the Abu Dhabi Career Fair, however I didn’t think anyone was serious since companies seemed to exhibit there only to brand themselves. The officials of each company looked bored and didn’t want to answer queries that I asked about the company and a lot of the male members of the organizations were more interested in talking to the “ladies”.

The unprofessional and unorganized environment I saw at the AD career fair de-motivated me. Every company’s representative asked us to fill in our names and information in their computer’s database. I could have filled my name and information from the house instead of driving all the way to AD.

A week passed and I was proven wrong, when a Global UAE company based in AD called me for an interview. In less than a week, I was asked to fill in some forms, and waited some more. I was anxious as it was my first interview and didn’t know what to expect, but luckily for me, I already knew some friends of mine who have worked at this company.

My friends who work there said nothing but great things about working there in terms of career development and experience. The pay however was much lower than the average AD pay, but I could care less. I wanted experience and a dynamic environment with a sustainable career. My interview went very well and everything went perfect. I got a job offer three days later and all what I needed to do now was complete some papers.

Initially I said yes, but still some people told me to wait on it and take my time to study the job market and see what else is out there for me. They were right, I kept interviewing in as many places as possible with some interviews going well, whilst others were difficult especially when they give you case interviews to solve on spot or ask you to divide 145800 by 204589 manually in your head.

When I was interviewed by a Public sector office and asked about career development programs, my interviewer replied by saying they do not offer such programs. As soon as I heard her say that I was looking for the door. Other companies impressed me with their strategy of hiring individuals, where I went on to take a test assessing the psychometric and English capabilities of the potential applicants. The Assessment would take three stages, until they decide if you are in or out. Such programs maybe nerve-racking, but at the same time they show you how the company builds itself in terms of strategy, branding, employees, and career.

After being interviewed by various companies, I learned that each had its negative and positive aspects; and that the job market is extremely competitive. In the end, what mattered to me in a company is how far it is invested in its employees in terms of career development, training, and experience one can gain.

It shouldn’t matter if it was Abu Dhabi or Dubai, as long as the company can provide a sustainable career for me that incorporates creativity and credibility; then I was willing to be part of it. There is a lot for each fresh graduate to learn that college can’t teach you, but you will have to teach yourself. The ball is never in your court when it comes to the job market, until you prove otherwise with your personality, experience, and knowledge.

9 Tips to Survive a Tough Time in Your Life

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)

Have you ever felt like you were being carried by a wave so strong that you kept hitting the rocks? You were so tired and felt so helpless being thrown around that you could hardly breathe?

I know many of you reading this will identify with what I’m talking about. We’ve all been through a similar phase at one point or another in our life.  Maybe at a time in which too many changes were happening at once forcing us to get out of our comfort zone, or a time when there were too many questions running through our head analyzing every situation and trying to make the best decision to move forward.  It could have been a time when we were at a crossroad, a time when we lost someone dear or lost a job. A time when the world seemed so dark and we couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. No matter what the reason was, the key is how will we survive this wave and whether we allow the pain it causes to stay with us and affect us or allow it to heal over time.

The good news is there is always stillness after a storm. But until you reach that stage of peace and tranquility what is the best way to ride the wave?  Here are some of my answers in what I like to call the “storm survival guide”.

  • Stay positive: I know this is easier said than done but you can control your thoughts. Choose to stand in a positive perspective and you’ll witness a paradigm shift in your own mind.
  • Trust your gut feeling: Human beings grow up to become very left-brained. We are trained to count on our mind to analyze, make logical assumptions and cause & effect deductions so much that if we are faced with a challenging situation which our brain doesn’t know how to process, we become baffled.  Your intuition is the key that will liberate you from the hold of your left brain. The truth lies in a deep knowing that you unconsciously chose to ignore your intuition for years because it didn’t appeal to your logic; it simply didn’t make sense. Your intuition has a lot of answers in store for you; you must learn to start trusting it.
  • Let go: Let yourself go and surrender to the wave. Let go of the need to know and instead, stay open to the opportunities that this wave might be carrying you towards.
  • Stop swimming against the current: If you keep doing that, your reservoir of energy will be depleted. There’s usually a reason why something is not working out the way you want it to. The current will take you where you need to go even if your mind says otherwise.
  • Have faith: In the darkest moments, you must keep the faith and truly believe that you are being taken care of. No matter how tough the situation you’re in, this wave is meant to take you to new places. They might look scary now but may prove to be very exciting
  • Stay curious: Don’t close your eyes. Even when your head is under water there can always be some amazing things for you to see. Stay alert and remain curious about the where the when and the how. Life can sometimes surprise you.
  • Acknowledge your emotions: Surrendering doesn’t mean allowing other people to manipulate the outcome. When you are connected to your emotions you will know when a decision is right or wrong for you. Even when you feel weak and tired, acknowledge that and stay with your feelings instead of pushing them away and allowing others to jump in and take charge. You don’t need saving.
  • You always have a choice: Although you don’t need saving, you will need a friend who will listen to you, a shoulder to cry on but remember that even when making the toughest decisions you always have a choice. Don’t allow others to make that choice for you. They cannot know you better than you know yourself.
  • Allow yourself some time to heal: When the wave passes you might be bruised in a few places. Stop if you need to and give yourself some time to catch your breath, regain perspective and heal. You can watch the most beautiful sunrise in a clear sky after a storm.

Don’t give in and don’t give up! Ride that wave and before you know it you’ll be the best surfer there is!

Love Thyself: Having a Healthy Body Perception

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)

We often, and more usually than not, go around life looking for the things that positively reflect our image in the face of the public. General as it may seem, it is our innate desire to find joy and pleasure that drives us through, attaining social regard while also satisfying our inner desires to be accepted. That joy is usually intended to cover a need, a gap, or an insecurity – all of which are both natural and legitimate needs that we shouldn’t shy away from. The question, though, is where does happiness lie? Where do we find positivity in all of it, particularly within the physical well-being aspect? It is perhaps that we must start with addressing the process and scrutinizing it to identify long-term, sustainable satisfaction.

An Arabic adage that we have probably heard over and over while growing up is that a healthy mind lies in a healthy body. While that seems like the sort of platitude that you would give to someone that is searching for the motivation to either begin being healthy or continue along the common track, there are many truths that lie within it. Exercise is proven to release chemicals within us that not only help us feel better, but prepare our minds to take in more information and process it better.

Unfortunately, modern times have turned the healthy body perception in our minds to one that is solely focused on the superficial element. It’s no longer about what is better for our health, but more about what looks good, or at the very least what is seen to be good by the assumed general public. We’ve become so ingrained into that thought that we’ve begun to hate our bodies; as if our bodies were a different being, another person that’s pulling us down; one that’s painting a darker image of us in the faces of others. So we look for the elements that we believe paint us that way, we look for any minute detail that we feel is a deficiency, and we obsess. We obsess about what we can do about it, or how we can change it. We take shortcuts, find the latest trend, hate ourselves for it, and then hate ourselves for hating ourselves for it. This becomes a vicious cycle that unfortunately does not allow us to be content. Such an unhealthy approach can never help us be content.

The answer, though, isn’t to let go. The answer is to adopt a healthier approach; a pragmatic, positive approach that focuses on happily accepting the process. If we believe that happiness only lies at the end of the tunnel, and factor in the obsessive nature that we adopt, then that light at the end of the tunnel will never be attainable.

The positive approach is simple: be happy with the process. Be happy with the efforts you’re putting in, day in, and day out. Be proud of yourself for taking that step forward, for doing something about it. It takes great courage, strength of will, and determination to push forward. That positive thought will drive you forward, it will keep you going.

We can’t possibly expect a negative process to yield a truly positive outcome.

3 Reasons Why You Should Stand Up for the Truth

Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Mohammed, an Emirati involved in healthcare business development, comes with a background in biomedical & clinical engineering, technology management, finance, and business setup related project management. Mohammed has a keen interest in relevant social, religious, economic, and cultural affairs.
Mohammed’s bi-monthly column aims to openly and honestly target issues around the native culture, society, religion, economy, and policy that have resulted as a consequence of the constantly changing demographics of the region. The column is characterized by a point-like articulate approach that gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of the discussed issues.
Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

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Illustration by Fatma AlHashemi (@F_Fotography)

A lot of us may in one way or another believe in standing up for what’s right either from a religious perspective or from a fairness/justice perspective. With my interaction with people in my social circles this past month, I have come to the conclusion that a fair portion of them believe in going with the flow and turning a blind eye to the “wrong” that they encounter.

How many times have you been in a situation where you have accepted something in your life because you did not have the courage or patience to fight for what you believe in? What I observed as I progressed in life from high school to university to the corporate world is that the more people get accustomed to the norms that surround them, the more they tend to neglect the things they stand for. These norms could be anything from work culture and social customs to tribal affiliations and status-associated greed.  Although most people would disagree with me, I believe it is imperative to stand up for the truth or for what is right in a strong and persistent manner regardless of whether you believe you can have an impact or not.

Some examples of daily life encounters that people do not stop or stand up against include misreporting of financial information to stakeholders, using corporate services for personal benefit, creating opportunities through conflicts of interest, bribery, adultery and cheating, domestic violence, revering politicians based on tribal affiliation, or any other socially accepted practice that most moral systems conflict with.

A few reasons why people do not engage in standing up for the truth are fear of rejection from society, personal monetary or material gain, lack of patience to deal with the consequences and resistance they will be faced with, and no real regard for the truth.

As difficult and costly as it may be to stand up for the truth boldly and bluntly, I believe it must be done for 3 main reasons.

First, it is imperative to understand that standing up for what is right is a divine command in Islam. It allows the alignment of good conduct with the eternal gain of the hereafter. Standing up for the truth is a basic concept of Islam that encourages honest behavior and proactive support for the truth as well as proactive rejection of falsehood. Islam also goes further to encourage debate and dispute in the path of protecting the truth as well as changing falsehood.

“And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is).” – The Holy Quran (2:42)

Second, I believe that standing up for the truth and avoiding the “herd” mentality is consistent with the exalted nature of mankind as compared with living animals. This consistency creates equilibrium between our subconscious selves and our conscious selves. What differentiates humans is the cognitive ability that allows them to take full ownership and control of their actions and its consequences.  Standing up for the truth creates a realization of self, which in turn leads to confidence that can influence others to do the same. In essence, this creates a “counter-culture” which promotes good and contributes towards the feeling of achievement.

Third, not only does the individual benefit but also the society as a whole. If standing up for the truth was something that was done on a wide scale in society, the level of social issues and domestic problems would decrease drastically, people’s rights would be preserved through fair opportunities, and the society would prosper as a whole.  Each building block of the society (household) would act as reinforcement to a solid structure built on promoting what is good and standing up for the truth proactively.

In today’s world, we have seen a shift towards selfishness and greed for a multitude of reasons. This in turn has trickled down to compromising and trivializing certain values. People, in general, have moved from standing up for what is right to not caring as long as there is a maximum personal gain. I strongly believe that the only way to undo that is to promote a culture of standing up for the truth. Through that culture, we can achieve eternal gain in the hereafter, be in peace with our subconscious selves, and promote widespread good in society.

Don’t you think it’s worth putting some conscious effort into standing up for the truth? The choice is yours.

“Such is Allah, your real Cherisher and Sustainer: apart from truth, what (remains) but error? How then are ye turned away?” – The Holy Quran (10:32)