It’s All About FAN LUV!

Shurooq AlBanna (@Shuroooq)

Shurooq AlBanna (@Shuroooq)

Column: A Moment of Contemplation
Shurooq, an Emarati from Dubai, has been on a journey of self-discovery ever since she shifted career from Science to humanitarian where she found joy. Her interests include traveling and foreign films. Shurooq’s column is influenced by those distinctive moments that give a deeper perspective on life.
Shurooq AlBanna (@Shuroooq)

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Looking into society’s fan syndrome and redirecting the emotions and efforts towards oneself.

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (twitter: @DanaAlAttar, instagram: @madewithlove.dxb)

Some phenomenon, although commonly widespread, do not grab our attention unless we pause and look at them closely. I have been following Khaled Mohamed (known as @djkhaled) on social media for a while, mainly because I find his son Asahd adorable. I would skip his snaps only to watch the ones that have his son on them. But recently, what grabbed my attention was the way DJ Khaled addressed his fans as ’Fan Luv’. His fans constantly appeared on his snapchat screaming his name or his son’s. Some of them even ran after him, crying in joy, screaming “We love you Asahd”.

This fandom phenomenon is nothing new. It has existed and transcended through generations. Remember the hysterical fan stereotype and fainting females who followed Elvis Presley? Consider also, modern day ‘Beliebers’, where the galloping of technology, specifically social media, has made it easier for fans to revere their idols.   I, myself remember how back in the 90’s, I was more than just an ardent admirer of Zack from Saved By The Bell. Embarrassingly, I was a die-hard fan of his.

Now, why DJ Khaled’s shoutout of “Fan Luv” triggered my observations is beyond me. Nonetheless, it made me think deeply of the many fandom accounts on Instagram for fashionistas, jokers, influencers, etc. Somehow it feels like in this day and age, every Tom, Dick, and Harry have a fan club. Take your pick from this passing trend. Anybody with no special talent or substance can become the object of adulation for millions.

However, regardless of the idols themselves or whether fandoms are psychologically healthy or not, I thought of the fans, the individuals who became too consumed with the minute details of the lives of their idols. I doubt they are aware that the word fan stems from fanatic. I am in no way criticizing fans and fandoms. On the contrary, everyone is entitled to choose who they want to align themselves with. But those fans do not realize how much effort & emotion they are vicariously engaging in their idols. What if all this effort & emotion was invested in themselves? What if they admired certain qualities in their idols but admired themselves even more?

We look so much at others in admiration that we tend to forget to admire the most important person; the one we see in our mirrors every day. This is the person who deserves all the effort and emotions. Just think of how positively this will impact your confidence and self-love.

DJ Khaled’s fan luv shoutouts raised my awareness about one thought only: What if we redirected some that Fan-Luv to Self-Luv? Think about it: what if you were your biggest fan?

For the Love of Novels

Lulwa A.M. (@A_Lulwaal)

Lulwa is a growing writer and artist from Kuwait. She holds a BBA in International Management. She is an aspiring philanthropist, an avid reader, an enthusiast for knowledge, a feminist and a cosmopolitan. Her major topics of interest, which are reflected in her articles, include cultural diversity, tolerance, women empowerment, literature, and education. Lulwa also reviews books on her Instagram account.

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Some people consider reading fiction a waste of time, akin to watching movies based on it. Never overlook the pleasure of reading a great work of fiction.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Being the first born in my family and the only child for my first five years, my parents were adamant about providing me with educational entertainment. In our home, the purchase of books was equated to the purchase of toys. I still remember the Mulan comic book my mother bought me when I was too sick to attend the book fair, and the Harry Potter series my father surprised me with on one of our trips to Dubai. As I grew older, I became more and more attached to the distinct aroma of recycled book paper, ink, and binding. I also began to realize that more and more people kept on telling me, “Novels and fiction are a waste of time. You should read something more useful”. This would ignite a long and emotional debate that would leave me frustrated, and I would take solace in Milan Kundera’s words, “The stupidity of people comes from having the answer to everything. The wisdom of novels comes from having a question for everything”.

Novels have narratives that encompass varying attitudes, standpoints and experiences, making readers contemplate on what has been read. The readers’ minds create their own unique visual interpretations that can never be replicated by another person who reads the same exact book. This quality exposes everything in a new light and through a fresh lens that leads to new ideas. These crisp ideas, narratives, and perspectives feed the human creativity process and imagination with unique concepts and thoughts. Albert Einstein, a Nobel Prize laureate Physicist, sheds light on the importance of imagination by expressing that “imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” With an elaborate imagination, we can fabricate inventions and equations that have not existed yet, but might exist in the future.

What is truly significant in reading and learning is how the gained information is interpreted and applied. Fiction enables readers to become adept in manipulating perspectives. In essence, this means being able to perceive the same information from different focal points and through various narratives, by viewing the same situation through different characters’ eyes. Many people might ask, why should we be concerned with other perspectives when we have our own? The answer to this question is that our perspectives and experiences are sometimes not enough. Fiction provides readers with a broader landscape of thoughts, more room to contemplate on different concepts, and mechanisms to bend in times of hardship rather than break. This is true due to readers’ ability in placing themselves in other people’s shoes.

Hence, the awareness of one’s own thoughts and feelings and the fact that others might not share them become part of a reader’s mental buildup. This ability is known as Theory of Mind (ToM), which is usually obtained through daily interactions, experiences, and conversations. However, reading fiction tends to speed up this process. A developed ToM allows a person to interact socially and use their cognitive abilities to read thoughts and emotions. Studies have shown that works of literary fiction can impact readers’ ToM in a way that allows them to deduce motives and thoughts in social situations based on experiences gained from fiction. Nonetheless, novels and fiction are also a valuable source of knowledge that could be an extension to solid information presented in nonfiction books.

This is especially true when it comes to historical fiction, which combines fictional events into a real timeline, setting, and sometimes even characters that hold historical relevance. An epic play such as Euripides’ Medea depicts the values of the Greeks in terms of theatric entertainment and their viewpoint on gender roles, their gods, and societal norms. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman explores post-WWII America and the effect of the American Dream on the people. Hence, it is evident that historical fiction gives readers imperative insight into societal values and issues during a specific period of time. Moreover, it allows us to gain insight on the emotional and non-statistical side of events and circumstances. When reading about the Second Gulf War in a political textbook, readers only observe the numbers, dates and concrete events. However, the struggle is only felt by listening to the stories of people who have lived through the war. The emotional dimension of reading stories, whether they are set in the past or the present, allows readers to better understand why groups of people act in a certain way, treasure some occasions and find particular matters worthy.

Thus, novels could not be described as opinions or hypothetical events, rather as autobiographies of people, regardless of the reality of their existence, who are experiencing situations that readers might have endured or will undergo. A great work of fiction is just as much a piece of artwork as oil on canvas. Just as each painting depicts the values, norms, and issues of different societies, so does a novel. It is a tool to feed readers’ creativity, imagination, analytical thinking and ToM. For some people, reading novels comes as a passion and an entertaining way to pass the time, but for those who don’t, Tawfiq Al-Hakim sums it up well in his words, “The first way to encourage reading is to raise personal curiosity”. Find what you are curious about, feed your imagination, enhance your creativity and direct it towards an area that interests and benefits you.

What Does Militarizing Scientific Research Really Mean?

Yaqoob AlShamsi (@yaqoobalshamsi)

Yaqoob AlShamsi (@yaqoobalshamsi)

Yaqoob is an Aerospace Engineer in Emirates Advanced Investments Group. He graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a BSc in Aerospace Engineering specializing in aeronautics and a BSc in Computational Mathematics specializing in physics. Also, he is currently completing his MSc in Information Security from Khalifa University and an MBA from Abu Dhabi University. Yaqoob is interested to write about science, technology, engineering, mathematics, art, culture, and community.
Yaqoob AlShamsi (@yaqoobalshamsi)

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Militarizing scientific research is a proven method to expand on researches and push them to their full potential in many cases, so what does it mean, what are examples of its positive and negative impact, and how can we implement one.

Artwork by Hamda AlMansoori (Instagram: @Planet64, twitter: @planetsixtyfour)

It was not more than six years after the first airplane invented by the Wright Brothers that the United States military started to militarize airplanes [1]. By acknowledging that air superiority is a newly added brush in the art of war, airplanes became faster, heavier, and stealthier by the decade. However, the militarization of an airplane was expected as it was done before with the hot air balloon. The switch between civilian use to military use is the definition of militarization. Nevertheless, it is evident that all technologies develop exponentially when they get militarized. So how do we benefit from this idea as the new Emirati scientific research pioneers? First, as the country is still building its scientific research plan, it should be highly recommended that the militarization of all scientific research becomes its main goal. It may seem debatable to some scientific researchers that not all scientific progress can be done through militarization. However, it is evident for many engineers and scientists that militarizing a scientific research is what uncovers new science fields. Therefore, we can learn from modern history how many of our technologies that are brought to us today were once militarized at a point in the research. Second, there should be a milestone on the timeline where the militarization of scientific research is published to the public society after setting it to become harmless and controllable.

Space exploration research, for instance, brought us many technologies that we use every day [2]. For example, in the field of environmental and agricultural resources, the outcome given was harnessing solar energy, pollution remediation, and water purification. Also, in the field transportation, the outcome given was anti-icing systems, highway safety, and chemical detection. Many examples can be given in health, medicine, public safety, and computer technology as well. However, the funding for space exploration accelerated when President J. F. Kennedy promised to go to the moon. As much as his speeches were inspirational, world renowned scientist and science popularizer Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson argues that the United States managed to put a man on the moon because of militarization motives [3]. Therefore, civilian funding is considered an anomaly if the wish was to start modern scientific research.

In addition to the militarization of space exploration, another field of science once militarized and flourished was chemistry. For example, the funding of particle accelerators uncovered elements 93 to 103 in the periodic table. Also, many other elements, if we counted from 113 to 118[4]. However, once the military stopped the funding, particle accelerators research decelerated in growth. Hence, we can deduce that the “Higgs particle” -that was only found in 2013 while expressed as an idea back in the 1960s- could have been discovered ahead of its time if the militarization of the field continued. Another example of militarizing physics and chemistry is the Manhattan Project [5]. Once the United States developed an atomic program, the nuclear bomb was an outcome. Therefore, it may seem that not all militarization of scientific research is a beneficial result to humanity. However, safe nuclear power was another outcome from the project.

By taking the lessons of the past from a globalization perspective, it can be deduced that the militarization of a scientific research exponentially advances the research, but does not promise any safety. A counter thought is the philosophy of progress in civilization. For example, the invention of the spear is considered good progress. A method used to kill the herd by setting a human capability limitation on the number of preys hunted in the day. However, when the hunter-gatherer invented a method to move large rocks and traps the herd in one zone, then there is no limitation to the human capability causing a disruption in the food chain. Therefore, not all progress is considered good progress [6].

Furthermore, it should be noted that an existence of a UAE DRA (Defense Research Agency) is a necessity to set a government authority of scientific research militarization in motion. For example, once the UAE DRA analyzes the beneficial research from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research or UAE scientist’s council, the military ranks the importance of the research to set its priorities. Then, local defense companies and educational institutions are given the scope of the projects. However, different restrictions should be set on the level of clearances from defense companies to local universities. Additionally, once the projects are beneficial to the military, then UAE DRA publishes the research after it becomes harmless and controlled by the military for further development by the public or under public funding.

In conclusion, from the points that were mentioned previously, many fields of sciences are needed to be funded by the military for scientific progress. However, for that progress to become beneficial to society, it needs to be contained by a governmental authority. Therefore, the government authority (Defense Research Agency) could be the militarizing starting point for all scientific research brought to the public. Once it becomes containable, the research is published for public development. Additionally, all scientists would have absolute loyalty in military’s interests and demands, as its main purpose is to protect this beloved prosperous country.


References:

[1] Jakab Peter J, The world’s first military airplane, The National Air and Space Museum, United States. July 23, 2009. http://blog.nasm.si.edu/aviation/the-world%E2%80%99s-first-military-airplane/

[2] https://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2008/tech_benefits.html

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWqNYiCAbsY

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp6cnp1kZBY

[5] http://www.ushistory.org/us/51f.asp

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4at5i-oMqE

Agenda-Setting – But I Want to Catch ’em All

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof holds a Master’s degree in Marketing and a Bachelor in English literature. Avid reader of classic literature, her preferred type of fiction, along with psychology and marketing. Skilled at drawing, created a comic book, not yet published. Dedicated her Instagram feed to bookish recommendations. Fond of language learning, taught herself Japanese. In her column Thoughts of a Reader she reviews books, writes short stories, and talks Marketing.
Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

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What is agenda setting, and how does it relate to advertising.

Artwork by Hamda AlMansoori (instagram: @Planet64, twitter: @planetsixtyfour)

The information portrayed in a way that serves a specific function, like in mass media for the news, is called Agenda Setting. Delivering incomplete facts presented in a biased tone can create a distorted picture of reality. This distortion can influence peoples’ attitudes, and elude them into adopting it as an agenda of their own. What is prominently covered in mass media is perceived to be of major importance. Even when the masses are not convinced of what they see or hear in the media, it doesn’t mean they’re not talking about it. However, people differ in their susceptibility to the influence, due to reasons such as level of education, exposure, or interest in politics. The Agenda Setting theory was developed by Maxwell E. McCombs and Donald L. Shaw in 1954 (McCombs and Shaw, 1972).

How the theory relates to advertising

News agencies can set an agenda that plays an indirect role in helping businesses sell. What L. Martin indicated in his book presents a great example of the relation of mass media and advertisement. The news about the outbreak of H1N1 back in 2009 stirred up fear in peoples’ minds that marketers couldn’t help but take advantage of. Hand sanitizers were inspired by the news and presented as the solution product that reduces the anxiety of the panicking masses; the news represented a convincing form of advertising.

For this next product example, however, the media attention was damaging. We all remember that propaganda concerning the Pokemon game from 16 years ago when the brand was first introduced to the Middle East. I was a kid back then and I was swept in the Pokemon craze along with everybody else. From a Saudi perspective, the franchise flooded the market, Pokemons were what we played, wore and wanted more of. However, that popularity was soon ceased by propaganda accusing the company of insulting God.

An anti-Pokemon flyer from 2001

Flyers were distributed, attributing blasphemies translations to the names of the Pokemons, and warning parents of the harmful influence it has on children. As the flyer depicts, the word Pokemon itself is claimed to mean ‘I’m Jewish’ when in reality Pokemon is short for Pocket Monsters. Soon after, a religious decree was issued against the game, on the grounds of it promoting of polytheism and evolution (Kottasova, 2016).

The Japanese embassy in Saudi Arabia saw it necessary to clarify this, negating the accusations and properly explaining the actual translation of the character names. This can be seen published in an article on Alsharq Al Awsat newspaper back in 2001. Conveniently to competitors, we can still see today that negative association remains instilled in the minds of many, taking shape in the backlash we saw against the newly popular Pokemon Go.

The strongest and weakest part of this theory

Mass media news has the strongest influence on the most susceptive of masses. It gives people the illusion of having control and being knowledgeable, when what they know is being dictated by the media. Facts and information provided by the media trick the masses into believing they are well informed enough to be persuaded. The agenda setting function is strengthened by the many mediums of news agencies. TV can be most persuasive for visual people (the footage presented can be a strong enough influence) while newspapers can enforce agenda by manner of speech dripping with bias, and images carefully selected to best reinforce their agenda; and today, social media is part of the problem with it combining the speed of news and the credibility of people.

Agenda setting of the masses to the masses can be even more influential. Social media and the general web present platforms that people can use to indulge in discussions. People themselves initiate the agenda setting by talking about the news in their social networks, where anyone and everyone can comment and speculate, and share their own take on the news. In fact, it has a powerful appeal of divergence that keeps enforcing the agendas for a verity of opinions and points of view. (Maxwell McCombs, 2005)

The weakest part of the theory is that media is not as effective when people are well informed. Information has never been as accessible as it is today; people can easily find out more about anything and see past the distortion of the media. Take the Pokemon propaganda I talked about earlier, what do you think really helped it catch fire? The news started talking about it by the year 2001, so the propaganda must have started and spread way before that. If we look at the internet use in the country back in the year 2000 it was a mere 2.2% of the population, and that’s according to the World Bank. People back then weren’t as tech savvy, to say the least, so there was no fear of people fact checking. The people behind it relied on ignorance of the masses to achieve their goal and take back their share of the market with the Pokemon franchise out of the picture. If people back then were as resourceful as we are today, I wouldn’t be even talking about Pokemons right now.


References:

A Wedding Without Drama

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Column Name: The Words Within
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.
Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

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Weddings should not have to be about pomp and glory, but rather an intimate celebration of a couple’s union and their transition into married life.

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (twitter: @DanaAlAttar, instagram: @madewithlove.dxb)

Weddings are seen as a major milestone, despite all other achievements that people may have accomplished in their lives. Marriage is also seen in the context of the Islamic faith as the fulfilling half of one’s faith. For many, the wedding day is an occasion that they have been looking forward to all their lives. Particularly for many females, weddings can be an occasion that they have been dreaming about since childhood along with the fairy tales they may have watched or read about. So when the big day finally happens, people tend to get excited making this fairy tale turn into reality. However, with such grand expectations in mind, the reality may not always stack up to that vision.

There is a lot of pressure on brides as they not only have to plan their own fairy tale wedding, but also ensure that it lives up to the expectations of their families and society. In today’s world where social media dominates, it has become even more daunting for bride-to-be’s, and as such, demands have escalated. Wedding planning can be a tedious event, with couples stressing over minute details, causing them to argue over centerpieces and lighting, and other factors that really are not worth fighting over.

These demands and societal pressures not only affect people in this region, but the world over. As a result, the term “bridezilla” came about to describe bride-to-be’s who have unreasonable demands and want whatever their heart desires for their big day. While in the west, it is usually common for the bride’s family to take care of the wedding expenses, being a ‘bridezilla’ may be more warranted. However, in our culture, it is customary for the groom’s family to manage the expenses. This is where challenges could arise if the bride and groom do not see eye to eye on the wedding arrangements. The pressure builds up on the groom and his family to live up to the expectations that the bride has set for the big day.

Wedding planners also take advantage and feed on this for profit by allowing the bride (or couple) to indulge in having this grand wedding, which no doubt costs a fortune. That is a major problem, as weddings can be very expensive and can burn the pockets of couples and their families, as they set out to have an extravagant and larger than life wedding. People go into debt to plan their wedding days and that is definitely not the best way to start off life as a married couple.

While a wedding is indeed a significant occasion and couples deserve to celebrate this special day, it is important to see the big picture and not fret over the wedding planning and arrangements, but rather what comes after. Weddings can be intimate affairs to mark a couple’s transition into married life, and this can be done without all the pomp and glory that we have become so accustomed to. The ultimate goal must be what comes after the wedding – a lifetime of marriage. This is what truly needs the couple’s energy and efforts, and what they should be looking forward to and planning for.

Couples must remember to just enjoy the moment and celebrate their union with friends and family. In the years to come, they may not remember that the flowers were not the right colors, or the music was not lively enough, but what they will remember is how much fun they had being young, in love, and eager to start off a new chapter in their life.

Holi-STAY – The Rise of Staycations!

Aida AlBusaidy (@AidaAlBusaidy)

Aida AlBusaidy (@AidaAlBusaidy)

Developmental Editor.
Aida has more than a decade experience in the communications, and mastering ceremonies field, she worked in private and public sectors, and now heads the Stakeholder Communications in Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing in Dubai. Aida was a columnist in few of the local newspapers, a TV co-host of a community talk show, and cofounded with friends a community platform: “Promise Of A Generation”.
Aida AlBusaidy (@AidaAlBusaidy)

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Exploring the concept of a “vacation” beyond the traveling on a boat/plane to a land beyond your comfort zone and discovering those lands and what it has to offer in a relaxing mode. Perhaps to discover something you might not need to travel so far away, sometimes the “unknown” is behind our backyard.

Artwork from U by Emaar

Summer holidays can be parents’ nightmare because you if you’re anything like me, you’ll start thinking of ways to keep your kids busy with summer camps, travel plans, budgeting and the likes. It becomes more of a second job to search and book for a holiday, so much so that you are exhausted by the time you’ve finished planning and before you’ve even traveled.

But summer holidays aren’t the only days that you can plan vacation or getaway ideas. In fact, with the multiple holidays or extended weekends linked to holidays, people have started looking at holidays in a manner that doesn’t require master planning. In this part of the world where we are blessed with Islamic holidays and National holidays, weekends can get extended to 3 days or weekend to weekend holidays.

Daycations, staycations and quick getaways have become so popular today than ever before. By definition a staycation is a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions. Daycations are similar but they are limited to a few hours and one tends to come back to their home before the night is over.

Day & staycations are becoming so popular as life gets busier. The reason behind that is because they break your daily routine and they give you the chance to experience your town or the neighboring one in a different view. As there are so many places to see and experience, you might not be able to fit it all in, so it’s easier to enjoy them in short bursts of holidays rather than longer ones.

The concept of staycations became popular (although they’ve always existed) during the 2008-2009 recession and could be seen amongst Americans and Britons who ditched their travel plans to make way for holidaying in their home countries to cut on spending. We’re lucky to live in a city like Dubai that encompasses a multitude of personalities, cultures, and nationalities. So exploring it should be a core aspect of our life even if it’s just a store down the corner.

Last summer, U by Emaar launched a survey which captured UAE resident’s aspirations and insights to staycations and I found the findings very similar to my own interests and needs.

Artwork from U by Emaar

For those planning a holiday, breaking up a long holiday seems to be much more effective, especially if you can move around familiar lands doing unfamiliar activities. I didn’t understand or value it until I had children, and how much I needed a break or even to just break out of routine. Though in my case, it helps working for the tourism authority where discovering the city is part of my day to day workflow.

Another plus point is resident discounts – it’s funny how we never ask for it. Ask your local pharmacy for a discount, and you would be surprised how quickly you get one being a resident of Dubai which complements the value for money.

So why opt for day and staycations? To be completely honest, as much as we say we “know” our city – and for me that city is Dubai – it’s the exponential growth of Dubai has given the word ‘discover’ a complete new meaning, and I love understanding what makes Dubai tick and what makes up its soul. Which is the exact same thing one should do when traveling anywhere else in the world. Discovering something new, be it culture, food, adventure and so on.

3 Main Reasons Employee Disengagement Is a Pandemic

Amina Hassan Islam (@ahechoes)

Amina is a Masdar Institute engineering graduate whose side hobby is discussing ideas on Creativity and Personal Development and blogs on http://ahscribbles.com/

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What are the main reasons employee disengagement has become so common in our workplaces?

Artwork by Nouf Bandar Elmoisheer (Instagram: @naufba)

Employee disengagement manifests itself in many ways; in the slow tempo and zoned-out looks of people as they perform their tasks, in taking far too many sick leaves for the tiniest of sniffles, and complete nonchalance in anything work-related that goes beyond their job description.

While companies try to fix productivity problems related to disengagement by sending their employees to seminars promising to triple their productivity, that’s just like putting a band-aid on the bullet wound. The author Simon Sinek, a motivational speaker and marketing consultant, made popular the concept of “Start with Why” in his book of the same title. So let’s start there; why are some people disengaged in their jobs?

One reason is a lack of meaning derived from the job. Sometimes your task in a corporate job is structured in a way that you fail to see the big picture. You’re stuck printing and stamping papers for so long that you start asking yourself, “Did I really go through four years of university to do this? Every day?”

I know a person who worked a corporate job where she had to sit the whole day idle because her job depended on another team’s results. At the end of the workday, she would run their data through a program and generate a report. The whole process was semi-automated except for her copy-pasting skills. While this is an extreme case, if your task is similarly repetitive and boring, you will feel like a replaceable piece of a heavy machinery, and it’s very hard to derive much meaning from what you spend 8 hours of your workdays doing.

Another reason for disengagement comes from low morale in a fear-filled environment and restrictive environment. When a person’s always afraid to lose their job and livelihood, it creates a culture of distrust where everybody is selfishly looking out for their own personal interests. Going to work always means having to look over your shoulder, which can be really exhausting.

Another type of environment is the one with such a rigid infrastructure that there’s no room for creativity and innovation. But someone might argue that a rigid infrastructure is important because it streamlines productivity and helps companies achieve their bottom-line. The argument is that companies can’t operate with no rules and regulations. It would be anarchy. That is only partly true.

To evaluate how rigid your internal infrastructure is, you – as a leader – need to listen to what’s going on among your employees and be aware of what happens at the interface between your employees and the customers (or businesses if it’s a B2B company). If employees need to get a thousand signatures before an idea is implemented, or if customers repeatedly hear comments like, “I’m sorry I can’t help you. It’s an online system and this is just the procedure,” and the result of that are hundreds and thousands of dissatisfied customers and helpless employees then maybe some things need to change.

Because the big picture is, these systems and procedures exist to help people, and not get them entangled like flies in a cobweb.

Last but not least, disengagement comes from a lack of passion in work being done. This is very common in the Arab world because kids from a young age are pushed into medicine, engineering, accounting or law, so they end up in a job they have no passion for. While it’s important to be passionate about what you do, I personally do not encourage the “Quit your job to follow your passion,” narrative either, because sometimes passion for a field comes after you’ve spent years building expertise. Also, the economic job market doesn’t adequately support some career paths, so some people – like writers – have to keep a day job to support their livelihood. But this discussion on passion is a very long one, so let’s leave it for another day.