When I sat down to write, I was surprised to have covered 9 full pages initially. Knowing that this is a considerable amount to read all at once, I'll break it down into smaller portions to be read at leisure.
So without further adieu, allow me to take you on a journey into the past, and thank you in advance for your time.
(All comments and criticisms are appreciated!)
Chapter 1 - The First Job
On December 10, 2006 I re-entered Kuwait, with a dream in my mind and a song in my heart. Back to the country where I had spent the majority of my young adult life, this time without the guise of requesting knowledge. I had returned on a visitor’s visa to find a job.
I did not know where to begin, I sent countless CVs to dozens of companies, went over all the ads in all the newspapers, but to no avail. The main prerequisite for finding employment in Kuwait was a “transferable residency”, which I did not have.
Fate, as it so often does, decided to take pity on me, and with her oh-so beautiful face flash me a brilliant smile. My search concluded a mere 11 days later, having interviewed and gotten accepted to work as an accountant for a local company with a myriad of operations that involved retail, engineering, agriculture and manufacturing. A friend of a friend knew that a manager at her company was looking for an English speaking accountant, submitted my resume, and I got a call to come in for an interview.
Little did I realize however, that I was heading down the wrong path; a path of depression and self doubt.
At the time, life seemed good. The manager, that had interviewed me did not discuss a salary, as he said he would “judge” my potential within the 3-months period and then give me a figure. I was not paid a red fils for that entire period. He gave me a line that I became equipped to hearing in all interviews I sat for, you have potential, I can mold you into something. So, I foolishly decided to leave my career in the hands of this seemingly pleasant stranger.
Initially, I had also applied to join NBK. Of course, getting into NBK required a few known associates, lets call it as it is – Wasta, and I remember stapling that Wastas business card to the front of my application as I sent it in. they called back for an interview, I took part, I got offered another job. I believe it would have been call center.
I discussed this with Tyrant, whom I had been working for for almost a week. His initial response was shock. He took that as a flaw in my character, already seeking other employment in spite of his taking me in. I weighted the options before hand; NBK was offering a call center job, erratic hours, a yet unknown salary, a friendly atmosphere of peers, and the chance to work for a bank. Whilst here, I was being offered an accountancy role, close to my field of study (I was a business admin major), and the potential to be “molded” into a manager at some point in time.
I declined the offer with NBK, deciding to stick to my current promise.
Destiny and fate intertwined, as this was but the first branching of career path. I am sure that in some alternate universe, Lord Aymz had indeed chosen to accept NBKs offer, and how his life turned out, I can only guess.
Working at that company, I got to slowly dip my feet in the work pool and garnish a modest understanding of accounts. I was nothing more than a glorified data entry analyst, and my seeming savior turned to be no more than a demented demon, a Tyrant, as he shall be referred to henceforth.
The place I was working was considered the head office for the multiple operations of this company, so everyone was either an accountant, a secretary, or a manager. It did not take me long to be introduced to the majority of the workplace, and to find out that I was the youngest one there. My friendly demeanor made many open up to me, and they turned my attention to the fact that no Arab national had ever lasted long with Tyrant. I heeded their warning, however, I had seen nothing, yet, to verify their claims.
Tyrant had a filthy work ethic; his department was made up of 4 accountants at the time, and I had joined them as a junior. I quickly discovered that internet access was prohibited, so I took to searching the office network for documents to quell my hunger for reading things on a screen, there I discovered the word “Bio Data”, which seemingly is a biological term of metrics, turned out to be nothing more than a fancy word for curriculum vitae.
The working hours were Saturday to Wednesday from 8am till 4pm, and a half-day on Thursday, from 8am till 1pm. This was before a two-day weekend was declared for all, or should I say, the majority of companies. Tyrant however, had other plans.
Tyrant demanded overtime, which is not a bad thing, on the surface, as we were getting paid for the time we remained in office, even if it was to just twiddle our thumbs. The jist of it was we were not allowed to think of leaving until 6pm, you needed permission to leave on time, imagine that. Later, I came to realize that this tactic was to dispel the possibility of his accountants seeking interviews with other companies.
In all honesty, for the first 3 months of my employment, I had felt no ill-will from Tyrant. I was beginning to wonder if people were wrong about him; despite seeing his hard, rough, crude demeanor with others, he had been relatively easy with me. His vile side was that he would literally wipe the floor with his other accountants, with a thunderous, bellowing voice, in front of everyone. There is an Arabic saying which goes along the lines of, if you wish you criticize me, do it in private, if you wish to praise me, do it in public. With him it was the opposite.
I put in the overtime, tried as much as I could to learn something useful, and passed the time by reviewing more bio-data’s.
Time, as it has a habit of doing, passed. And the 3-months visit visa came to an end. I was then to travel back to Egypt and process the documents for my permanent visa. The first nail in the coffin of my career as an accountant with that company came with the declaration of my salary; it was below what I expected, contrary to his words of “molding” me into something. I shrugged it off, considered it to be me paying my dues, doing my time in the trenches. I did however voice my indignation to Tyrant.
After 3 months of grueling work, with countless hours of overtime, I was finally on my way back home, a rest of around 20 or days as I ran cross-country to finish my paperwork, got x-rayed, poked by needles, spilt blood and sweat to finish in due time, all the while calling Tyrant by phone to update him on my status.
My paperwork was done, and surprisingly, coincidentally, fate once again intervened to plot this auspicious occasion, as the day of my return coincided with 3 joyous occasions.
My birthday. My younger brother’s birthday and his graduation.
Yes, April 21st 2007, I was back in Kuwait, with residency process papers in hand, ready to celebrate both my birthday, my young brothers birthday, along with his graduation – all on the same day.
Then came the change at the workplace that set of a series of events that would prove the most beneficial to me.
Tomorrow, we shall see why I refer to Tyrant as such, and how he turned a full 180, from good to devil in under 3 seconds.