Last night was a rare occasion that I visit a friend in Abu dhabi and have a long chat along with dinner, without having to check messages, read BBMs, answer phone calls (liar, I did answer one call) or see any tweets or Facebook remarks. She invited me to a nice place, a hotel built to resemble a dolphin from the outside, and the guys kandoora and Besht from the inside. Yas hotel, it's truly an artistic creation, the way it was decorated, the types of furntiture, very beautiful. It actually tempted me to move to Abu Dhabi.
Anyway, dinner was great, but greater was the discussion! We were talking about jobs, businesses and how to do well in life, and the reality of things, she said that networking is so important, and kowing the right people helps a lot in settling oneself in the right place, she said that you may get what you want by networking, but to stay in the job, or do well in the business you must also have the brain to keep them. Of course I cannot argue with that! She is absulutely correct, and that is why social media had mushroomed and grown. Nowadays if you want to share an item, you need to choose from a page long list!!!
Of course I was thinking, I do network, I have a lot of friends on facebook, twitter etc, and I blog, so I have something to show for my time here, but is this what she meant? As the discussion continued I realised that it is not what she means.
She asked me how long have I stayed in UAE. And how many of my networks have I used to get out of trouble, or ask for help, or to make deals, or to find a better job, the list of needs of a human being can go on and on, which made me shrink in my place really. I was trying to find one person who I can go to to get out of trouble, if say my son or daughter fight with someone and go to prison! Or if I need to do an operation and have to get a certain doctor, or if mum needs something urgently while she is in a foreign land. Or, or, and or. Of course I couldn't think of anyone in particular who will help me in those times of needs. Then she said, what about new business deals and contracts? I said none I did use my dad's friend once, but that was it, so "you have been living, but you are a survivor" she said. Okay, I know where that discussion will take me. This friend knows that I have a lot of experience, that I have never let go of studying, never ever failed when it comes to doing a good job; but she also knows that I am not making a killing, and have to write on a piece of paper every day, what I need to do to cover my expenses (in finance we call it budgeting, she calls it scraping through!!).
So, she is waiting for my answer, I pondered upon the remark, and admitted, that yes I have been a survivor, so she said, why should you be a survivor only? She said that if one has the right qualities then one has to make it in life, and it is not just luck, but you have to make it. I tried to defend myself, that I am not living in my own country where families know each other, blablabla, or by saying that in UAE people do not like using their networks. She knows of course that I am making up things now to say. She stopped me, and said that if we do not help others, or get the help of others we will either be on the sidelines (and we deserve to be in the middle or forefront as we worked hard for it)or will be survivors only. She of course has a different idea about networking, she believes in the correct face to face networks, or family friends network, for example the rotary club is such thing. I am in some of these networks! Mostly women only! But have i ever called any of the women if I was in trouble? No, have I ever called the top guy in an organisation to get a contract through? have I ever gotten the big breaks from governmental jobs even though we can make it a success? No, okay, so basically, I am in deep shit, excuse my French. Since I started work, and then business I don't use anyone, of course I myself is often asked to help, but not the opposite. So I mentioned to her about a project that I was trying to sell to the goverment in the UAE that will give them a minimum of 250 million dollars a year, and that till now I am not able to reach the right guy to accept my project (don't take me wrong, I do want something out of it) she said, well stuff like this you will have to go to the sheikhs or someone who knows the Sheikhs? But do I know any Sheikh? Then she asked me about my project in Bahrain, if that went through? I said no I am still waiting for the approval (so far one year) so she gave me that look which means, "Suad, all your hard work and perseverance will go down the drains if you do not know the right people!"
I need to think more of her comments of course, today I am going to write a list of who I know in this country to get me somewhere. Watch this space guys.