Part 3 – My Life in Exchange for Yours – Twice Saved

With the day of my brother’s wedding looming on the horizon, and no sign of a give from Tyrants position, as well as no bite from the other job offer with the other company, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and spoke to another compatriot at the office, a different manager in charge of a different branch, with a department of 2, compromised of him and his senior accountant. I told him of my predicament, and he took pity on me. Not before however, Tyrant saw me in his office and ordered me out.

That day Tyrant informed me that it was within his ability to fire me and send me packing.

Luckily for me, help was on the horizon. Everyone was aware of Tyrants maniacal tyranny. Early one morning as I was sitting with another manager (I shall call him Mouse, and the reason as to that name shall be revealed later) and telling him stories of the hardships I have had to go through in Tyrants department, none other than Tyrant himself barged in and ordered me out of Mouse’s office, then proceeded to harangue Mouse for allowing me to waste office time. That single incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back Mouse came to my rescue and requested an internal transfer.

Tyrant finally accepted, much to his chagrin, to have the last laugh, he decided to record my transfer as having occurred at the beginning of the month, despite us being in the middle, so that my measly salary, in its entirety, would fall solely on the head of Mouse.

Mouse agreed, and I was finally free of my depression, which had manifested itself in a loss of appetite, lack of sleep, loss of weight and a general lethargy that had me dreading the idea of waking up in the morning, for fear of the clash that was imminent to occur that day.

Mouse was very kind, and his senior accountant was also a gem, her name was SMASH, she did not tax me much in terms of workload. The difference between the two departments was what areas of the empire they were responsible for; Mouse was handling agriculture, different retail and real estate. The main difference was, this operating system was in Arabic, whereas as Tyrants was in English. The reason Mouse requested me in his department was for my English, which proved to be the single greatest asset in my arsenal when applying for jobs.

Fate had it in store for me to learn to type in my native language, which seemed a daunting task at first, but I am thankful for it nowadays, as I can truly use the mantle of bilingual. And, it came in very handy, as later it shall be revealed.

The wedding came and went, and it was a glorious bash of epic proportion. Two weeks later I was back at work, striving diligently to prove myself to Mouse and work hard.

Luckily for me, Mouse’s department’s PCs came with internet access. And it is with this small gift that Fate and Destiny truly smiled in unison upon me.

Now, for all intents and purposes, I came to realize that this career was a dead-end job. One could not claim for a raise until a period of 3 years elapsed on their employment with the company. These were the words spoken by Mouse himself. I was in no position to argue.

Once upon a fine day, Mouse went on vacation, and left SMASH in charge; as I went about performing my diligent daily functions, it came to me, at that moment in time, to Google the term “accountant jobs in Kuwait”, and I came across a website, for a company I hadn’t heard of, in a position I felt I wouldn’t fit in, but nonetheless, I applied.

The one thing I had made at that local company was connections, and one of them was a rugged American contractor, Phil, who loved to walk about whistling. Upon hearing him speak I was instantly drawn to his office, which happened to be a mere couple of feet away from me, as it was the first proper accent I heard since first joining the ranks of that company.

After establishing a friendship with him, it was his advice to not be afraid to send resumes all over the world, and all over the country, never be afraid of a cold shoulder. Apply to jobs you are under-qualified for, no resume goes unread, and at most you will serve to increase their candidate pool, so that when such time occurs that they have an opening suitable for you, you will be contacted.

Mouse was not on the Phil-boat, he viewed him as a threat for some reason, as he was required to pay Phil’s salary through his department.

During this time, the company at Al-Ardiya once again decided to give me a call, having kept me on hold for 2 months or so, and inform me that there is another position open. I went and met with the same HR guy again, took another couple of exams and was ready to be made an offer to.

It was much less than the last offer they made me. In actual fact, it was the same amount I was getting paid currently with this company.

I toiled with the thought of whether or not to make the jump, negotiating with the HR guy for an increase, a mere 10% increase over my current salary. As it stood, I was being offered the same salary, but this company was much larger, hence the possibility of promotion was always there.

When I reached an agreement with the HR guy as to an increase in their offer, again, a mere 10%, it took me a day or so to cement the idea in my mind and call him back to confirm my acceptance.

I was shocked to hear him tell me he had found another candidate willing to do the job for less, and that my offer had expired.

I will never forget that HR guy’s name, neither his smug attitude.

Suffice to say, destiny had another plan for me, and again, that 2 day delay worked in my favor, as it was later to reveal itself.

Mouse discovered my online activity and sought to put an end to it by cutting off my internet. Again, the mind works in mysterious ways, and despite not knowing how to, I was able to re-instate my internet connection, due to the fact that his senior accountant was on vacation and I compared our settings, hence I was able to continue upon my quest of sending a resume to every company in the State of Kuwait that was hiring.

I learnt later that SMASH was also upset at Mouse for his inability to grant her a decent raise, despite her having served her 3 year initial period. To compensate, he agreed to have the company pay an amount to send her to one of those 2-day workshops that offer you a certificate in the end, right here in Kuwait. I was asked if I was interested, but I declined, as in the name of self improvement, I had already signed up with a training institute to partake in a course that would see me add a title to the end of my name, the course was due to start in January, however, it got delayed, and in the greater scheme of things, that delay was a godsend.

Later on, she found a better position in a different company and jumped ship. She was made to pay for the course she attended on this company’s dime, the one I previously had turned down, and January 2008 marked her departure from the company.

On a fine day in January, I received a pleasant call from the audit office I mentioned above, asking me to come in for an interview. They had a written exam I had to take, and that was a 3-hour ordeal they said, so I had to make up an excuse of car-trouble to ditch again. Mouse was not amused but conceded nonetheless.

At the time, I had what would be considered long-ish hair, to others. To me it was just hair, at cheek length, nowhere near as long as it used to be during my years of university. I showed up, in a my current attire for work, formal shirt and cotton pants, and proceeded to meet with 2 people at that office; Sun, the manager, and Moon, the senior of the department. I was given the exam, followed by a translation, Arabic to English and vice versa, which, thanks to my current 6-month stint in an Arabic accounting position, I was able to glide over with ease.

Sun, called me back a while later, and I went in for another interview. Despite having failed the entrance exam, he was extremely pleased with me; the translation of that Ministerial document sealed the deal.  Honestly, it came from a lifetime of reading John Grisham novels, as the majority of the passages I was working with where Ministry related, and hence had a dab of law to them. Again, I heard the mold and potential line, feeling all the while like a pile of clay or putty.
There was however a catch; the HR manager there, as well as Moon, the senior in the department, had requested that in order to offer me a contract I must first present myself to them in a suitable form –with shorter hair.

This is what I looked like when I applied:

And this is me during my rebelious uni days on the beach at Sharm, see? That is long hair! The one above was not!

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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