So I sit here, on a scorching Friday morning, trying to break through the frustration that has created a solid force field around the creative juices in my head.
Bits of inspiration are trickling through, but it’s not enough…so I am going to sit here and tell you the reason why I have lost motivation. Motivation for writing, that is.
In the hustle of settling into a new city, I spent the summer glued to my laptop in an attempt to relax and de-stress from the endless cycle of job applications that went out and remained unanswered. It was becoming imperative to secure a steady source of income as things in the concrete desert did not come cheap.
As the molten afternoons turned into warm evenings, my inbox remained empty. Looking for a distraction, I surfed the internet until Wentworth Miller’s gorgeous features coloured my screen, and I found myself lost in an episode of Prison Break.
For the next 45 minutes, I forgot my financial predicament and enjoyed the brother’s battling for freedom. Over the next few episodes, a slow addiction began, until all too soon the series ended, leaving me back in Dubai with real issues to deal with. Craving for a new distraction, I focused my efforts on a blank Word document wishing for inspiration to hit me. When it didn’t come, I began applying for jobs I knew I had no chance of getting. At least no one could blame me for not trying.
With the summer holidays over and school in session, I still had no luck with an interview and narrowed my search to fit around the school run. Two weeks on, I received an email from a school asking me to come in for an interview. Overjoyed, I confirmed a time for the next day and arrived 15 minutes early dressed in my no-nonsense formal teaching attire.
40 minutes on and I was still waiting for my interview with the principal. When I was finally called in, there was no apology from the woman in charge, who was busy perusing my CV. She began her round of questioning and it became clear that she had no idea what position I had been short-listed for. Her questions were irrelevant and I fumbled for a polite way to ask her why they had called me in.
With the interview over in seven minutes, I was shown the door and told to wait by the phone for an answer. I wasn’t stupid. The woman wasn’t interested and it was written all over her face. Dejected, I returned home and took my place at my desk, determined to work on my book. I simply had to find the energy to finish it.
I sat staring at another blank Word document. And an hour later, I had only written two sentences. The energy I was channeling refused to flow from my fingers. Instead, as if on auto-pilot I clicked onto a online-streaming website and selected an episode of Revenge. And just like that, over the next few weeks, I blasted through many hours and hours of programs such as The Client List and Pretty Little Liars.
Dispirited at not securing a job, I engrossed myself in the lives of the on screen characters and tried not to think about life in Riyadh, where getting a job was straightforward and simple. Spending so much time with my laptop was not only numbing my brain cells, but the knock-on effect on my body was breathtakingly shocking. The weight piled on and went unnoticed until a certain family member commented via Skype, “hey Mavie. You’re looking a little healthy, eating well?” they said.
Pulling myself away from the laptop I took a good long look in the mirror. Yes, I did look rounder. I knew how it had happened. The late night snacks and lack of exercise allowed the pounds to creep up unnoticed. Horrified, I sank to the floor, disgusted with myself. That was it - I had to do something about the couch-potato stance I had adopted. I had to stop feeling sorry for myself. If I didn’t help myself, then no one would.
The very next day, I enrolled in a gym class and forced myself to set a productive routine. One day at a time I would focus my energy and produce something constructive.
That was three days ago.
And in that three days, every muscle in my body has screamed for mercy. I have managed to drop a few pounds and produce bundles of energy that has forced me to fill lengthy and complex job application forms.
I have also taken the first few steps of getting back into writing. During the last few weeks, I have scaled a steep learning curb that has taught me to get out there and make an effort. I can’t control having a steady income, but I can control the things that matter to me; my family, my body, and my writing.
The Dubai job market is extremely competitive. Businesses demand the best from its employees. They want people with previous experience and relevant qualifications and rightly so. But what opportunities do ladies like me have? The ones who come back into the field after several years of rearing children? Don’t get me wrong – there are hundreds of jobs out there – but would you work for 2,000 dirhams a month? 9 hours a day?
Or would you take a position that paid 9,000 and above but required you to travel abroad with your boss?
What is the job market like in your country? If you are a mother, how do you handle the school run and work? Leave your answers in the comments section below.