Confessions of a Saudi Diva: FAQ’s about being Saudi and Arab Culture (Part Twenty One)


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Saudi Diva and taking major life decisions


It’s interesting how almost every time I meet someone and we have a casual conversation, a question arises from the FAQ’s that I’ve been addressing in this series of posts! The most recent incident was at a new specialty coffee shop launch event, where an Australian woman flooded me with an avalanche of questions about my country, life and personal preference to not wear a hair scarf in a matter of minutes from meeting her for the first time. Of course I directed her to my blog and sent her the link the next day so she can find all the answers to her questions 🙂

I believe that there’s no point in me repeating myself to people when all of their queries are explained in detail in this blog. Isn’t that the whole point of these culture posts after all?

Continuing with the endless story of how I attempted to leave home and Saudi and since I only have about 40 minutes before my laptop’s battery dies, let’s get straight to the point.

After graduating from the University of Bahrain and not knowing where exactly to look for jobs (read part twenty to understand this), I managed to get a role in an IT department in Saudi Aramco. However, I was working as a contractor employee. After around one year of working in that department, I left and a few months later joined a different department in Saudi Aramco (ECC Help Desk), also working as a contractor employee. Because of time and boring content reasons, I will skip explaining this job and move to when I decided to leave a corporate job in IT support with Saudi Aramco. I did mention a few things about the type of environment in a previous post though. So you can read about that side of the job. Good luck in locating that blog post as I myself can’t be bothered to go back to search for it and link to it 😀

Today, I won’t talk about my second attempt to leave Saudi and where that took place. Because I believe that there’s a very important aspect of that decision that  must be discussed first. While attending a Lifestyle Design Workshop in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago, I was asked by the course instructor about the reason that made me make that decision and how I overcame fear. Since for most people who are looking for a major change in their lives, whether that transformation is related to their careers, personal or relationship choices, there’s always a significant element of fear in the equation.

When I answered the question at the workshop, I forgot to mention a YouTube video that I had watched at my office desk while I was still working in IT support. I was miserable in my role, I didn’t think the job matched my character or interests and I reached a point where I couldn’t tolerate the situation any longer. The first thing that gave me the power to decide to leave my job was Steve Job’s inspirational speech at Stanford University. You can watch it here.

The part that resonated with me the most was when he said: “If you’re not happy doing what you’re doing and you don’t look forward to the next day, then it’s time for change.” Or something like that. I haven’t watched that video since 2008 – shortly before I made the decision to quit my corporate IT support job.

I’m not saying that I wasn’t thinking of a change before watching that video, but Steve Jobs’ motivational words were definitely the main catalyst behind my decision. It was like the tip of the iceberg, as they say. The last straw. I just needed someone wise to tell me to make the move and it happened to be Steve Jobs.

I was also asked at the Lifestyle Design Workshop if I had any regrets about my decision. We were mainly talking about my major decision to leave home and Saudi and not specifically about quitting my job. I answered that I had no regrets so far. Honestly, I was only being diplomatic in a room full of educated, professional and intelligent women. But the real answer is: “I genuinely wish I had made that decision much earlier.” So not only do I not regret it, I actually think it was such a wise and positive decision that I should’ve made it a long time ago. But of course: a) everything happens for a reason. b) I’m explaining to you now how I did try to make that move when I was only 18 and I failed. So it’s not like I haven’t given it a go when I was much younger.

I plan to write another post about how my late decision has affected me as a person, and how it largely influenced my character and my relationships with others. This will be an interesting post for everyone who is looking to take a big or risky life changing decision.

After quitting my corporate IT support job in the summer of 2008, I spent a whole year discovering myself and my interests, career prospects, reading spiritual books (more details into that later) and reading the Quran. I would say that taking a spiritual approach towards my decision was the main empowering element that helped me take that big leap.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make to pack everything that is of importance to me and to leave. At that time, no one knew that this would be a one-way trip and that I wouldn’t visit home again. Until today, I’m not certain that I won’t be back. As some external factors might force me to go back or to visit. But what I know is that the words of a former colleague at my first internship in Dubai were right. She told the editor or another lady at the office (I can’t remember): “Yes, she left Saudi and she’s not going back.” All I recall is that at that time, I myself wasn’t 100% certain that I will never be back. This conversation was sometime in May or June of 2010 – shortly after I first moved to Dubai. Almost six years later, I still haven’t visited Saudi or been back for any reason.

To find out what happened when I moved from Saudi to London in August of 2009 (the last time I was in Saudi), stay tuned for the next blog post.

I hope that you found some inspiration in this post to make a life-altering decision. I believe that we should all have the courage to leave negative life situations that might limit our progress and hold us back from our life purposes and dreams.

Wishing you a lovely and inspirational week ahead XXX

Note: I actually had to go back home to continue writing this post, as my laptop didn’t give me 40 minutes. The battery died much sooner than that.

Saudi Diva signing off XXX

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Saudi Diva talks Arab culture


  • hebasharaf10 says:

    We all at some time of our lives receive these hidden messages or some kind of a sign . In your case it was Steve Job’s speech . Only the wise & brave see and follow the sign and you DID 🙂
    I applaud your courage and respect it . It is not easy and some how heartbreaking to feel that you do not want to go home again . But i do understand when a person reaches to that point .
    God Bless you habibti xx

    • Nada says:

      Aww, thank you Heba for the lovely words. It’s so refreshing and relieving to connect with someone who understands your struggles and mission. Sadly, not many people understand what we go through. Since they haven’t been through similar experiences or have found themselves in similar life situations. We have so many things in common and we share many personal traits as well. Because some women, despite being in oppressive situations, might not think for themselves or stand up for what they believe in. Your comments always uplift my mood and I look forward to hearing your views and thoughts about various culture topics. Thank you for the continuous support – it means a lot to me. XXX

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