When I made the decision to move from working online at home to working in an office, I trusted my instincts and knew it was the right thing to do. As convenient as it was to simply shift from one room to another and log onto my working life at the switch of a button, there was always something that felt intrinsically wrong – as if I hadn’t made a real transition into my working role.
The institution I was representing at the time wasn’t the most supportive or inclusive either which compounded the feeling of isolation. In total, the setup did not lend itself to a feeling that I was valued in society, or that my presence – or absence- in this world made a difference to anyone. That’s when I knew something had to give. I threw in the towel and decided to jump in at the deep end and force myself to not sink to the bottom of the sea. For six months, I searched for a new opening. A new beginning.
Alhamdulillah, it paid off. Now, I’m in a job where I interact with adults and what an eclectic mix of people they are! But that’s where the challenge and simultaneous satisfaction lies. I have face-to-face human transactions every day with people from all walks of life and different backgrounds. It’s exactly the kind of thing I cherish. Coming from a past where I’ve lived and worked amongst a diverse range of people in different countries, I love these such encounters. Not only do I learn about others but they also learn a little bit about me or what I represent as a Muslim woman. I’ve always been an ardent advocate of the idea that these such interactions are opportunities to educate one party about the other.
Although it is early days still, I can say that I’ve never woken up for work feeling a sense of dread or tedium. Perhaps a few more months and years may change my perspective. However, the thought that sustains me is that I believe Allah has been generous in the first place by giving me this opportunity to ease my way back into mainstream work after a long hiatus. Knowing that this is all His design, helps keep me in check. I can’t afford to waste the chance to make it a success.
This is why when I think of work I say to myself, “I am busy living. I am not busy making a living.”
Of course, there’s no denial that a reasonable paycheck at the end of the month is very welcome. However, that was never the sole incentive to go out into the world of work. Right now, the driving force for going out to work is to maintain my sanity and self-worth. I want to be part of a bigger project. Given my sons are these days self-reliant, my role as mother has become increasingly narrow and so the time is ripe to contribute to this world in other ways. Whilst my paid job isn’t anything to write home about, it is still a heartwarming feeling to know I may have positively impacted someone’s life in a small way each day.
It’s taken several years to get to the mental state where I am but I always knew it was a work in positive progress, Alhamdulillah. Being still and stagnating were never options I would have subscribed to for myself. When friends advised me to get busy post-divorce, I knew they were speaking with the benefit of personal experience but I needed time to figure out what ‘busy’ was going to look like for me. I believe I’ve found that balance where work is not something that consumes my life. It serves me rather than the other way around. And that’s how I wish it to always remain, insha’Allah. I am living a life now where I see everything around me as a blessing.
This phase of my life is the best that was to come…and came, Alhamdulillah.