Life at work can get hectic often. Shocking!!...... I know.
We all go through some stressful times at work. Whether we are running from one meeting to the next, staying up late to meet certain deadlines or dealing with changes that are, many times, outside of our control. We all experience a certain degree of stress that ebbs and flows in our professional lives. All that takes a toll on us, our psyche and morale; we get frustrated, tired, and feel overwhelmed. All of which are natural responses to stressors that push us to question our career choices and/or the environment in which we work. We seek validation for expending so much emotional energy and ask ourselves "Why do I work here?", "What's the point of doing all of this ?", "I wonder what kind of other job opportunities are out there?" and most of us would then search for answers to these questions. Some might look for a mentor to help them navigate through it, others might look at the end result of the project causing the stress or the financial reward that would come from going through such period. While others might look at the work environment and decide that it is green enough right where they stand just as others, unfortunately, might not see a way through these periods except out.
I have gone through a lot of the same frustrations and struggles and asked myself the same questions many times. I have looked for answers in many different ways, sometimes at different places, and as I grew professionally I developed a variety of coping mechanisms. Recently however, the most successful weapon in my armamentarium has been........a bag of chips. Yup, a bag of chips! the one pictured above to be exact.
See, a couple of years ago I ran into one of my colleagues at the vending machine at work. We were both reaching for the same kind of chips and had a good chuckle about how we both indulge in such a guilty pleasure. A couple of weeks later, I bought a couple of bags and went up to his office for a quick break. We chatted as we enjoyed the jalapeno crunchy goodness. A little while later, I walked into my office only to find a bag of chips on my desk. I knew exactly who it was from and the gesture brought a huge smile to my face. From that moment on, this became our norm. And the chips exchange became more and more meaningful because we started leaving it for each other at the times when we knew that the other needed a little "hey, you're doing a good job and will get through this". It's not the chips itself (although I do thoroughly savor a good bag of jalapeno chips) but the gesture behind the bag. The thought that someone else sees how hard you're working and appreciates it. The thought that there is someone to listen to you if needed.
Many a times it's the little things that make a big difference. A thank you note to someone, or a "hey let's grab lunch" or even a bag of chips would get someone out of their funk and break them out of their cycle of stress. Be that person to your colleagues and I am certain that the favor will be returned and work will begin to feel less like....work.
I want to share this new chapter of my family's life with you. We bought a house and moved in over the weekend.
I hesitated to post anything on social media about that because of all the depressing news going around about those who are struck with heartbreaking calamities. How could I "flaunt" the fact that I can afford a new home while others are struggling to find a peaceful night under the shade of a tree. How could I share my joy while others are going through unimaginable sadness? But then I remembered a verse in the Quran:
Holy Quran 93:11
وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ
And proclaim the grace of your lord
God wants us to share our joys and celebrate the bounties he bestows upon us. Not to "flaunt" it, not to arrogantly boast about it but to show gratitude for what he has given us and to remember that He can just as easily take it away from us.
One can easily fall into helpless depression when trying to fathom the ugly that exists in our world. I am not saying don't raise awareness about issues that plague our humanity, we all need to know. But we also need to know what blessings do exist in our lives and not lose sight of them.
If you strive to make the world a better place to live, then please don't get caught in the ugly side of our humanity. Remember that beauty that still exists, share your joys and celebrate what God has given you.
My joy is not the new house. My joy is friends who are always there to lend a helping hand. My wife and I are forever indebted to Abdul Mutlek and his two brothers, Harith Fahmi Jalalluddin and his brother Faris Jalalluddin for their tremendous help this weekend. We couldn't have moved into this new chapter of our lives without their help. Of course, Zubair A. Khan and Hajira Khan are family that makes this house a home.
All praise and thanks are due to almighty God for His countless blessings.
Palestinian, Muslim, American, Husband, Father, Academic, Pharmacist, Coffee Addict, Nutella phene, Pseudo writer, Soccer player, former Canadian, Community servant, Pinch hitter imam, interfaith ninja, Intellectual vigilante, and the undisputed KING of snark