Battered and burned-out, I walked out of a dump they called a company. No one said goodbye. My bully boss, who was never hired by anyone but his family, told me I’d end up in a barn. I told him I’ve always worked for multinational companies. He said, “That was in the past”.

Plans? None. Probably fly home and make a confession to my parents and friends: I took the wrong decision.

No, wait. I could try just one last time before I left Damascus for good.

I walked out of a job interview after being told the company could not afford to hire me — which was probably the diplomatic alternative to, “You don’t deserve the package you’re asking for.”

I called a prospective employer who showed so much interest during the interview and said they would like me to meet the CEO in a week, but probably forgot although they’ve been trying to get me on-board for more than 1.5 years. Their HR Manager picked up and said, “What?” For a split second, I thought I might have dialed the wrong number and ended up calling some illegal abortion services clinic where a grumpy nurse in cheap stilettos answered the phone as she chewed gum and gave herself a manicure.

“Ummm…” I stuttered then said, “This is Anan, you invited me for an interview and we agreed that we’d — ”

“You want feedback on the interview?” She interjected.

I thought they told me I was the perfect hire. “Ummm… yes.”

“I’ll send it by email.”

“Do you wish to see me for a second meeting?”

“By email… by email.” She hung up. No email message ever arrived from her.

I went to a park which overlooked the good city of Damascus. I saw coal-black smoke rise in the horizon.

A woman sitting nearby smacked her son. I wished she’d smacked me instead.

I drifted back to the day when my Arabic teacher in grade 4 told me I was a failure because I was not good at my mother tongue and chose English over it.

My nose was ice-cold, but it didn’t matter. I stood on a cliff. Somehow, my acrophobia disappeared, but I didn’t wish to jump. I wished to grow wings and fly. I recalled a scene from “X-Men: The Last Stand” when Warren Worthington III was trying to cut his wings off to hide his mutation and my sister exclaimed, “Moron! I wish I had these!”

Three years ago, I had a great job and I constantly received offers from multinational companies. I had no idea how job-hunting was done because great job offers always landed in my lap… and when I finally decided I wanted to pick my employer and job myself, I picked a sh*thole, gave them a call and told them I wished to be a corporate stooge.

Three years ago, I was sort of at the top of my game in a tougher market, but I wanted a more adventurous life. I craved hardship. I wished to change my profession. I thought it would be fun… little did I know I’d end up working with a gang of psychopaths.

I went home and decided I would sob the night away, but tomorrow, I won’t shed a tear and won’t remember a thing. And so I did.

A few days later, I received a good job offer at a reputable company here in Damascus. I crossed my fingers and accepted it.

Every morning, I smiled like sunshine. Everyone told me I was filled with optimism and radiated positive energy. One of my coworkers suspected I was madly in love, and I said, “No, but I wish.” No one believed me.

Since I decided to greet every new day with a grateful, generous smile, things started to get better. I received several offers as a freelance copywriter and translator. I received multiple full-time job offers in 4 different countries — all eager to sponsor my visa as soon as I said yes. A celebrity called me up and said he enjoyed my sense of humor and wished I’d work for him as a ghostwriter to inspire his fans. He said I could write anything I wanted.

Most recently, the HR Manager who hung up on me months ago, called, apologized for the ‘inconvenience’ and told me they wished I would join their team ASAP because I would add tremendous value. I thanked her and told her I waited for feedback from them but they never called, so I accepted another offer and signed a contract. She got apologetic again and said I could join after a month if I wished, but I diplomatically told her I was not interested.

She called again in a few days and told me she prepared a great offer for me, so I said I’d think about it — with no plans to ever consider anything from a perspective employer who hangs up on good talents.

Originally published at