In 2013, I was fresh out of University, looking to join the workforce in Dubai. A friend of mine from University, Aleksandar, had just started working at the ENTERTAINER and was looking for a team of interns to roll out the project he was coordinating.
Seeing the opportunity, I jumped in and joined the team, along with two additional interns, Daniel O and Graeme. We literally worked our way from the bottom. Our first task involved driving across Dubai, and later across the entire UAE, to hand out scanning devices to all our participating merchants. It wasn't long before we were named the “Device Boys".
We did such a good job that a few months in, we were later entrusted with training the same merchants on the functionality of the App which had just launched. Again, driving all over the UAE. This taught me a great deal about work ethic. Little did I know that would just be the first lesson of so many.
At the time, there were less than 100 people working in the Dubai offices and I've seen us grow to an entire floor of almost 200.
There are many advantages (and lessons to be learned) when starting out your career in a smaller (but growing) company, here are three:
- The opportunity to participate
Throughout my internship, I was given the opportunity to interact with the different departments and teams within the company. No job was too small or too big and I got to see how one small thing could affect a huge part of the business. It wasn’t always easy, but Daniel, Graeme and I were always eager to learn more and know more. Around five months into the internship, all three of us were offered full time positions with the company, which Daniel and I immediately accepted. Graeme unfortunately, felt his calling elsewhere; in the food and beverage industry. Becoming full time, Daniel and I were given more responsibility which we fully embraced.
At the annual conference, we received an award as the X-Men, due to our willingness to jump in and help wherever we could.
- Being part of a global team
During the internship I was afforded the opportunity to travel to Kuwait and Bahrain for work. When we were made permanent, even more possibilities to travel the world were presented to me. I got to see the wonderful island of Cyprus, where I landed with only a set of printed maps, a rental car (on the wrong side of the road) and a mission to drive across the island. That was fun!
Another country I got to visit was Egypt. I must admit, seeing the great pyramids of Giza and going across the Nile as part of my job was something that I could have ever dreamt of or thought was possible.
- Choosing my own path
About a year later, once our project had quietened down, it was time for our team to start dispersing into the rest of the company. I had shown an interest in Salesforce, the customer relationship management tool used by the company, so I got the opportunity to join our HR department.
It was great to get to know all the new employees joining the company and interact with all our worldwide offices. A year later, I had expanded my knowledge into Salesforce and was approached with an opening to join our E-business team. Four years since the beginning of my journey, I am still growing in my role, in terms of both knowledge and challenges to overcome, and cannot wait to see what the future has in store.
[Daniel can be seen sporting a Movember moustache to help raise awareness on men's health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide.]