This is the title of the article which I wrote for Us magazine almost 20 years ago. I think it was really straight from the heart, so it found place under the slug ‘A Page of My Diary’.
At that time, I was a struggling youth; an angry young woman who had lots of grievances against the system. I grumbled at the insensitivity of people who were not ready to give me space in job market. I was frustrated; despite applying at a number of places, I didn’t get many interview calls and where I was called for job interview, I was rejected. I was convinced that a good reference is very necessary to get a job. But the truth is, the only person who can help yourself is you. And to borrow a quotation, “I am grateful to all those who said no to me, because after they said no, I did it myself.”
In retrospect, I realize that the ordeal and disappointments were the way of nature to make me a strong person.
I did masters in Mass Communication from University of the Punjab. I belong to a far flung area of the Punjab, Dera Ghazi Khan. When I started hunting for a job, I realized that it was not easy. I applied at various places including advertising agencies and newspapers. But, I failed to find a job. So, I started to work in a national daily newspaper, ‘The Nation’ as a freelance writer. It was my parent organization as I also did my internship from there as part of my degree requirement.
Two years passed but I was unable to land a job. I started going to ‘The Nation’, despite not getting any monetary benefit. At least I was getting experience. And, I am sure you would agree that there is no substitute for experience. Anyway, I had no other option but to struggle. Finally, I got a job as trainee sub-editor there for a meager salary of Rs 4500 only. But, for me, it was a great achievement. I still remember that I had to reach there at 9am and mark my attendance at reception and leave office at 5pm. I had to use public transport to reach office and had to change at least two buses. But someone has rightly said that the days that break you are the days that make you.
After working there for two and a half years, the management decided to end the morning shift. Being a girl, it was not possible for me to work in the evening shift till night. I met my editor and other high ups and requested to be shifted to ‘magazine section’ but again I met with disappointment as no one was ready to accommodate me. So, I was rendered jobless once again.
After that I had a short stint with different newly established newspapers including dummy newspaper The Sun International and The Post. But I kept on struggling; I am a born struggler.
I took a break in my professional life, but soon I had to struggle again as a single parent of a six-month-old baby girl. I had to face all that disappointment once again and I realized that no one could help me in getting a job.
One day I got so disappointed and frustrated that I broke into tears. At that time, I prayed to Allah, “From now onwards, I will never ask anyone to help me in finding a job, but I seek help from You only.” And that day Allah heard my prayer. After a few days, my father showed me advertisement for the post of Information Officer in BPS 17 in Directorate General Public Relations. I applied and by the grace of Allah I cleared the written test on merit. I was among 20 candidates who were called for interview and one of the four short-listed candidates. Currently, I am working on the post of Deputy Director.
Today, when I look back at my past and all tribulations and disappointments I faced, I smile. I did it myself by the blessings of Allah Almighty. Life is a continuous struggle and one only loses when he/she gives up. I want to give this message to the youth at the struggling phase of their lives that there is no short cut to success. Success comes to those who keep struggling despite all difficulties with perseverance, honesty and hard work.
The author can be reached at [email protected]