I have never had a problem writing about myself, my feelings, or my relationships. I got used to sharing everything with you - I mean everything - including the things that make people blush in our society. Today I am struggling with words. I am not sure how to express myself while saving the little face that I have left. Ok! Ok! It is not that dramatic; it is just hard - so hard - to say that it is over. The end has come. The day that I have dreaded for many years has come and I have to be a big girl and do the right thing. I have to quit the game - it is no longer my game.
12 years ago I was a fresh graduate full of energy and dreams. I was born with a natural strength and will power that I knew could get me anywhere I wanted to go. Paul Malcom, the director of sales and marketing at the Cairo Marriott in 1996 saw the piranha-like elements in my character that were perfectly hidden behind my soft demure facade and he honored me with the title that has changed my life - he appointed me as the public relations coordinator of the hotel. He made me a proud little girl. I would flash my business card whenever and wherever possible. I would make sure that everyone who crossed my path got to know what an important job I had. Were it possible I would have put on my name tag all the time.
In less than a month my media database and relationships mushroomed and my learning curve skyrocketed. I was a PR genius driven by ambition and an unquenchable thirst for achievement and growth. I used to scan each and every newspaper and magazine for creative press releases, events, and what have you. I looked up to the PR stars and divas at the time as I secretly competed with each one of them. I had a secret file where I kept count of their published material versus mine and I took note of every successful event they ever created and tested my own creativity on how to make their events better were I in their shoes.
Other than taking courses, reading books, surfing sites, and jotting down my own ideas for when the time was right, I had timeframes for my career. By the age of 24 I was the youngest PR manager in Egypt and my name began shining next to the divas that I looked up to. By the age of 27 I became the youngest director of PR in Egypt and the most expensive. There was a time when I outshined everyone and I used to compete with no one but myself and whenever I reached a benchmark, I raised the par even higher. I became a PR diva myself and my media relations were never better.
On my way up, and sitting there on the top, I forgot to look at the stars that I used to covet. I did not notice how many fell from the sky, how many ceased to shine, and how many grew into stagnation. Only when I turned 30 that I began noticing the changes. I was slowly and gradually falling out of love with the job. My passion and drive was fading along with my media relationships and power. It was a slow process that only reflected on the dim light that I, as a once shining star, was emitting. I began looking for the names that I once scanned the papers for, only to realize that they have been replaced by other names; names and faces that I never noticed before. Some of the familiar names were still there but they seemed weak and faint as though their power had given up on them.
I got into the Ritz-Carlton as the youngest director of PR and one of the most successful and while I was left there to rot, my peers took charge of areas and regions. I watched the young sales people set foot in the hotel as young promising executives and, in the six years that my career came to a standstill, they got promoted to assistant managers, managers, now directors, and will soon head whole sales and marketing teams. Where would that leave me? Exactly where I started seven years back and exactly where I will be seven years from now! A dead end! I will always be the PR girl; little Murva - as one of my GMs used to call me. No matter how big I grew, I will never be on the board of executives - why? Because I will always report to the director of sales and marketing.
The title could change - be it marketing communication or communications - yet the job will always be the same, the boss will always be the same, if not worse, and the GM will always call me for pictures and press releases. Getting an area position now seems like a mirage - not because it is hard, but rather because it is just another title! I will never be looked at or treated as the qualified marketer that I am. I will always be locked up in a box in the sales and marketing department. I will always have a regional dickhead who, at the back of his stupid head, thinks that PR girls should keep their mouths shut while the marketing gurus talk. I will always have someone confusing my title with my experience and turning me into an order taker.
The past three, almost four, years of my life were like an eye-opener. I found the perfect outlet for my marketing knowledge and experience when I began teaching at the AUC. I finally have a chance to create a second line of people who will grow into great marketers. I have also embarked on a career in training - silly hoteliers who have seen nothing outside their little Barbie world think little of trainers and believe that anything outside their hotel is not a career. No one explained to them that a trainer is a consultant in his field and that I have finally found my decent respected position in the training room as a business partner not as the idiotic toy they want me to be.
Too much has been going on in my life on all fronts and I had no more room to keep anything within. I needed to vent; hence came the writing - my true voice! And writing led to my TV exposure ... and I finally got back the fulfillment that my original career has denied me. I am grateful for the options that I have been given and I am thankful for the God-given gifts that I was blessed with. I am lucky that I came across people who recognized my potential and I do not regret that I ever took those risks. I still remember his words when he interviewed me last May for my current position; "I am giving you a career" he said. I felt a slap on the face and, as I swallowed the insult, I felt that my victories, achievements, and success stories on all other fronts mean nothing to this man who thought that the world revolved around his hotel.
I know that some people will delete my number, others will not call me anymore, and others will not answer me when I call - but it's ok. I know that I will no longer have the backup of the corporate world but I also know that I will never be a nobody ... I will always be me .. the me that I have always been true to. I am finally free and happy .... I have resigned and ended the affair.