I am Fahmida, aged 37.
No, I didn’t climb the highest mountain peak yet but yes, I’ve come a long way from where I started. I’ve stumbled a thousand times to come this far, perhaps I have to face a lot of resistance through my way but my destination is the top of the mountain.
I’ve graduated with 1st class Master’s degree in 2008 from food & nutrition department. Currently I’m working as a consultant nutritionist and assistant creative director in an advertisement agency with 11 years experience. I mostly work on creating communication materials for the nine brands of nestle nutrition.
Though my starting was disappointing but I never gave up. When I first started studying in Food & Nutrition back in the day of 2001, people hardly recognize this subject. Every one used to say, “What’s there to read in nutrition science?” or “Do they teach you how to cook in this subject?” as if nutrition is only related to cooking. People doubted me on how I’ll find a suitable job from my subject. They also said that there’s no future for this subject and I used to get frustrated. Anyway, I’ve passed with a great result in 2008 but there was no joy for my result, instead I got caught up in the whirlwind situation of where would I get a job and what kind of job. I was determined about one thing that no matter what I would not sit in home regardless of my subject related job; because I believe once the car is started it will get me somewhere, doesn’t matter slow or fast.
I started to apply for both inside and outside of my subject line. First, I got a call from an English medium school of Greenroad. The pay scale wasn’t really top notch also it was nothing close to own subject; still I joined without thinking twice. It’s because I believe it’s easy to switch job than get a job sitting home. There was only one thing in my mind that I must not sit home. After joining the school, I slowly started to seek my subject related job.
At my first job I started to develop a very irregular food habit. I had to start very early in the morning and used to skip my meals for the hustle and bustle of the children. I lost a lot of weights and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Every evening I used to have a high fever, also the medications were very powerful; it was like my body was on fire. Thus I continue to work, in spite of being seriously ill, I didn’t miss my work for once. I was so fascinated with my work that I kept thinking no matter what I can’t skip work.
After working in the school for three to four months I get a job related to my subject in a health & nutrition foundation. This time the salary was slightly higher than the previous one but I didn’t think of the money because there was something genuinely good about working on your own subject. Then I realize how self-confidence really boosts up while working on one’s own subject. After working here for three years I get another call from an NGO, again my subject, better post, better pay scale.
I remember one thing from this job interview, an interviewer said to my face that she didn’t assume with me. It really felt bad; my confidence took down a notch. I was thinking, I would rather stay in my current job instead of going to another interview ever in my life. Then I started
to cool myself down and thought there are different sort of persons in different boards who will say many things but there’s no need to take things personally, rather it’s a part of gaining experiences. Experience which will come in handy later. Better not forget that whatever you gain in professional life, good or bad is countable as experience.
My mother used to say that my anger will get between the successes of my career but it didn’t come true, I locked up all my anger issues and sensitivity and went ahead.
Funny thing is, I got that job in the NGO. What’s funnier is on my first day of joining, that interviewer lady asked me to give a presentation in front of the whole office. I really got nervous because I just started here today and knew nothing about what to do but I gave my best. At the end of the presentation the interviewer who questioned my ability in the first place hugged me and said that she was proud that I was in her team; there lies my achievement. The point is one must keep growing, keep learning and there’s no alternative to it. Yet I have much to learn.
In my eleven years of work, I’ve never wasted my times. Whenever I got a free time, I studied nutrition science out of sheer passion or I’ve made presentations in advance which came in handy later. If you don’t fool around with time, then a lot can be achieved within eight hours’ timespan. Working twelve hours just for the sake of work time is not a qualification; I would rather be done with it pushing myself to my best. Length of work time doesn’t qualify as professionalism. People who spend 12 hours in a work which can be done in eight hours seem rather irrational to me.
Now on to the next chapter of my career story, I quitted the NGO job and went to the clinical sector. I joined the Labaid Specialized Hospital as a consultant nutritionist. This time my salary went down so it was a difficult choice for me because nobody wants to go back instead of moving forward. It’s crucial to take a right decision in the right moment while making a career choice. I was determined that I needed this experience to grow even more. It was completely a corporate sector and I realized here surviving and attaining a stable place for own self among the others is the key. It’s just like a racing field, where all the horses are the same so to win you need specialty, extra point. With the grace of Almighty I was very successful to achieve that.
Then one time it occurred to me, it’s all going smooth, working in a famous place and my own subject but now it’s time to aim for my financial stability which require a higher pay scale. Our necessities change through the different stages of life. At that moment I got a call from my current work place, an advertisement farm through LinkedIn and I secured the job. One side note; linkedIn is a really good place for professionals to build network.
At present, I’m working in the same organization. I got increment and promotion both, my hard work really paid off and I’m in a good place even though I really had to struggle here because it was a new environment for me.
But I didn’t quit searching for better opportunities ever. I am content with what I have but I must nurture the passion for doing better, doing more. There’s not a single day goes by when I don’t hanker after an opportunity. To go a long way one must nourish their willpower. I never miss a call from an interviewer for more suitable options. Every interview, every examination that I ever sit for only increases my experience.
Beside my job, I’m also a columnist. For the past eleven years I’ve been writing about food & nutrition regularly on newspapers. Writing on newspaper requires studying, researching and being continuously up to date with technology. Everyone must practice writing on their own subject.
Along with working for clinical and developing sector, food industries, I also work in various nutrition clubs. Even though Its really challenging to cope up with the additional activities beside work, but it does make a change in personal skill developing.
For such a prolonged work experiences, both good and bad, I never could share this with family or anyone, feelings pile up on their own and days go by. One thing is sure that in job life you have to make your own decisions even though they are wrong sometimes. It’s absolutely necessary to know what’s good or bad for you, under how much pressure can you work and how much can you put forward.
You must fly solo. Just like a bird taking its first flight, without anyone else’s help. It’s hard taking baby steps, stumbling, falling down but there’s something purely satisfying to go such length based on one’s own potential, that’s it.
Still it’s not over, “Miles to go before I sleep”!