Corporate memories after marriage

Published: May 29, 2011

My crazy corporate life of the last three years will never match the self discovery of the last two months.

If I look back on the three years of my hardcore corporate life, I remember nothing – nothing but the fact that I was busy and going insane.

I remember the times I would look up from my cubicle for some blood circulation and see faces staring at screens that stared back in anticipation — or the times I would look up and my big fat boss would be staring down at me, eyebrow raised with questions mounted on the royal arch.

There were a few moments that provided a semblance of real life, like coming back home and sleeping, or having a few friends smile sympathetically while waiting for a quick snack at the tea station.

As it goes, I was not working on the assembly line or the military. Rather, I was working for one of the best employers of the country, in an environment marked with handbooks of HR values and tight rules on humanism – all elegant words and no practice.

After four years of being in a business school, this was the best possible place to be and the sense of accomplishment was great – mind you there was no sense of appreciation, as there was always a better future to be achieved – the cycle never stopped.

Three years is a long time in a routine like this

Three years of a straight routine in a tight lipped environment is enough to rip you of yourself and tarnish all ambitious future plans that you may still want to pursue. However, not all of us feel ready to give it up since the stakes are high.

You think you will lose retail therapy, little knowing that you will not need retail therapy once you’re out of that community.

You think you will lose your credibility as an accomplished person little knowing that what could possibly be important would be to make people re-believe in you as the person you were before you joined the ranks and the person you’ve become after the ranks gave out.

When I decided to get married, a decision which will turn my life around, I knew for a fact that this would not do, and as a person, I needed to regain myself and my sanity. About two months ago, I did something unimaginable for the go-getters.

I resigned.

I said I wanted a break or in fact, I needed a break.

I wanted to enjoy getting married and I wanted to feel like myself again.

I didn’t want to get to my wedding two hours before the reception and two hours after a sales haggling meeting.

I said I wanted to reach my wedding two months before my wedding reception.

It’s been two months since I left and I have two months for my wedding to start. Two months flew by, considering that my office life left me no time for anything. Being at home, doing nothing, felt like I was always pre-occupied but pre occupied with things that improved my health and my mind.

Two months down and I feel more patient, relaxed and calm. I know where my extended family lives, what their kids’ names are and where my neighbours have come from.

But most importantly, I have learnt that I am a normal human being when I have nothing to do. The paradox always was that thinking of being free felt like a nightmare while being busy was living the nightmare.

Life isn’t something that happens to us when we’re too busy making money.

It’s something that happens to us when we’re conscious of the beautiful sun rays filtering the room when dawn breaks.

It’s when you suddenly realise that your mom is your best friend.

It’s when you have time to listen to your friend while she’s making a decision and give her advice based not just on a logical calculation but also heartfelt compassion.

I missed being alone.

I missed being alive.

I missed thinking with my heart.

And above all, I missed being there since before I was there, but my mind was always somewhere else.

For all those people without financial burdens, it is my genuine advice to learn the simple life, learn life and learn about yourself.

If you can’t take off, take a break, not for a month but a maximum of six months. Let’s not live life once. The best years have gone by making profits for other people. Let’s invest in ourselves.

My crazy corporate life of the last three years will never match the self discovery of the last two months.

So Breathe.

Nida Raza Mohsin

Nida Raza Mohsin

A Business Administration graduate, who entered the corporate world with a vengeance, but her first love, writing has never left her.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • ASQ

    Excellent piece of writing.wish i could do that but guess guys don’t have that luxury!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • ali

    loved it
    and this is best article i have found in these tough times working here in dubai. im going bak home next month to rediscover myself and ready to give as much time as it takes to refresh and restart the journey.
    keep up the good work ladyRecommend

  • parvez

    Nicely written. I liked the way you qualified it with ‘ For all those people without financial burdens – - – - ‘
    Consider yourself both lucky and blessed.Recommend

  • Hammad

    I have made the decision of resigning from a job, where i have very little time for my family. I took this decision after getting married. I would prefer to live a simple life rather than working day in and day out to provide luxuries of life. I want to enjoy my life too. For God sake, Money is not everything. Brilliant piece of writing. Recommend

  • InAm

    Very well written, After all we need a time for ourselves, But one thing I assure you if you just don’t want to do anything for the rest of your life , you ll definitely get confused that Why I am here in this world, SO taking off for some time is just awesome but for the whole life….Its insane :( Recommend

  • maria

    i do agree that one should take a break off n on but believe me if u r trained for something n u rnt doing it, it feels like as if sum part of u is missing……….i m a doctor n i m not practicing due to very popular “married life responsibilities”…….but i wake up angry everyday for not doing what i m supposed to do……………..or may b its human nature,we arent happy the way we r………we always want the other thing…………..its just 2 months,wait sumtime u will begin to miss all that u used to do soon Recommend

  • Mahvash

    Nice Rida.. Actually, people WithOut financial burdens can take off.. but people With financial burdens can’t even take a long break and still have luxuries.. Recommend

  • http://ovais-envisage.blogspot.com/ Muhammad Ovais

    Oh Brilliant! What a piece! everything seems to be soo true for everyone in this corporate slavery!Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmad

    lol, I wish I had that sort of luxury :pRecommend

  • amna

    loved it…:) best of luck for ur new upcoming dimension of life…Recommend

  • mK

    @maria

    totally agree with u. You can always enjoy the free time for a couple of months or so. You can’t stay satisfied with yourself by doing nothing for a longer period of time, specially if you have been working for a whileRecommend

  • MI Khan

    Haha…So innocent Rida…think of those millions who can’t even think of a single day break from the daily labour, for that would mean their and their families’ starvation!! Life is not always a bed of roses where you can have luxurious breaks from hard work.Recommend

  • omer sher

    a typical girl’s reaction ….seriously.. stop working if you think you dont have a life if you have a job … Recommend

  • N.S

    I do believe it’s important to take a break to ‘rediscover’ yourself on and off, and just to maybe even contemplate if your life is heading in the direction you want it to head it. Work shouldn’t control or define you. Having said that, it’s difficult to stay out of work for an extended period, or maybe even for the rest of your life. For your own sanity, it’s better to keep yourself busy (with a job), especially when you’re married, because you can’t sit at home waiting for your husband to come home from work every single day. It’s important sometimes to lead separate lives so you value what you have much more.Recommend

  • Adnan

    Great thoughts Nida :) now i wonder who the big fat boss was…i believe you just made that up nahi?Recommend

  • Farah Zahidi Moazzam

    Nida this is an amazing & heartfelt blog & voices the feelings of so many in your position. We are waiting to hear your experience of marriage a few months after the wedding :) as a follow up. Don’t stop writing!!!!Recommend

  • RK

    great piece of writing. I share your sentiments. Although i never left work when i got married but i did resign from a career, wherein i had put in almost 5 years of my life, after i had my first child. i knew at that time i need to put my priorities straight. and since then i have never regretted my decision. Ofcourse i do miss being in a corporate environment, the challenges and accomplishments that a corporate life brings with it and most importantly, that oh-so-precious pay-check. But needless to say, when i weigh all these things with the precious moments i have spent with my kids and my husband and th fact that i have seen EVERY single milestone in my kids’ lives, i must say a corporate life is not as rewarding as a life of a stay-at-home mother.

    your belief will be further strengthened when u start a family of your own inshallah. best of luck!Recommend

  • maha Tariq

    I get where you’re coming from Nida, a lot of us women have made our own lives complicated… this article should go out to all the people who work in extremely stressful jobs when they dont have financial burdens. its better to instead indulge in less strenuous routines or follow your own passion so that if the routine is crazy u still feel good about it. we have forgotten the real thing, instead of spending our lives with zilch quality of time, we can crave less for everything. i know its easier said than done but society has taken a negative turn for the worse.Recommend

  • http://www.wrapnrollbysumreen.com Sumreen Faisal

    Hey Nida

    I couldn’t agree more with you. The piece is so well written that I felt, I had written my heart out. Cuz I have been there and done that and for almost the same length of time: 3 yrs…
    Being a mother of two, I also felt that my kids’ won’t get their childhood again, and if I continue to be a part of Corporate Slavery, I won’t gain much outta LIFE. I just didn’t wanna spend it (the same way each day, under severe pressure) I wanted to LIVE my LIFE !

    Doing things my way, the way they pleased me. Sorry to say, but no matter what you do, you can never please your bosses and their bosses. And remuneration and rewards promised are just like carrots on sticks tied right infront of you and you run thinking like a fool that you can catch them.

    But I had this urge to keep doing something, as I can’t sit idle. And my passion for gift giving and themed events took over. Now I have my own growing company, with a small team of talented individuals. I am earning x times the salary I used to get. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I worked, same amount. That’s certainly not the case when you are running your own biz.

    How mad can you go to earn someone else a profit ? How much pressure can you handle without letting it affect your health and well-being? It’s double the work, first doing your job and then proving to others that you did it.

    In short, I hope that you never have any financial responsibilities, but whenever you feel you wanna do something…go back to the same heart of yours and follow your passion, we are surely good at doing something…that something we ought to discover….and follow that passion….

    I am so happy for you Nida that you found contentment after pulling yourself out of the rat race….just like I did :) Best Wishes friend !Recommend

  • jk

    I completely disagree with the author. I thrive under pressure, I have worked very hard to get where I am and although I have only started working at a major investment bank in London, I do not see myself quitting.
    Why waste all the years spent learning when you cant put to it use? There is a work-life balance that you need to draw. I feel strongly against people who take up positions with meaningless ambition and deprive a hungry and possibly more deserving candidate of the job.
    I know who my neighbors are and the rest of the stuff you mentioned.
    I appreciate its ur point of view but being a girl (not a feminist at all!), I find it sad that you succumb to marriage and forget ambition.Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com/ Shumaila

    Do you really need to take time out to be able to enjoy life? I’ve always thought it was a part of life to be able to stop and smell the roses in the middle of a busy day – if you schedule a holiday to do so, then you’re kinda defeating the purpose. Besides, not everyone can afford it, and we must learn to appreciate the beauty of life while living it too.

    I suppose different people react different ways to high-stress jobs – some live for the thrill and the challenge, some just find it overwhelming. If someone belongs to the first category time off would not be as therapeutic for them as it was for you. Some people thrive under stress.

    Nonetheless everyone needs a break now and then. So your post is nice and does make sense :)Recommend

  • tagz

    I think this article depicts the story of many of us regardless of being women or men. One has to take time-off and get out of the hectic routine life to see what he/she really wants or enjoys. Or is he/she really doing what is important or just running after nothing. From what I gather, this article is not stopping you from working, it is just reiterating the fact that we need to know ourself and be sure of what we enjoy or at least to peer beyond the horizon.
    Indeed not many of us have got all the luxuries and even if we have, taking such a step is not an easy task. But given a chance one should go for it, to make this life worthwhile.

    Excellent job, Nida.
    Stay blessed!Recommend

  • Hafeez Sheikh

    This article could only have been written by a female who has the luxury of opting out of professional life to feed on her husband’s income. For all those men out there and women who don’t have the luxury of a rich husband or fiance, this article doesn’t apply to you. Recommend

  • http://islamabad Maryam

    excellent piece….but u know after a while it gets tough….
    waiting for ur husband to get back home everyday is not that easy plus it adds extra pressure on him becuase he has to come on time, leave work undone etc. and when he gets back home all tired he has a wife all ready to go out for shopping with n all….so yes short breaks r necessary but long breaks…i m not a supporter of that!Recommend

  • http://www.financeworld.pk Rahim @ financeworld.pk

    Well Nida has written about a reality of corporate life. Although she got her freedom by quitting the place. There are many of us who almost think in the same manner but when it comes to implementation, we look here and there as in the current economic situation it seems bit difficult especially for those who head their families.

    But I believe there are many other solutions for handling situations like these. Remember, it is not how the people and circumstances treat us, It is us/we who let them treat us in that manner. Enjoy your work/assignment. Think it as a game played by different players besides yourself and than things will become easy to handle.

    And than you will have plenty of time for everything and everyone……..besides it’s bit difficult to get married before quitting each job….. ;)) Recommend

  • Marya Javed

    Nida- You’ll be glad to know you are not the only one who thiks like this. I totally get where you are coming from- nicely written!!

    However, I for one, love the corporate life. I have been working for two years- and yes I am going insane most of the time- but I am genuinely “happy” at work. I love having to push myself to achieve goals, to learn, to keep pushing my comfort zone! My mother’s my best friend still. I go home and all I do is sit with her. I agree with you, that I am missing on alot in life that I can accomplish sitting at home, but life is all about trade-offs. There’s so much I get out of this job too!! Things I wouldn’t want to miss out on.

    It varies for each person. The point is, the corporate life is no panacea- its not “the way”. It all boils down to each one of fuguring out what works best for us.

    It must’ve taken alot of strength to take the decision that you did! For that, I applaud you. Recommend

  • Yousuf

    lucky you. Recommend

  • Amer

    Nicely written and completely agreed with you! Recommend

  • Anon

    I’m glad your parents invested their hard earned money in you, when they sent you to business school, to give you tools to make a life of your own. Or not. Maybe you can just get married, and live off your husband (or his family in case he decides to stop working and smell the roses for 6 months at a stretch). I’m sure he’d be giving you enough pocket money for your “retail therapy” and for you to indugle in yourself.

    The corporate world is no doubt boring, ruthless, hard to work into your personal life, but the answer to your problem is not just taking time off to sit at home and watch “beautiful sun rays filtering the room when dawn breaks”. Be a productive member of the society for crying out loud! People are putting their lives on the line in this country just to keep it a float, and the educated community decides to take time off from the real world. Whats next? Don’t think about the bombs that are blowing everything up, cuz it will give you a migrane and frown lines on your forehead. All those who are financial secure, don’t need frown lines.

    Go out there and do something! Contribute in some way to the society, instead of sitting around talking about the latest lawn design and planning your big fat Pakistani wedding! Recommend

  • bilal

    yes, females can do that…. but that’s not an option for males bcaz…. ask ur dads how he has been working continuously for last 30 or so years without taking a “six months break”….

    females do it for passion/fun/timepass watever you call it….. when bored… its time to take a break….. and thats the spirit…..Recommend

  • Shamy

    very cute!…..but what about the men ?Recommend

  • Yggr

    Spot on sis! and best of luck for your future life :)Recommend

  • imran

    GOOD FOR YOURecommend

  • Benish

    That is why we have R&R to relax and rediscover ourselves.. You cannot sit idle at home endlessly, i guess.. a nice article though :) and guys, plz pray that we may have two days off weekly, it is also a kind of relief :pRecommend

  • maria

    @anon
    totally agreeRecommend

  • Amin Ahmed

    Jolly good idea …. ! I must admit I am only a year and a half into my career and cannot wait for the retirement!

    I have meticulously picked a date for it. and that is the date I get my chartered … as both seem good 60 years aways.

    On a serious, it does change your perspective on life or it certainly has in my case! But you have to be in it to know better.

    Grass is always greener on the other side … I am told!Recommend

  • Sidra Taj

    Hi Nida,

    Good writing. I feel the same as you do, same as the 1000s of girls stuck in this mundane yet crazy routine. Lucky you for getting out of the rut. I couldnt agree more. We need to sit back and take note of what life is actually about, our likes, our siblings, our people, and just all that we hoped to stand up for when we were still young and unfettered. Good luck with the future.

    love, sidra Recommend

  • Choas A.D

    God, if only men had that option. I mean, work is great, but this modern day corporate enslavement? GAH! and being a ‘ghar damaad’ (househusband) is not an option. :PRecommend

  • Humanity

    Just wait a couple of months and then please let us know how you feel ..

    There is some thing called work-life balance, which is what keeps the sizzle both in work and in life :)Recommend

  • savera akhter

    nice…………..Recommend

  • Hussam

    Well written. I half expected to see a rhetoric littered with cuss words at how men have suppressed you all your life. This was a pleasant surprise. Good to see you’re enjoying your life. Wish I could do the same, but the mechanics change when you’re a guy.Recommend

  • adnanbinraza@hotmail.com

    i agree and after reading i have decided to resign from my job tooRecommend

  • Usman

    Alas, this luxury of leaving your job and getting married and embark on a journey of self-actualization, is only available to females..! :(Recommend

  • fanatic reader

    fun writing style ! enjoyed itRecommend

  • Nadia

    totally relate. one can always do less hectic stuff instead of strenous routine jobsRecommend

  • Noshi

    Yes, thats exactly why she has mentioned:

    “For all those people WITHOUT FINANCIAL BURDENS…”

    Read before you react!Recommend

  • mariam

    I second that @Noshi: Recommend

  • Marvi

    love the writing style ! funny & engagingRecommend

  • lady6

    huh! and I am screwed being at home Recommend

  • T

    Very well written Nida. I had the same sentiments abt my worklife as u did, the only difference was I had financial obligations. I hated every minute I spent at work as I felt dat i’m confining myself into a routine dat i didnt want to get myself into…anyhow, i recently had to leave work due to some reasons, not marriage though, and although i still have financial burdens, but somehow i feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I feel I ahve the whole world out there to explore my abilities and talents and finally settle down for what I would love to do…which I have yet to figure out…but yes staying at home since a month, i know what stuff is kept where, how much my neighbors’ kids have grown in these 3 yrs, the joy of cleaning every nook and corner of the house and finding long lost stuffs, but most importantly, how ill actually my dad is and how much he needs me by his side.I have learned to value life. So yes Life is beautiful and we should thank God for each and every thing that he has given us; the ability to see the morning rays, ability to hear the laughter of kids playing in ur neighborhood, rolin ur eyes over mom’s petty squabbles with the maid, and the list goes on. Thanks for writing this piece as i thought i was the only crazy person on this planet to love doing nothing….For all those who disagree with Nida, I understand ur sentiments too, but all I can say is dat the stress we take at work and the insecuritites we go thru everyday of losing our work, it’s really not woth it. i have gone thru these sentiments as well, and my worklife ended abruptly, involuntarily, and I’m not financially strong and no prospects of marriage either,(I’m a female) so my msg to all of u wud b to sit back, relax, enjoy each moment of ur job, do as much as u can, and don’t let it take over ur nerves and your health, coz once its over, u actually realize that all this stress was not worth it.Recommend

  • Maliha Hasan

    I hope you afford your husband the same kind of luxury you enjoy. Some wives are selfish in this regard & when it comes to their partner, there they go, spending that credit card, paying exorbitant amounts for rent in a specific locality… and their husbands start to feel like bonded labor. :D hope you’re having fun no matter what you do and i hope you’re letting him tooRecommend

  • Anis

    Too utopian to believeRecommend