Where there is love there is life – Mahatma Ghandi
I can’t begin to update you on all the craziness in my life, but suffice it to say that I now work at a local branch of a worldwide advertising agency – one that was established in 1891! I’m a social community executive and I’m paid to check Twitter and Facebook all day. If you’re my boss and you’re reading this: I get all my other tasks done as well; I’m just messing with the folks who read my blog. If you’re my client and you’re reading this: despite the light tone, I promise you that I am not having fun.
I don’t know how I landed a 9-6 corporate job. I no longer have the time to bake green apple muffins for my coworkers, the luxury to flit from one art gallery to ethnic musical concert nor the energy to blog. But you’ve noticed the latter, I hope. I now only talk about campaigns, use geeky jargon and see my physiotherapist during lunch breaks. I’m not even joking.
Today was a typical day in the life of a social media employee. Our client launched a huge exhibition today and we’re expected to be there for the duration of the exhibition. Double shifts, weekends, all the fun stuff! I’ve been exhausted just thinking about it. But thankfully, our day was free of major incidents. We set our booth next to the stage, hooked up 4 laptops to the internet and set up our interactive social media wall. One of our duties was to post live tweets and pictures on this wall and the opening was almost too slow for our liking.
At 5 pm, however, people were queuing up outside the exhibition halls, waiting for the doors to open! Finally, we were seeing some real activity, both around us and on cyber space. At some point, we noticed a young man hovering at our table, glancing from our computer screens to the interactive wall. He then asked my coworker what we were doing. We explained the concept to him as he stood staring in fascination. Although it was clear that he suffered from some sort of disability or impairment, his obsession with the interactive wall was endearing.
Of the hundreds who walked through the exhibition, nobody else looked at the wall, looked at us and put the two together. People asked us if we were organizers, if we were DJs, if we knew where things were and who was performing next. Not only did this guy think, he was the only one who approached us and asked how he can get his tweet up on that wall! After getting the answer, he stood patiently until we updated the system and his comment appeared. I was sad to see him slink away, barely giving himself time to enjoy the moment. I think he knew people would judge him if they saw him lingering in the same spot, looking at the wall. His hunched shoulders and averted gaze said it all. And just as suddenly as he appeared, he disappeared, letting us get back to our work. The exhibition picked up its pace, the colors were more vibrant, the smells were stronger, the music was louder and we forgot about our friend.
One of our tasks during the exhibition is to administer contests (online) and that was getting hectic. People get really bent out of shape when they don’t win so we had to be really careful, meticulously going through the names of contestants and plugging them into a random picker software (I think that’s actually what it’s called!) and then announcing the winners. And that’s when the most unexpected thing happened. One of the winners was our friend! The guy who actually appreciated our interactive wall. I was incredibly happy at first, I kept saying it’s because he deserves to win. But when we didn’t hear back from our friend, I got a little worried.
I contacted him and for about ten minutes, we didn’t get a response. Just as we were contemplating drawing again for another winner, the guy came running up to our table, flushed and breathless, his mother in tow. “I’m Omar*! I’m Omar!” he announced to me . “I know who you are!” I smiled at him, “and where have you been? You won!” “I was in the mosque. Praying in the mosque,” he explained. I noticed his stutter this time, his shy smile and a surge of positive energy. I wanted to hug him.
I jotted down his details while we made small talk. His mother was very proud of him and his photography skills. She said he had interned at a company before and that he was really excited when he got our message. The two minutes I spent talking to them were very humbling. It was the kind of experience that puts things in perspective and gets one thinking about priorities in life.
“This is the first I ever win,” he told me before walking away. I don’t know if I had a hand in making his day but he definitely made mine. I counted my blessings, took a deep breath, and promised myself to appreciate the little things.