Fresh Graduate Gone Stale

Graduated? Excited to be finally out of university? Eager to work in the field? Living in Lebanon? Yes? Well then stop here and rewind.

Being a fresh graduate myself, looking for work isn’t a piece of cake mind you. But the never ending “why” hangs by thread, leaving young blood questioning and perplexed. Why do most Lebanese go abroad to start their career? Instead of staying right here, and investing themselves for a better national economical future.

Let’s face it, Lebanese become famous for innovations they could have achieved in their home country. Instead they are renowned and praised elsewhere, and the nationality is to be left mentioned in the last place, if any.

We on earth, deal with the famed saying: “Time is money”. Well it perfectly is, but wasting valuable and brand new resources is as important. And taking advantage of these resources will eventually comply with the saying on the long run. Companies avoid losing time by taking in and favoring freshly experienced people, leaving the others jobless, and a wasted asset. This defies the purpose of a good employee turnover, which can adequately be represented like “good blood in, bad blood out”.

Recruiters are making the task for newly graduated, much tougher than it should be. Most of them require us to work a month for free as a “trial” and this is before the 3 months probation we have to abide by.

Its either you come with experience, you work for free or you search elsewhere and try your luck.

But that isn’t the only factor getting in the way. We as Lebanese have adopted for many years now, the “Wasta” system, which is the catalyst that gets a person into a desired job position through connections with important people. This widely and commonly used in Lebanon, unfortunately.

Your expertise, university achievements, and GPA aren’t any help and prove to be useless.

So other than the corrupt government, we have a corrupt business system. And how is a person supposed to build his or her life in these circumstances, since the Lebanese lifestyle is mostly based on money, like any other economy, and how stable you are?

How can this be fixed you ask?

Well like our “flawless” government, I think this is broken beyond repair. Because the system is permanently damaged, and wiping it all out and restarting anew would be the only way to mend it, which is obviously not possible. Lebanon’s corruption is engraved and here to stay.

I, personally, don’t plan on leaving my country, but these factors are nearing me to the threshold. You’d expect the country to be full of opportunities after all it has been through.

I guess patience is the only virtue at this point, as well as perseverance. I won’t give up, not yet at least. What about you? Was it that hard when you first graduated? Do you live in Lebanon? Or should the question be “Do you still live in Lebanon?”


21 Responses to “Fresh Graduate Gone Stale”

  1. September 24, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Very, very true… Been there too when I graduated. Unfortunately I left and it is now much more difficult to come back and start again. I would dream of leaving and eventually left. But it is the same everywhere. It’s just the the grass always looks greener on the other side. At least at home you have in your family a support team, you have friends, you have nice weather and yes, “wasta” that you come to miss very quickly. Beirut has already been through a huge brain drain. I hope you will stick it out and be part of all the changes we are trying to make. Be patient and good things will come. Good luck and bon courage 🙂

  2. 3 jennifer
    September 24, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    yeah we all been there when we started… and come to think of it now with experience it’s not any easier… u have companies that actually look for fresh graduates mind in order to abuse them under the excuse of ” getting experience” work them out for less than they deserve abusing the fact that they need experience and need a job … oh well u are right all of the lebanese system is corrupted…. hang in there we don’t want to lose any Good brains ba2a soon no one will be left and people in the high powers dare to ask why…
    between”” being with experience doesn’t defer much it doesn’t get easier the good companies that are worth are just so rare and hard to find 🙂 but this is life everywhere i think

    Good luck 😀

    • September 24, 2010 at 8:40 pm

      yes, i know that i am not stating something new,companies are abusing in my opinion, but unfortunately there is nothing we can do about it. Yes i am hanging in there as long as i can, hopefully the wait will be worth while 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting jen! 😀

  3. September 24, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    You are a fresh graduate, still young, if you can’t find a job in Lebanon (which is next to impossible), try somewhere else. If you don’t like it, come back. You have nothing to lose. On the contrary, you will gain lots of experience by working in places like the UAE for example.

    • September 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm

      Yes i do share your point of view 100% but i wont do so until i have drained all possible opportunities here in Lebanon. Maybe i’ll get lucky 😉 But still, experience is always a valuable asset to acquire!

  4. September 24, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Luck is the only way u will find something considerate! and if #wasta is available just give it a try and don’t care… everybody is getting #wasta. I refused it long time ago but now if i have the chance then i will take it no matter what people will say!!! anyway good luck 🙂 i hope u find the JOB u want 🙂

  5. 9 Dar El Akhdar
    September 24, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    I left the country the minute I graduated

    Three-month stint in Dubai where I couldn’t really prove myself to my employer (try doing that while you’re following the news online and hearing that your Ras Beirut residential area got attacked by Israeli choppers…)

    Then a year in Qatar where I couldn’t stand the weather, the people, my job or my noisy or sandy routine (try waking up everyday to the sound of American jet-fighters taking off… or walking daily into your apartment to realize that you’ve arrived to an unglamorous Copa Cabana – and did I mention the cockroaches?)

    Nobody wants to leave their country – but sometimes you feel compelled to pack your stuff and go to the promised land of cheap petrol and huge malls… which I did!

    But if you want to start your career in B-town, I can only advise you to hang in there and stick with your very-accurate 2-P mantra: patience and perseverance are key to successful job-hunting.

    Good luck buddy!

    • September 24, 2010 at 8:52 pm

      hehe yes many have followed your footsteps, but i am willing to drain Lebanon of opportunities before i set foot abroad. Yes indeed the 2-P mantra, till the end and i am counting on making this work!
      Thanks a lot for reading, and providing feedback! highly appreciated 🙂

      • 11 Dar El Akhdar
        September 24, 2010 at 9:01 pm

        It would probably help to add that I have been back in Lebanon ever since! (despite a one-year Masters stop in the UK)

        And will be starting next week as Account Manager at BrandCentral 😀

      • September 24, 2010 at 9:06 pm

        Yes, i am planning on doing my masters as well, but first i need experience in the field! And yes i know about your newly acquired position 😀 awesome and great opportunity! Good luck!

  6. 13 Funkyozzi
    September 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Nadim, I donno maybe it depends on the field, but mathematically speaking the businesses in Lebanon do not have enough job openings for all the students that graduate yearly, that’s true. I understand there is wasta, but I also personally know many employers who look to hire someone they know for the simple reason that is to avoid turn over, as turn over has been really increasing lately in the companies.

    3a kil 7al, i am sure you are already sending out your CVs to all recruitments companies and all companies directly, good luck 🙂 it is a tough world out there

  7. 15 KJ
    September 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Nadim, it is like that in many places. The wast a system, as I hate ton admit it, is applicable everywhere, and as you growbyou realise that connections are as important as your skills, whether you would like to admit itnor not. Luck isnalso a critical random factor.

    I wish you all the best. I’ve been “interning” for 4 months now at a company. In Dubai. Things are tough but you have to believe in yourself and you neednto be patient and persistent. There will be times where you hate yourself, and that’s when its time to know its ok to be where you are, and chill a bit and try again.

    Don’t give up. Never give up.

  8. September 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Thank you for reading dude!And thank you for your encouragement,i wish you luck as well!
    I don’t plan on giving up. Never will. 🙂

  9. October 7, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I moved from the States to Lebanon..not speaking Arabic nor French.

    I’ll admit it..the only reason I got a job here was because of wasta.. Hell some taxi drivers here are more qualified than I am (especially in the area of languages)..Am I proud of it, no…but it is the sad reality..and as KJ so eloquently put it..in this day and age, your connections are as important, if not more important, as your education. Why do you think Ivy league schools exist in the States. Do you think students who attend college there receive a much better education than those who attend state schools..no! What they do get though, is a much better network of connections. That is what they are paying 50k a year for..connections..and in the end..it often pays off..

    So let me “pay it forward”..holla at me yo..I might be able to hook you up! 😀

  10. October 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    I suppose I should leave a tip as well. Use this time wisely. Read industry/trade publications. Talk to people. Learn a new skill. Watch tutorials. Do everything you you can to supplement your education. It will pay off, and your future/potential employer will appreciate it! I have no doubt that you will find something, and SOON! Keep your head up!

    • October 7, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      I am with you on all the points stated! And you are right! This is why i am being patient and surely not giving up! Always on the move, looking opportunities and wisely using contacts! My head is up and always will be!
      Thank you Danielle for reading and i loved your feedback 😀

  11. October 7, 2010 at 5:11 pm


    I am want to break your path of self wallowing in pity and tell you a couple of things I learned from personal experience:

    Let me start with my personal story. I studied in Tripoli, top of my class, in a very good university and yet it is not uber prestigious and not uber known in Beirut. My Arabic is bad. I do not have any wasta whatsoever!

    6 months before graduating I wrote a really good CV and really poured all my character into it and creativity to make it very interactive and started applying for various jobs online. I wanted a job in Beirut – this was my goal.

    To make a long story short on my 7th interview, I got my first job ( 7 interviews in around 7 months – 2 jobs I rejected earlier) with a very reputable company in Beirut and a good salary for a fresh gad with some experience ( been working for family business for a long while after all).

    I did not have trouble with finding my next job either, it found me and now I am getting random job offers even though I am not applying to ANYTHING!

    So, I do not believe it is that hard to find a job in Lebanon for a fresh grad with a degree from a top school! Looking for a job is a jib in itself – simply put.

    You need to:
    – write a good CV that reflects (truly and without lying) all that you are capable of.
    – keep on the lookout for all jobs, without being squeamish
    – find creative ways to apply to companies you are dying to work for
    – in parallel learn NEW skills ( i really recommend you submerge in social media and new media related stuff, cz these skills are golden at the moment)
    – Build your personal brand
    – Not feel that it is taking a lot of time
    – Volunteer
    – Do stuff for free
    – Participate in events and help in organizing them ( this really helps in showcasing your skills and networking)
    – Think hard about WHAT YOU WANT TO DO and fortune will bring it your way

    A normal job hunt should take about 6-8 months for anyone, be it a fresh grad or a seasoned professional!

    Good Fortune love optimistic people that work to get what they want.

    Let us talk more about the subject!

    • October 7, 2010 at 5:21 pm

      I will follow your suggestions, because they seem extremely feasible! And your personal story encourages a lot, and i know other people who have been through the same experience as well. So yes it motivates me to not give up. I am confident, and i will gather as much knowledge as possible until i get recruited.
      I really appreciate your feedback, and i like how you proceeded. My CV has been sent to several companies very recently and i am awaiting their replies. I am hoping for the best, and your support is very welcome thank you!!

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