Is the Multinational Dream Overrated in Egypt?

Dear fresh grad,

Welcome to the business world. You are taking your first steps into your career, and you must be looking for an opportunity in a multinational company. Yes, indeed, why not? A multinational has standards, processes, policies, systems and consistent reward mechanisms. A multinational has branches all over the world to which you can travel and relocate. It has highly defined salary structures, benefit schemes and clear career paths. A multinational is the ultimate dream!

My career began with the same notion; the multinational dream. I spent 8 years of my life in a very reputable multinational in a very rewarding field. It had the career path, rewarding salary, endless benefits and International opportunities. It took me about 6 years into my beloved company to see things from a new perspective.

Your boss is your career. How many of us have experienced the multinational company with the Egyptian management style? I’ve been blessed with more than great managers for the first 6 years of my career; supportive, innovative, open to new ideas and always pushing me forward. Then I worked for a new manager.

If there is one challenging aspect of life for me, it would be dealing with stagnation and rigidness. These two words simplify the two years I spent working for that new manager. No more training, international exposure, support for innovation and definitely no more flexibility. I started feeling that I am working for an old bureaucratic sector of our beloved government! My career came to a complete stop.

Do I really want to go to a local company where everything I took for granted for so many years will be taken away from me? A company that does not have a spouse and dependent medical insurance? How would my CV look like? And what will potential employers think about me?

Those questions came to an end when my previous industry went through a downturn. The company started to release resources. And then came the downside of working for a multinational, because there is a process and a system for everything, everybody is dispensable! A multinational cares about you professionally, but only your manager cares about you personally. So when the going gets rough, it’s your manager’s call to retain or release you. A decision was made to release me.

There are times in life in which I believe we do not have the courage to make the right decision, and the surrounding events push us into a new place because another power believes in us. Only one month after my release I found a new job; in a market that everyone says is challenging and lacking opportunities. A job that I had no idea it existed in a company I had no idea it existed. I now work for a local company and I am proud! I am proud to see a local entity rising high with solid standards and a clear vision. Throughout my years in a multinational, I have always been told that local companies do not have standards and lack the organizational identity of a multinational. That’s the case for local companies that do not have competent management which is not the case for my new employer.

It is a small company and that’s why it took me only a couple of weeks to know everyone. It’s filled with potential and currently growing, it’s capable of preserving its core values, the CEO is accessible and listens, and the value I create will be visible and recognized without a chain of 6 approvals.  It is now my second home!

I just hope you can keep your eyes open instead of inheriting an ambition from a printed success story. Being in a multinational or a local company is not the dream. You need to pick your management carefully. Look for a company that has a track record of outstanding careers and sustainable growth regardless of its total size and international expansion. A career is so much more than labeling phases, it is about you deciding what works for you and what does not. There is an upside and a downside for every sector and company type. One final piece of advice: never say “no” to an interview opportunity at any company just because you do not know the company’s name; it might be the opportunity of your lifetime.

Good luck in your career!

Regina Inani is an HR Guru and A Savvy Mum!

Twitter: @GinaInani

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