Work Like is a series of articles dedicated to interviewing star performers to find out what they do to stay on top of their game.
First of all, tell us about your professional background and how you got to where you are today.
I didn’t wait for graduation to start my professional life. I joined many activities and worked as a PR agent for restaurants and cafes while I was an AUC electronics engineering student. This experience taught me a lot about life, people and the food and beverage industry.
After graduation, I worked for several companies: Toshiba, Mubadala, and Eviko for short periods of time. Then I decided to start my own business in the food and beverage industry since I already had some experience. Shortly after that, I was invited to join Fawry. By then, it was just a small new startup trying to explore the fin-tech industry landscape in Egypt. We grew together, and I ended up being the business development cash manager. When Fawry got an exit, I left and joined Careem.
What are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?
I am a closer; I close deals. And in sales, this is hard to find.
Are you a night owl or an early-bird?
I keep being told that you should sleep early and wake up early to be successful, but I found out that that’s not how I function. I like to sleep after the Fajr prayer and wake up around 10:30 am; and I continue working till 1 or 2 am.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
Every night before I go to sleep, I jot down everything I need to do the next day. That way I always know precisely what I need to get done, and I go on with my day efficiently. This saves me a lot of time and effort.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
I usually depend on my memory to manage my to-do tasks. It’s not the most ideal way, so I think I might start using a note-taking application soon.
What are you currently reading?
I am listening to Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon for the second time now. It’s a fantastic book to read!
Also, if you are into sales and business development, I recommend The Art of War, it’s a perfect read especially because working in this field mainly depends on negotiation. I enjoy reading about human psychology to have a better understanding of people so that I can communicate more efficiently with them.
Do you listen to music at work? Or do you prefer silence?
I prefer silence. I am either on the phone or in a meeting, and when I use my laptop to finish some work, I deal with excel sheets and numbers, so I have to be entirely focused with no distractions to avoid any errors.
What is the most significant risk you have ever taken?
I see myself as a risk-taker. I think most of my career decisions were significant risks. For example, when I decided to leave the comfort of managing my restaurant to join a small fin-tech startup called Fawry, when I left the favorable position I had to join Careem (which was at that time not in that big of a ridesharing business), and even SolarizEgypt, a company that specializes in the solar energy industry which is a hard sell in a country like Egypt. Which is the biggest? I don’t know, I guess they all are.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Keep your work and personal life separate.”
If you have a problem at work, let it stay there and don’t take it back home. Likewise, don’t bring your personal issues to work. This has been life-changing advice for me, and I encourage everyone to do the same.'Keep your work and personal life separate.'Click To Tweet
Anything you would like to add?
I see a growing trend among millennials of wanting to take off and escape the country, instead of staying here and trying to build something. I understand the reasons, but if you ask for my advice, I’d say wait here, work hard and give it a try, and if it doesn’t work, leave, but at least try.