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How a Finance Job Interview in Lebanon Became About Choice, Immigration and Hindu Scriptures

Our team is growing so I've been conducting interviews lately for a job position with Alex the CFO here in Lebanon. You wouldn't think it but it's become all about choice, immigration, and Hindu scriptures

True story.

In a few short months, work volume has grown dramatically. I'm #grateful.

The business model is validated so the time for structuring the operation is here.

I am looking for resilient finance professionals with a warrior-like mentality. They must breathe numbers and business models, and be amazing in communicating with colors and shapes.

Do you think you or someone you know might be good fit for the job? A more thorough job description can be found here

I’m finally convinced that you cannot be in business in Lebanon without running a continuous conversation about hope, ambition, and despair.

That’s what happened in my most recent interview with a bright 25-year-old candidate.

He sent me an email asking if we could do the interview on Sunday because he had just been accepted in an MSc program in Europe and had to make a down-payment on Monday.

He had a strong, energetic voice. He was a particularly good listener.

“I have been giving Lebanon a chance for 4 years! Salary is not going as fast as it should be. The economy is not getting any better. Politics is not getting any better. Until when should I stay here?” He says.

The conversation quickly became anything but a standard job interview. It quickly veered to become one of hope, mindset, and immigration.

I asked him how much he was earning currently, how much he had saved for the Master's program, how much he was borrowing, at which interest rate?

We did a quick analysis to examine his ability to borrow and drew a quick comparison between what his life could look like in Lebanon vs. in Europe. After factoring in the benefits of a second passport (European) and the career prospects, I told him the following:

"Rational thinking concludes that both options could be viable: Many honest hard-working people make a good living in Lebanon but European life may also bring higher levels of growth and a more enhanced feeling of stability."

This did not help. We are less successful in making rational decisions than we think we are.

That is because reason can only take us so far, it is almost always flawed and incomplete. The gut feeling should always have the final say, for it is the summation of our experiences and being.

We would be happier to entrust many of the major decisions to gut, for the more difficult a decision is to make, the less important it actually is.

Think about it, if 2 roads are both viable and deserve consideration, doesn't that imply that you will be fine taking either one of them? Lord Krishna seems to think so.

The following day, he told me had decided to leave. 

A number of you send me emails asking me why I haven't quit and left Lebanon. It is mind-boggling.

7 years ago I was forced to come back for family reasons and I decided to make the best of it. I hang out with people that inspire me to be a better person. For me, those are the CEOs of the most ambitious companies in Lebanon working at the intersection of design, technology and aiming to compete on a regional and global level.

They inspire me to wake up every day and succeed.

Next time, you want to blow off some steam and blame the world for your troubles, take a deep breath and ask instead: who are you surrounded by? Who do you hang out with? What words do you hear? What do you learn from them?

Next time you want to curse the economy, take a deep breath and ask instead: how can you innovate to help others succeed and get paid for it?

Next time you want to hop on a plane to fly away from your troubles, remember that a negative mindset fails in the most prosperous town.

Now, about that job position… :)

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