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Question yourself to find career success

Abdul Rahman al Thehaiban is the Senior Vice President of Eastern and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (ECEMEA) Sales at Oracle. In the 24 years that he’s been part of the company, he’s gathered a wealth of experience and wisdom. Add to that the valuable lessons that Abdul Rahman has learned throughout his life and you have someone who’s in the influential position of offering advice to young professionals about careers, business, and success, among other things. Read his story for Mentor Arabia in Lebanon below, where he gives you the insights you need to define a path to success for yourself, as well as to find solace and inspiration in these unprecedented times.

Life’s twists and turns

In his childhood, Abdul Rahman spent part of the summertime working in the family business. “I’d clean, make coffee or tea, and sometimes tend the cashier,” he remembers. This experience would help him identify within himself a passion for business, though it would take him years to commit to it. “After high school, I wanted to do something different, so I went to Canada to study English.” When he finished studying abroad, Abdul Rahman’s parents passed away, leaving a void that would set him on a path to finding answers to questions about his future. “I was completely lost, so I went to my eldest brother for guidance; he asked me to return to the family business, but I still wanted to do something different.”

Ignoring his latent passion for business, he continued to try “different” things, including trials to become a police officer, working at an airline, and wanting to become a pilot. A turning point in Abdul Rahman’s life came when his eldest brother passed away, signaling it was time to commit to a career, so he went to England and studied Computer Science. After returning home from his studies, his family had opened up a small software house, where he found work “customizing, enhancing, packaging, and selling the supply chain application designed for the family business.”

Abdul Rahman’s lack of business experience affected his enterprise, however, struggling to keep it afloat. What he did have was experience working with Oracle products, so he bet on obtaining the software’s exclusive distribution rights in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, he failed to do so. “My uncle said I had to shut down the business, as it was no longer viable,” he admits. What he did next would baffle most, but it would become Abdul Rahman’s first step towards a successful career in technology.

If you can’t beat them…

After Oracle rejected his bid to be the exclusive distributor of its software in his country, the fledgling professional decided to join the company. His decision came from asking himself three questions he considers fundamental to achieving career success: What do I want? Why do I want it? How do I get it? “I wanted to become the regional Vice President (what) because I’m passionate about people development, business growth, contributing to society, and achieving wealth (why). After joining Oracle, I asked the regional Vice President what I was missing to reach that position (how); he gave me a list, so I focused on acquiring those skills. Within two years, I’d reached my goal,” Abdul Rahman says.

Additionally, he describes a “job triangle,” which consists of three points: What value do you add to the business? Do you find the job interesting? Are you making enough money? These points are indicators of happiness and satisfaction in a job. “If you add value to the business, your work makes a difference. If you find your job interesting, your passion and skills grow. If you make enough money, you’re able to afford a decent living,” he explains. “Above all else, the most important thing you need to achieve success is being honest with yourself and others. If you’re not honest with yourself, you’ll never be able to answer the what, why, and how, nor assess your job triangle properly.”

Lockdown learning

Abdul Rahman is convinced that during these trying times we’re going through, there’s still opportunity to learn and grow. “Change is the only constant, and we need to adapt to change,” he says. “Digital transformation has become an essential part of business, and business is an essential part of being human. Through our cloud offering, we address training for students and stay-at-home people to get their certification in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.” He adds that the world will be “completely different” from now on, and that “looking on the bright side” and “being optimistic” are crucial habits to remaining grounded in any situation.

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