For those of you who are not familiar with AIESEC, it’s an organization established post World War 2 to bring the world some much needed peace through cultural exchange. You’re probably in it, or being annoyed about it by a friend of yours who joined it recently because you don’t see him/her anymore. I joined AIESEC back in 2010. I was a 17-year-old university student who really just showed up because the guy promoting AIESEC on campus said I’ll get to travel around.

6 years later, with more than 12 countries visited through AIESEC, and more than 4 intensive leadership roles, I realized AIESEC had in fact done something it promised it wouldn’t do, it had made me unemployable. I couldn’t be any more grateful, here’s why.

1- It helped me realize what I love.

I joined university as an accounting student, and I found myself changing that later to become a business management student. Simply because I realized that I love working with dynamic teams, and executing and managing exciting social projects. I realized I have strange feelings for a well designed PowerPoint presentation, and that I loved presenting a well designed one even more.

These realizations limited my employment choices after I graduated. I wanted an exciting job, a job where I would feel challenged but feel equally rewarded, and that is not something very easy to find, a journey to compare with finding the “one”.

2- It made me socially conscious.

Before AIESEC, I knew the buzzwords, you know, “Global Warming”, “Poverty in Africa” and such. After AIESEC, I got the chance to meet people from countries I did not even know existed. We did not just talk about their local food, we discussed the social issues faced by their countries, I talked about my country, we both learned things that we never heard of on the news.

This made me feel responsible, it made me feel like I cannot go on living my life knowing that there are issues that needed people to take action. I realized that the concept of “Changing the world” starts with caring about what’s happening in the world.

This certainly proved to be a limitation when it came to the companies I wanted to work at. I wanted a company that cared as much as I did about doing good for the world.

3- It changed my priorities.

Before AIESEC, when someone asked me where I saw myself in 5 years, I always answered “Working in a nice bank, nice office, with a secretary, and happily married with a kid on the way.”

Just writing these words up there made me cringe a little bit, not because I think it is the wrong thing to do. If you’re a person who’s living that scenario, and you’re genuinely happy, then you’ve won. It made me cringe because I realized that I’m not that person. I find myself everyday feeling scared of a normal routine that would not make me happy.

People are different, with different definitions of happiness. What AIESEC did to me is simply help me realize what a “Happy career” would mean, and for me, it’s the adventure of working on a social issue that’s close to my heart, youth unemployment.

AIESEC made me employable to many companies with all the skills I developed and experiences I got, it just made me picky about what I do for a living, thus making me unemployable to many of these companies. Deep stuff right?

Mahmood Zeyad

An awkward human being who believes in the value of taking actions vs. talking about actions. Always excited by the potential of passionate human beings, and genuinely annoyed by people that hate their jobs. This annoyance led me to co-founding Majra, a platform to help people find jobs that make them happy, seriously.

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