Life lessons: There’s more to work than a fancy office

This week, the Middle East Public Relations Association hosted a majlis to discuss the new world and new approaches communications professionals find themselves facing in the ever-changing landscape of technology and digital communications. I had the honour of sitting on a panel that discussed the changing impact of regional influencers – I was coming from the perspective of sharing my journey on leaving a corporate job to follow a career in social media.

I have long been a storyteller at heart. I remember when I first left my job, my mother would tell me how I always loved to share stories. Even as a kid, when my mother had guests, I would share stories of my day at school, my views on the world – which at that time were limited to how much I thought school needed to change – or my thoughts on the latest episode of Boy Meets World.

As I grew up in high school, I put those interests aside for more realistic or traditional academic and career choices. Through the journey, I worked in the maritime sector on gas tankers, then moved on to analysing and investing in maritime companies at a sovereign wealth fund.

It wasn't until I was 30 that I took a class on the entertainment industry during my master's. It was a class that changed my life. The class took place once a week, and during each class, we had a high-profile guest, some of whom included the chief executive of HBO, as Game of Thrones was taking the world by storm, as well as the producer of Glee, when the show was coming to an end.

Then, for one class, came a man who introduced himself as a “chief storyteller” at Pixar. Everyone was pretty amazed at everything he must have accomplished, and as the only Emirati in the room, I sat there thinking: “That’s a real job? You actually get paid to do that?” I’m sure he got paid very well to do that, given Pixar’s number of success stories.

What this experience taught me is that work – a job – isn’t simply about thinking of a way to earn money, but thinking about a way you can create value in the things you’re passionate about. It taught me that sometimes you have to show why your work is valuable. A lot of the time, people or organisations may not know they need your skills until you show them and demonstrate how you can positively impact their lives or their companies – a Steve Jobs-esque approach, if you will.

Today, when I describe myself to people as a storyteller, it’s something I wear as a badge of honour, rather than hope that people will skip the whole “So what do you do?” question out of fear of being given that blank stare – the one where they don’t have a clue what you’re talking about and aren’t sure if they even want to.

I’m comfortable because I redefined what work means to me – it’s not about a salary at the end of the month, a fancy office or a senior title. At this stage, I have none of those. I haven’t received that text message to tell me my salary has been deposited for nearly a year, I work out of my house or the nearest cafe and my job title is Khalid Al Ameri.

Work means so much more to me than all those things. It’s about leaving a lasting impact on people and organisations. It’s about making a difference, and to do that, I must focus on the work that brings me to life – telling my story to the world in a way that engages people and leaves a memory that will last forever.

Khalid Al Ameri is an Emirati columnist and social commentator. He lives in Abu Dhabi with his wife and two sons.

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About Proto21

Date started: May 2018
Founder: Pir Arkam
Based: Dubai
Sector: Additive manufacturing (aka, 3D printing)
Staff: 18
Funding: Invested, supported and partnered by Joseph Group


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Marathon results


1. Titus Ekiru(KEN) 2:06:13 

2. Alphonce Simbu(TAN) 2:07:50 

3. Reuben Kipyego(KEN) 2:08:25 

4. Abel Kirui(KEN) 2:08:46 

5. Felix Kemutai(KEN) 2:10:48  


1. Judith Korir(KEN) 2:22:30 

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4. Abebech Bekele(ETH) 2:29:43 

5. Aleksandra Morozova(RUS) 2:33:01  

Match info

Manchester United 4
(Pogba 5', 33', Rashford 45', Lukaku 72')

Bournemouth 1
(Ake 45+2')

Red card: Eric Bailly (Manchester United)

Expo details

Expo 2020 Dubai will be the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia

The world fair will run for six months from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021.

It is expected to attract 25 million visits

Some 70 per cent visitors are projected to come from outside the UAE, the largest proportion of international visitors in the 167-year history of World Expos.

More than 30,000 volunteers are required for Expo 2020

The site covers a total of 4.38 sqkm, including a 2 sqkm gated area

It is located adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South


Director: Atlee

Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi

Rating: 4/5

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 

UAE squad to face Ireland

Ahmed Raza (captain), Chirag Suri (vice-captain), Rohan Mustafa, Mohammed Usman, Mohammed Boota, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddique, Waheed Ahmad, Zawar Farid, CP Rizwaan, Aryan Lakra, Karthik Meiyappan, Alishan Sharafu, Basil Hameed, Kashif Daud, Adithya Shetty, Vriitya Aravind

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Director: Jon Watts

Stars: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon 



Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon

Rating: 5/5

The Super Mario Bros Movie

Directors: Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic
Stars: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Seth Rogen and Keegan-Michael Key
Rating: 1/5

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through and


Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

Starring Kangana Ranaut, Richa Chadha, Jassie Gill, Yagya Bhasin, Neena Gupta

Rating: 3.5/5


Red Jersey
General Classification, sponsored by Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Academy: Worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the leader of the General Classification.
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Points Classification, sponsored by Bike Abu Dhabi: Worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the fastest sprinter.
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Young Rider Classification, sponsored by Abu Dhabi 360: Worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the best young rider (U25).
Black Jersey
Intermediate Sprint Classification, sponsored by Experience Abu Dhabi: Worn daily, starting from Stage 2, by the rider who has gained most Intermediate sprint points.