Confessions of an Egyptian Fashion Blogger: Dealing with Egyptian Koosa!
If you’re an Arab, you’d think that Koosa simply stands for zucchinis. If you’re a non-Arab, the whole term would sound gibberish to you. However, if you’re Egyptian, you’d definitely know what bloody koosa stands for! In simple words, Koosa usually refers to a common social behavior when someone gets something that s/he doesn’t deserve just because s/he might have money, power or in most cases CONNECTIONS.
Unfortunately, koosa has become so common in Egypt to the extent that it doesn’t raise eyebrows anymore. You can be upset for a while when you are denied a job opportunity, a driving license or a proper attitude, just because someone else outweighs you socially or financially. However, by time you start to develop an indifferent attitude towards what’s happening all around you and whenever you hear about a situation where Koosa played a major role, you will automatically shrug as if you have heard about a mundane thing that doesn’t strike you anymore. Luckily, I have not reached this stage yet. I still get mad, whisper a curse or even dedicate a whole blog post for that matter.
About 18 months ago, I got an email from S, a head hunter at one of the most prestigious retailers in Egypt, who was looking for a Fashion editor for an online publication that the retailer was about to launch. At the time, I was kind of flattered. I asked her if they would hire someone like me, a part-timer who lives in Alexandria. She gave me the green light and assured me that the applicant did not have to be in Cairo. S courteously set a date for a Skype interview for me with one of the top executives who was very enthusiastic about the whole endeavor; we chatted for a long while about the specifics of the job, my past experiences and new ideas to drive traffic to the new blog. All of what he said was good. As I expected, I got shortlisted for a second Skype interview. However, that time it was with M, whom I was supposedly going to work under her supervision.
I was online on time and waited for her to start the interview, but she sent me a message saying that she’d be late for 20 minutes as she was in an “Urgent Meeting”! Deep inside, I felt that something was off. After almost 40 minutes, M opened her cam and started a pointless small talk, asking me why I started Sans Retouches and whether or not I would be signing up for some Fashion classes in some unknown place in Cairo. As an endeavor to go with the flow, I thanked her for the suggestion and stated that I would consider the classes in the future. Then all of a sudden, M got offline and sent me a message saying that she had a lousy internet connection. So, I assured her that it was fine and I would be online till things got fixed. 2 hours later, I got no response from her. So, I called S to check out on how things went. To my surprise, S informed me that M claimed that she finished the interview and she was in another “Urgent Meeting”. I recounted exactly what happened and then asked if they could reschedule another interview. Fool me! I did not get the gimmick at the time.
As you can expect, I heard nothing from the retailer ever again regarding that matter. But, I had to do my own detective work to see how things went and especially because I was upset by M’s rude attitude! So, I called a friend of mine who worked in the exact same place. It turned out that Ms. M had someone else in her mind for the job. When I asked about that chosen one, I was given a name, H.
H is a blogger whom I knew casually but who didn’t have much experience in Fashion. M claimed that she needed someone in Cairo whom she could have good hold on.
“So, why did they bother email me when the job was already taken?”
“So, this is why M wanted to be through with this interview and acted like a total bitch?”
I showered my friend with dozens of questions, till I discovered that I was venting out my anger at the wrong punching bag. I was informed later on that the blog initiative was put on hold for some internal reasons.
Then, two weeks ago, the same retailer posted about their need for Fashion bloggers and editors. This time, I did not bother apply or even recommend some good names. Of course, there were some worthy names whom I know personally, who were interested in the job, but I didn’t want to ruin their hopes with my previous not so nice experience. “Maybe, things are better now at that bloody place,” I said.
Then a couple of days later, I knew that H, the lucky chosen one whom M wanted to hire eagerly, got the job.
For me, it was all clear. No, I don’t think of the whole thing as a coincidence especially that I know that some other people deserved that post. Yes, I believe that it all has to do with Koosa. What I really cannot get is why the HR department at this unjust place would post a fake job vacancy post on their channels when they already have a name in mind!
I talked to some of my acquaintances who happen to work in the same field but in other Arab countries. It seems like Egyptians have done a great job exporting their infamous social conduct known as Koosa to other territories. Faking interviews, posting hoax job ads…, etc seemed to be mainstream nowadays.