On December 17th, 2022, about 10 young Muslims gathered at CAIR-WA’s office in downtown Seattle to spend lunch talking about different career possibilities. We discussed pathways to careers and what people have gone through to get the job they have now. We ate lunch and ended the day with a presentation about what to remember when applying for and looking for jobs.

The day started out with introductions among everyone to get a sense of who we were going to be spending lunch with. It then transitioned into a rundown of what CAIR is by Imraan Siddiqi, the Executive Director. I felt this was a great way to start the discussion because it set the scene for the rest of lunch. After telling us what CAIR was, Imraan transitioned into chatting about what he went through to land the job as Executive Director of CAIR-WA. Throughout his journey, there were many ups and downs, and different places he’s held jobs.

Then we moved on to Gul Siddiqi, the Development Manager at International Rescue Committee. She did the same thing and talked about her path to her current career. Again with her story, there was a lot of traveling and switching jobs to find something that stuck. We then shifted to Katie Walker, the Senior Communications and Marketing Strategist at CAIR-WA. She discussed the numerous jobs and interests she had had before she got the job at CAIR-WA. Finally, Ayoub Ahmed, Community Organizer at CAIR-WA spoke about his path to law school, and how he was inspired by a teacher who noticed his aptitude for reading and writing.

The common theme of all these stories is that no one ended up where they were straight out of college. It took them months and even years to find the job they’re in currently. As a high school senior, this comforted me a lot. It’s the norm that everyone straight out of college needs to find a job and stick with it until they retire, however, that’s not always true. It’s possible that this might be the case for some people, but usually, it takes a myriad of jobs before you get to where you need to be.

After eating lunch, we started on a slideshow made by Kashif Ali. He showed us a presentation of a concept that he’s developed called the Continuous Career Cycle and how it represents the path to obtaining a career. Starting off with Cognition; before you look into careers it’s important to know what kind of career you’re looking for. This could be based on the major you have or what you’re interested in or have experience in. Next up is Conscience; starting to plan out how to get a job in that career path. Once you know what you want to pursue, it’s time to start taking action and applying for jobs.

The third is Confidence; when you are in job interviews it’s important to be confident in who you are and what you’ve done before this. It’s crucial to know that you are qualified but not let it get to your head. Fourth is Calibration; this is when you fine-tune and start picking the job you most want. If you have jobs lined up, it’s good to pick the one you find most interesting. Next is Contentment; when you have a job you should be content with it, if you spend the whole time doubting your choice, you will never have a chance to enjoy your job. Lastly is Communication; when you are in a career that you enjoy, it’s great to go out and talk about your journey.

Communication ties this whole meal together. This career lunch was full of people communicating their career paths and what got them to their job today. I enjoyed this lunch very much because it taught me what it means to actually look for a job instead of assuming my life will be set straight out of college. Thank you to everyone who participated in this wonderful event!

Rayyan Salam is a Media Intern at CAIR Washington.
Our event photography was captured by Zain Khaki, a CAIR Washington Youth Advisory Committee Member.