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A Voice from IT: The Importance of Meaningful Work

By Hani Z. Hattab, Regional IT Support Specialist
Published May 18, 2016

Hani Hattab is technical support & IT specialist at CVT Jordan.

In Arabic, we have a saying: “We see our goals walking.” And this is what I see at CVT: I see our goals come to life. I see clients in the hallways, sometimes children, and I know they are getting help. We talk about our goals as an organization, and we have a poster that shows our progress. We keep it where we can see it and update it so we always know how we’re doing. And that is good; we keep track of our progress and goals.

But it’s when I see the children – that’s when I see life. Working with children is like working with plants: we’re feeding them with sunlight, with care. You see the blossoming.

I came to CVT after studying telecommunication engineering at Mu’tah University. I began my career path in network engineering – a link between telecommunications and computer engineering. From childhood, I liked computers.

At first I had no idea what CVT was. I saw a job posting on the internet, so I sent my C.V., and they called me. I checked out the website and did some research into CVT’s mission. CVT is my first experience with NGOs, my first position in humanitarian work. I like dealing with the issues with families in the Middle East, working with refugees from Syria.

I feel that I need to work for a meaningful purpose. I know that as CVT staff, we can help others more than simply what is in our job description. In engineering, things are 1-2-3, and it’s done. But in NGOs, whatever work you can do is meaningful.

I like being able to help people with something that is difficult for them. My colleagues and I have discussions. Sometimes people have frustrations with IT, and we discuss this. We have “the hard moment.” But we can sit with this and discuss the problem, and often I am able to change their mood.

There are about 83 clinical and administrative staff here. Sometimes the schedule is tight and very packed. It creates stress. I try to make things funny – I try to go beyond just my job description. Whatever help you can give for others is appreciated here. It all goes back to CVT’s purpose: helping others.

Here I have the opportunity to see the client. You can see the misery they face. This is a reminder for me – I know our work is important to so many people. The main thing I like at CVT is that whatever you do has a purpose. Officially, my role is to give IT support for all staff. I take care of the computer network, the Internet, anything digital. Unofficially, I give my colleagues a hand for anything they need. Sometimes I ask them questions: why do you do it this way, why not another way? With some people, we have a discussion and come up with more options. I don’t only do the IT job. We deal here with each other like family. We don’t only do one thing.

My family has a saying: if you put a bad orange in a box with good oranges, those too will turn bad. But my theory is that anyone who has a good idea, a positive vision, can affect in a similar way those who are struggling. Some people just need a good word, a push toward something better.

Officially, the most important part of my job is overseeing CVT’s digital information. Unofficially, though, what’s most important to me about my work is being able to say I love my job. I believe in doing more with love. Maybe this is because I’m a new father, as you never stop loving your children. Because the main thing is I do whatever helps. Our efforts are not going for something commercial. At CVT, everything goes for a noble purpose. We feel challenges and stress, but when you align with a purpose, it’s a great job we do for others.

Sometimes we may complain, but our stress is a piece of cake compared to our clients’ lives. We do have challenges. Sometimes my colleagues say, “I’m done – I’m done with this work.” But I like to take a moment and ask them why? We have a discussion. Sometimes a small conversation can be helpful. Some days people feel like there is no hope, just like the clients come in feeling like there is no hope.

But then I will see two refugee children in the corridor, waiting for a counseling session, and that is rewarding. Those children in the hall mean “hope” to me. It shows we are not wasting our time. We are not doing procedures only – we came here with a certain purpose. If we don’t create it, we are wasting our time.

In the mornings, I don’t feel like I’m just going to a job, something I have to do. It’s different at CVT. It’s meaningful.

Funding for CVT’s work in Jordan is provided by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.

Hani Hattab
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Hani Z. Hattab
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