Nida Sameer is a versatile broadcast journalist, currently associated with Samaa News as an anchor and producer. Her career as a news anchor started with the distinction of being one of the first few news anchors of Geo News.
Nida’s inclination towards media goes back to her student life. She got her degree in Mass Communication from Karachi University in 2001. In 2005, she earned her postgraduate degree in media and communications from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, after being selected for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Scholarship.
Being a success story in her field is one dimension of Nida’s life. The other is her role as a mother and wife, which she finds as fulfilling as her career achievements. To know more about this inspiring lady, we asked her a few question about her professional and personal life and how she manages to strike a balance between the two.
1. How do you balance your work and family life?
Nida: I won’t call it a successful balance. When I was single I used to call myself a workaholic. It did not matter to me if I spent 17-18 hours at work. But after marriage, life changed drastically and becoming a mother completely changed it 360 degrees. You can ignore your personal life for work but it is really difficult to ignore a little baby who is completely dependent on you. So my priorities changed, but I did not want to give up my career altogether. For that, I kind of tried to adjust my routine and keep the important people in my life happy while pursuing my career at the same time.
2. Being a woman, do you think it is difficult to pursue success in any profession?
Nida: Well, as they say it is a man’s world and in a male-dominated society like Pakistan, it surely is difficult. It is true that there are more opportunities for women today but at the end of the day, people who you work with really matter. As a woman I feel you have to deliver twice than a man to prove yourself. Even if your child is sick, you go to work to make sure no one raises a finger saying that ladies have a lot of domestic issues and they should be staying home instead of working.
Coming to the success part, as a woman you have loads of responsibilities. You have the role of a mother, you have to buck up your partner in his career, manage your household, relationships etc. In that run, I think only a few lucky ones would think of constantly moving up the ladder. For the rest, it is a constant struggle to cling to their profession.
3. What influenced your decision to start a career in media?
Nida: I was a Mass Communication student and wanted to join advertising. I must say I was very lucky because the time I appeared for my final examinations, Geo TV’s advertisements started appearing in the newspapers. Before Geo, there were no real options on television to consider, so I never thought I would end up there. However, the completion of my degree and Geo’s launch sort of coincided. It was a pure accident that I entered this field but I am really happy that I did. Once I was there, of course, there was no looking back.
4. What sacrifices do you have to make for work?
Nida: You have to juggle with so many things simultaneously that somewhere in the middle, you do not get any time for yourself. You have to prioritize your life and mostly when it comes to your family, the career has to take a back seat.
There was a time when my baby was small and I could only do a shift where I had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. I hardly slept those few years of my life. Even now, I do not want my child to miss her mother in the most important years of her life. So now, I sort of work part time.
5. Do you feel that your daughter is missing out on anything because you work?
Nida: There was a time when my heart used to bleed seeing her cry when I would leave for work, but she got adjusted to it very soon. Now she gives me hugs and kisses when I leave for work. She is proud of what her mother does and wants to be a journalist like me when she grows up.
6. How has the journey of being a successful working woman been so far?
Nida: It has been an overwhelming journey so far! Although I know that at this certain point in time, I can do a lot more than what I am doing. Probably in a few years, I will get back into the same old momentum. But I believe I have been extremely lucky to have accidentally entered a field, which turned out to be full of pleasant surprises. I got to work closely with and learn from some great people in the industry, whom I regard as my mentors today. I received a lot of respect, love and appreciation from my seniors and that’s what matters to me the most. I cannot thank Allah enough for all the things He has blessed me with.
7. What advice would you give to mothers who are struggling to decide whether to work or stay home?
Nida: I would suggest them to hang in there and not give up. The initial few years are difficult to manage but once they pass, you can enjoy your career fully again. Motherhood and managing a career at the same time is difficult but embrace the challenge as a warrior. You will come out of it successful.