Why “One Thousand and One Nights” is relevant for your career.


We all know fairytales like “Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp” or “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”. They all are part of the One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian nights), which is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales. But do you know the story of One Thousand and One Nights itself?

In ancient times the king Shahryar ruled "India and China". He discovers that his wife is unfaithful and has her executed. In his bitterness and grief he decides that all women are the same. He begins to marry a succession of virgins only to execute each one the next morning, before she has a chance to dishonour him. Eventually the vizier (his assistant), whose duty it is to provide them, cannot find any more virgins. Scheherazade, the vizier's daughter, offers herself as the next bride and her father reluctantly agrees. On the night of their marriage, Scheherazade begins to tell the king a fairytale, but does not end it. The king, curious about how the story ends, is thus forced to postpone her execution in order to hear the conclusion. The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she begins (and only begins) a new one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion of this tale, postpones her execution once again. So it goes on for 1,001 nights… until they have 3 children together and he does not want to execute her anymore. 

How is that relevant for your career? As a headhunter I frequently meet candidates, who are so fed up with their boss that they are ready to quit without having a new job secured. They are ready to “kill” their career. I always try to convince them “Please stay until you have a new job, because if you are just out on the street your market value is in free fall!” Here the ancient story kicks in, “Win time! It will play in your favour!”. Maybe your boss will leave, maybe your company will be sold, maybe… There is an endless stream of options that may change your future in this company in a positive direction. “So stick in there, while looking for options! Keep telling stories and do not let yourself be executed!”

Klemens Wersonig
Founder & CEO
TARGET Executive Search CEE