End of 2015. After a short period of time working in Egypt, I almost spontaneously decided to move to U.A.E, Dubai. I urgently needed to change my location so I trusted that there is always an opportunity waiting for me out there, in Dubai. And truly, this is the well known place that is known to give a chance to everyone.
Finding a Job in Dubai
As I expected, that was the easiest step in my journey, thanks to my low expectations in terms of salary. In addition, being a European is a big bonus. Actually, at that rush, I didn’t care what would be my salary! It took me about 2 days to make an online interview and get approved. Then one more week to get my papers done and fly. I was joining as a supervisor at hotel reception. This was a big hotel located on Sheikh Zayed road. Everything was arranged by the company, so I didn’t have to worry about where and how I will stay.
Let me share with you some sources where you can find a job in UAE without traveling just for an interview. Especially since the new “normal” flying just for seeking a job would be awkward! Still, depending on your specialty, you may make interviews and exams in your country.
The hotel staff accommodation
I’ll never forget the arrival to the hotel’s accommodation. It was a corridor that had 3 rooms, each room with at least 2 beds and one common kitchen with laundry room for all. My room was looking cozy and welcoming. I was so tired and slept till I meet my yet unknown roommate. Many people think that whoever works in Dubai – stays in a shiny hotel, eats in a restaurant and showers with milk and honey in a bathtub. And let’s break that myth. Most of hotel staff live in a shared accommodation, only higher management can live alone or with their families. It is just like most of the expats in Dubai, shared apartment is the way to go for 90% of them. It’s hardly affordable for non-locals to rent a flat all alone. I had only one roommate and this was already a good thing. Others were sharing with up to 5 roommates, depending on their position.
Luckily, my roommate came out to be a very kind lady and we quickly found a common language. She was working in another department. We became friends:)
As hotel staff we used to eat in the “staff cafeteria”. What about it? At first I didn’t like it very much there, but after some time I learned to chose what’s good to eat for me as vegetarian. Some staff were happy to eat in the cafeteria even on their off day, but I preferred to spend some money and enjoy Dubai on my weekend 🙂
My work was full of challenges and I was so happy with the new achievements. I was a dedicated employee and was planning to grow my career in the same chain. The opportunities to join many different entertainments, staff parties, educational events and meetings were memorizing. Still, believe me or not, we are not speaking about salaries above 1000$ a month unless you are in the higher management.
Saving money in UAE!?
Not a mission impossible! Since you won’t really spend much during the week days, it all falls to what you are going to do in the weekend.
Myself – slept half of my off day and by the afternoons went outside with my new friends, or went out to the Mall of The Emirates for some shopping. Buying new clothes, accessories and girly stuff was my passion. I also loved to visit different beauty salons and enjoyed being spoiled at my weekend. At first I was not having any savings but later on I was spending more wise.
Most of the workers in Dubai keep aside a very small amount of money for the minimal expenses, and the main part they send back to home to their families.
Time to wake up
Time passed, and I was so much taken by the life and its entertainments. The religion of the environment around is money. Who would deny? All our life there was about making money, spending/sending them and repeating this process again and again. Not many of us had their spouses or families around as it was hard to afford. We were 100% submitted to the work.
One day the month of Ramadan began. I barely knew about fasting in Ramadan. However, I felt the need to enter Islam and fast with the others. I was a Muslim deep inside me, but I wasn’t well introduced to the lifestyle that I supposed to follow as a Muslim.
But this time, a big change happened in me. I understood that I can’t participate anymore in this endless cycle and keep working in the hotel. My only way to escape all the surrounding temptations and worldly life was to resign. I wanted to wear a headscarf but it wasn’t possible to add it to the uniform. I kept postponing my resignation till I decided that it’s now or never. Then, I finally did it and went back to my country. This was the last hotel work for me. After almost 2 years work, I finally felt freedom, like never before.
Life after Dubai
Many people pretend that they remain the same after spending some time living in the UAE, but it’s clear that the material and luxurious lifestyle in Dubai did it’s affection on us.
Being away from the closest friends and the family involuntarily kept us sharing on the social accounts our “good life”. No matter how busy we were, we needed the satisfaction of the admirations we get online. And one day we didn’t notice how this is taking from our real life. I call it “Dubai Syndrome”.
When I came back from UAE, I was identifying people by their material status. Their smartphone and their car was something about them, like never before. What happened!?
The Brand Syndrome
I never in my life cared about the brand until I spend time living in UAE.
“but in Dubai…”
Going to the beach? Buying something? Going just for a walk? In Dubai is always better, cheaper and cleaner… this “comparing mode” I believe, stays for life.
“Something is always missing” made me return.
After the affection of life in Dubai, I couldn’t live the normal and simple life again, even if I had the business going in my country. This time I was going to work for a company. I was seeking for the freedom in my belief and happily accepted the new environment. It was just what I was looking for! The events business was a totally different thing than the hotel which was much closer to my heart. Only after three months I got married. And this was one of my greatest success in life, although I wasn’t into the idea of marriage at this moment and was afraid to lose my job. It was clear to me that I won’t be able to combine marriage and career at the same time. On the other hand my husband was always supporting me when I shared with him my dreams, but I couldn’t continue with the physical work. Till now I’m happily helping our business remotely.
It was time to leave Dubai. We were only guests there.
My husband and me had almost the same view about life in Dubai and didn’t plan to live there. So, after 3 years of continuous work, we decided to run away. We knew about the upcoming crisis in 2020 so we collected everything we had and moved to the country of my husband – Egypt. My closest people didn’t believe that our life actually got better since we moved to Egypt. We had more time for each other and the families around us. And what’s more important… non of the entertainments of Dubai ever held us… except for business…. of course.
I’m not sure what’s our next destination and where life will take us further. I escaped Dubai, hi-life and the shallow interests because I followed my instinct and looked for my real God. I couldn’t find my God in the clubs, nor in the restaurants, nor in the shopping centers. But maybe, going through this path woke me up once and forever Inshallah.