AS far as Ann Cyndel Abilon and Chazel Mae Arizabal are concerned, working in Dubai is a great experience, so much so they encourage millennials like them to mimic them if given the same opportunity.
Abilon, who is married, said working in the oil-rich emirate will teach millennials to become independent, competitive and develop one’s maturity because of the environment.
Just like the typical Filipino seeking a better life for their loved ones, Abilon, 26, went to Dubai to help her family in beefing up their financial standing, especially when her mother experienced a mild stroke while working in Dubai.
“It was just right timing. After gaining experience in the Philippines, my sister and I decided to try our luck in Dubai to enable our mother to go home after working there for several years,” Abilon said. “All of these sacrifices and, at the same time, motivation in working here in Dubai is for our family, especially to my younger siblings.”
Abilon was initially reluctant to work in Dubai because she was enjoying her job as a software engineer in a major company in the Philippines. Nevertheless, the offer to work in a foreign land was too hard to resist, she said, because of the financial gains, a diverse environment that will broaden her environment and meeting a lot of people.
“It was a good start and helped me build my foundation in the corporate world,” she said. “In all honesty, I am a bit lucky because my sister went in Dubai a couple of months ahead of me. So, when I arrived here in Dubai, she helped me cope up with this fast-paced city and, a couple of weeks after, my then-boyfriend, now-husband, followed me here in Dubai.
ARIZABAL, also 26, concurs with Abilon that Dubai is going to provide a good working experience to a Filipino millennial, as lots of opportunities have emerged for the “Expo 2020” event.
“A lot of opportunities have opened because of it, especially in the field of information technology,” she said in an e-mail interview with the BusinessMirror. “Also, being one of the most multicultural cities in the world, it’s the perfect place to explore and enhance your career.”
Arizabal, also married, is a web developer and also a graduate of BS computer science at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). She thinks she was fortunate she was able find her first job, which is related to her background.
“From then, I worked hard to be able to climb up and get the position as project manager,” she said. “I believe I’m starting to get my career fulfillment.”
Arizabal initially worked with a start-up company for just a little over a year before trying her luck overseas. She said she has been fascinated with start-ups since her college days.
Although she worked with a start-up for a brief period, she though it was time to seek other options.
“Though it was only for a short period, I had a good foundation as a developer because of it.”
ABILON admits finding the proper job in Dubai is not a walk in the park whether one has experience or not.
Abilon, a BS computer science graduate of the UPLB and working as a project manager, said building one’s career path is quite challenging, especially when someone is a new kid on the block.
“Dubai is a cultivating pot of different nations with different experiences, so the competition is really high. As I’ve heard on different stories of our fellow kababayans [compatriots], some opted to take jobs that do not fit their profiles, while some accepted with a low salary,” she said. “Some took the path where they can gain some experience, even [if the job is] not related to their background but might be useful for future searching.”
Going overseas required a big adjustment for Arizabal, especially when she realized that she has been out of the Philippines for several months.
For her, it means leaving her comfort zone and making big adjustments on a new home.
“You don’t have someone to run to, and you cannot go home by just riding a jeepney or bus,” Arizabal said. “You also realize you don’t even know when you can come back, or if you will find a better job that will justify the reason you left [the Philippines].”
ARIZABAL described her experiences in Dubai as exciting and scary at first. She was a bit scared during her first plane ride and seemed lost when she landed at the airport. She credits her boyfriend, best friend and cousins in her adjustment period.
“They’ve taught me everything I needed to know about Dubai, so I really didn’t have a hard time adjusting. I was fortunate that I got a job as a developer on my first week. It was a good start,” she said. “I still felt home sick though; I still do.”
Abilon plans to work in Dubai to gain more experience and to be able to save for her own family’s future. She and her husband have started investing in a business that can hopefully become financially stable in the coming years.
Arizabal said she doesn’t plan to stay for long. In two to three years, she plans to go home for good and work on the start-up she’s planning to build.
“I’ve been dreaming of having my own social enterprise, and I always have my heart toward overseas workers being that my dad was one as well,” she said. “Now that I already have the first-hand experience of working abroad, and I’ve seen most of the problems Filipinos are having while away from home, I can now start working on this dream project that would hopefully help a lot of our fellow Filipinos fighting the homesickness just to give their families the better life.”