The journey of the job hunt – Have a look below at a part one!
Now back to the main purpose of my visit, the job hunt. In two weeks I realized that the situation is not as promised, I have to look for the job while living there. It was a shock for me but the reality could not be denied. After two weeks of observation, I was sure to find something soon and I wanted to say goodbye to my hosts as soon as possible. I didn’t want to be a burden on them though they never made me feel like it, I was not comfortable. They circulated my CV in their social and professional network, they arranged some newspapers from where I had to filter suitable jobs for me which match my profile. It was just a beginning.
The journey of job hunt needed a mode of communication, for that purpose my hosts bought a mobile network for me, a newly launched company at that time was DU. As I was on visit visa, therefore, it would have been difficult for me to buy a sim. If I had chosen the network I would have gone for Etisalat. As Etisalat was the only available network before that, which had established its network throughout the Middle East. But my hosts chose DU for me and it was covering all my basic needs of communication. So it was ok for me.
At that time I had working experience of the only travel trade, so my focus was to get a job in the same field. My targeted area was Abu Dhabi as I was living there. As UAE is the most visited country and tourists activities are always at its peak so I was sure to get the job. For this purpose, I visited Malls, Suqs commercial areas where the travel agent offices were found. I distributed my CV as a pamphlet or flyer. It was dilemma and ironic for me if I apply for accounts job in travel trade of which I had the experience, I was asked about the relevant qualification which I had none and the sales where qualification was not a matter but the experience was in question, which I had none J . Anyway it was common reply to my applications.
After having setback in my initial attempts I changed my strategy, and broadened my search radius and was looking for job in the fields other than travel trade. The other flourishing business was of exchange companies, which deal in multiple categories. Travel, money exchange and real estate were their prime businesses. I tried my luck but unfortunately the result was same.
I was getting frustrated day by day, nothing was happening as I anticipated. I used to go daily to internet café to apply online, emailing my CV, to check new vacancies. I went to Danata, Emirates office in Abu Dhabi in hope to get positive response. In the scorching heat of Abu Dhabi I roamed on the roads. I have forgotten the reason now but know the purpose, which was to become the part this tremendous society.
I expanded my search radius from Abu Dhabi to other states of U. A. E. I visited Sharjah, Al Ain, Ras Al Khaima and Dubai of course. I found, apart from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah chances of getting job in other states are very bleak. So I focused on 3 states, Abu Dhabi remained the priority. Now when I flash back, I realize that I have done something extraordinary as compared to my lifestyle in Lahore, Pakistan. I was very shy and it was rare for me travel out of city. But in U. A. E. I roamed as a native. I traveled alone from one state to other in search of job. It was a life time experience for me.
Roaming on roads of U. A. E has never been felt as a fatigue, as the skyrocketing buildings and culture have been mesmerizing me throughout my journey. I wanted to enjoy every moment of it but the sense of fear was crawling in my spine as my efforts were not fruitful. The loss of time and money was scaring me. I left a settled life in Pakistan in materializing my dreams. I wanted to be the part of a multinational society from where I learn the good values of other cultures and implement on my life.
My education my experience seemed to be nothing in U. A. E. I was getting depressed and desperate. My all hopes were shattering in front of me.
As it is said drowning man catches at a straw, I went to a logistics company by the reference of my hosts. The person to whom I was referred was a manager in the company and was Pakistani as well who with his relatives moved to U. A. E. in 1980s. They sought refuge in U. A. E. to escape the onslaught of General Zia military ruler at that time.
Now back to company, it was dealing in cranes business. Provides cranes to construction sites. It is flourishing business as constructions never stop in U. A. E. I met the person who was very gentle. He assigned me responsibility in accounts department of the company. its office was in Dubai, one of the huge tower of which the top was not visible even if I turn my head to 90 degree straight up. In that tower company had 4 rooms apartment as its office. There I met for the first time in my life any Baloch (province of Pakistan). He was such a wonderful person. He welcomed me with both hands. All misconception I heard about Baloch just flushed away. May be that person was under the influence of culture of U. A. E. as well. This was the exactly I had experienced in roads and streets of U. A. E. & again in offices and professional life. He was like my mentor. He taught me accounting software used by the company may be Peachtree, I don’t remember it now. It was a good experience, office staff was mostly Pakistanis a few Indians and Phillipinos. I must mention U. A. E. nationals prefer Phillipinos as the maid for their home at that time. I had no idea may be they are more trustworthy or economical labor, really have no idea.
It was my 4 days experience in that office. I was offered AED 2,500 monthly from which they will deduct AED 200 per month as visa expenses. Accommodation and transportation from residence to office and back was given by the company. I was discontent with this, as it was not as I expected. Working hours started from 7 am to 7 pm with 2 hours day break which was to be spent in office as well, as there was nothing to do during hot middle of the day.
For visa they suggested my to get exit stamp from immigration enter the Keesh area and re enter with 2 years employment visa, it was said to be the normal practice. Accommodation was a studio apartment in Sharjah shared by 12 people, there were only 2 bathrooms for all. There was no privacy at all. Office transport was scheduled to leave for office at 6 am so to catch up the van we must be ready before 6 for that we had to manage and start for the day at 5 am. First come first free rule was applied on the use of bathrooms. This hectic activity further irritated me and as I was already discontented by the offer, made me think either to find a better of or go back to Pakistan.
I was not satisfied by the situation at all. At 6 when we leave for office it takes 45 minutes for us to reach. It was only a bridge which we had to cross and enter Dubai from Sharjah. Due to the peak office hours it used to be bumper to bumper rush daily. Now as I was dissatisfied every vibe I was getting was negative. All the good impression about U. A. E. was dissolving. There are always some burdens we have to carry before getting successful. I think I was not mature enough to understand this. Anyway on Thursday which was last working day of the week I wanted to spend weekend with my hosts in Abu Dhabi.
Back in Abu Dhabi I discussed the situation with my hosts and my family back in Pakistan. Hosts knew that this happens they suggested me to bear it for sometime, things will get better. As my past experience with them regarding the job issue I was reluctant to listen to them, my family back in Pakistan supported my decision to return. I had to search for job on my return, I was willing to take this risk because I knew my family is at my back. The only critical and crucial difference of life in Pakistan and Dubai was the family. Someone said if you want to go fast go alone but if you to go long then go together. U. A. E. was my long journey. I was not fully prepared. I decided to return.
Later on after a year, I heard the company in which I was offered job was closed as so the decision of giving up the offer proved right. In fast growing economy like U. A. E. companies operate and close in similar pace.
Here I am forced to mention an aged taxi driver from Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, who pointed at the trees on greenbelt of the road during a ride, that we planted these with our hands in Ramadan with fast. I salute the courage of the person who decided to leave the family and played a valuable role in transformation of U. A. E. which it is now. I returned after 2 months of my epic journey. Though I extended my return ticket date twice in hope to get something worthy but it was in vain. After my return I never discouraged any person who asks me about U. A. E. I always believed that it was my fate and may not be of everyone. Everyone should be encouraged to take the chance to live their dreams. I only told them summer is not a good season for job hunt. So plan it from October to March.
On my return U. A. E. was so generous to give me the gift of politeness and generosity again in form of immigration staff who smoothly let me through, despite the last day of visa validity. They did take some time for verification but they allowed me to leave the country with honor.
After 11 years I think it would have been better for me to stay but its best for me to return. I started seeing life with much more clarity and resolve. I made many personal and professional changes in my life after return. I know I can not cover my 2 months full of events journey in around 5000 words but still wrote what I remembered. I wrote all to become the part of history. In many coming years this forgotten story may again be rewritten. I am sure my story will be read as a lecture and lesson. By this I may be remembered even after I will be no more. My writings may make me historian who saw U. A. E. with different perspective.
Thanks, U. A. E. you will always be remembered as a great teacher and mentor. May you always flourish and materialize the dreams of people.
The journey of the job hunt part 2 with Antony Raj Jayamani. He have managed to focus on employment searching and was bale to get job in same field.