The downside of working abroad

Moving to a city like Dubai can be an exciting step in your career. Not only are you exposed to various cultures and new experiences, you are on a fast track to a senior position that you could have been waiting years to reach back home.


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It’s thrilling and challenging, but like with so many good things it can all come to an abrupt end. We are sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but redundancies are a fact of life and the feeling of being “redundant” can seriously knock your confidence, never mind your bank balance.

“Are my skills not relevant?” “Do I have to switch careers”. When HR tells you that your position is no longer required, it can feel like a kick in the gut but believe us when we tell you, it can actually be a blessing.

Below, we have asked some of our readers via Female Fusion – Fearless in Business UAE on Facebook to share how they have coped with redundancy, and how they used it to their advantage.


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Kate Lindley, founder of Paw Pals

I had never been particularly ambitions; was always pretty good at my job – was a PA and was at CEO level but it was never my passion.  In April 2015 my boss was removed from his position as Group CEO and as a result I was also removed from my position as PA to the CEO and put in an office at the back of the building doing nothing for three months before I was let go.  I had been pet sitting on the side for a few years and had a few good clients.  Being made redundant was the best thing that ever happened to me.  It gave me the push I needed to set up Paw Pals Dubai, as I wanted to be queen of my own destiny.

The past four years have been tough, I now know how ambitious and tough I am, how resourceful I have become and how it has really taught me to think outside the box to achieve what I have.  I know have 10 staff working for me; we have diversified and started doing pet relocations and we have a dog trainer coming on board next month.  Things are going from strength to strength and the future is looking great.  Redundancy was the best thing that ever happened to me.  It gave me my company and the career I always wanted.


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Jenny Liza Kariuki, Entrepreneur

I moved to Dubai from Nairobi in 2012 to work for the worlds best luxury hotels. I started off as a reservations agent and over the years worked extremely hard and made my way up the corporate ladder. Just after a little while the company started experiencing some financial difficulties and one day as I reported to work on a Sunday morning, I got a call from HR and was informed of the redundancy of my role.

It was a shock, as you never really see it coming and no one ever informs you to plan your exit strategy or what to do next after losing a job. I felt abandoned, alone and confused. Being the sole provider for my son back home, and feeling embarrassed to ask for help from family, I decide to cope and survive on my own. The company didn’t offer any final settlement package, so here I was walking away with half a month salary, hefty credit card debts, loans and rents to pay. I went back to Nairobi and after some time decided to put my business and management skills into practice and set up Majestic International Consultants that supports entrepreneurs with their business models. I also launched a fashion brand Coutures by Jen and travel company La Bonne Vie Travels that focuses on tailor-made packages in Dubai, Santorini and Paris.

After encouragement from Female Fusion – Fearless in Business UAE I came back to Dubai and rejoined the job market to fund my businesses. Redundancy is definitely not the end of the world, in fact it opened my eyes to the great and countless possibilities out there.


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Zeta Yarwood, Career & Life coach

I’ve been made redundant twice in my career. I went from shock to denial. Denial to shame. Shame to fear. Fear to depression. Depression to anger. Bouncing back and forth between emotions – all with an underlying sense of uncertainty and lack of control. But after about four months, it moved into acceptance. Letting go of the struggle freed my mind for inspiration and creativity. This is when I realised I had a great opportunity to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. And that was the start of my journey to becoming a coach.

In 2014 I was working full-time to save money to start my coaching business. I was ready but the security of a paycheck at the end of every month was making it hard for me to quit. Then there was a company restructure and I was made redundant.

I can safely say both redundancies were the best thing to have happened to me. The first made me reevaluate my life and what I wanted to do with my career. The second forced me to believe in myself and start my coaching practice. Redundancy is only bad when you see it that way. See it as an opportunity and it might just be the best thing that has ever happened to you.


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To anyone else who has or is struggling with redundancy, we are sending you all a virtual hug. Trust us, it will be okay.

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