In a span of about four months I managed to quit a job I hated, travel and return to a job I enjoy .
How it all began
It was 2014, almost one year after graduating with my masters in counseling. I found a job closely related to my field of study unfortunately I hated it. I complained about work in every other sentence to whoever would listen. My boyfriend at the time [we’ll call him Sean] suffered through my moaning and groaning for months before getting annoyed. One day, out of nowhere he suggested I quit my job.
“Quit?! What the heck is he talking about?” I thought to myself. As much as I loathed my place of employment I couldn’t just walk out. I had bills, student loans, rent and my basic needs to take care of. Therefore I would need to job hunt, score an interview and land a job offer before I could even consider resigning.
Or maybe it is…
Earlier that year Sean took advantage of a job opportunity in Abu Dhabi that offered a pretty decent salary. While I was finding it harder to get out of bed as the days rolled by. My job became that mentally, physically and emotionally draining. Maybe that’s why Sean propositioned me to quit one last time. “Why don’t you look for a job here [in Abu Dhabi]. I’ll cover your bills until you’re ready to return to New York City.” The suggestion was becoming very appealing.
After some careful planning and reasoning I decided to go ahead and quit my job. In other words I took Sean up on his offer. Inadvertently saying yes to taking the risk of a lifetime but also farewell to my autonomy. I was scared, doubtful and anxious but also pretty brave. Not to mention I didn’t have the support of my family and friends because they were all concerned about my long term trip to the Middle East. On the bright side I only have one life to live so I might as well live it courageously.
While being a brave, courageous woman is great, Miss Independent still had a major issue with this trip. 1) The (United Arab Emirates) UAE does not allow non-citizens to remain in the country for more than thirty days. 2) Cohabitation is ILLEGAL! Hence the anxiety, going to prison is not on my bucket list. I’ll spare you the details but just know that we respected the laws to the best of our ability while being creative…
Abu Dhabi to Cairo
Life in the UAE was pretty normal. Other than a larger population of Arabs and women wearing hijabs it felt like being in New York City only sandier. The people were nice enough, the country was more modern than most parts of the Big Apple and it was hotter than hell. The malls, food and social life trumped by NYC in my opinion, no pun intended.
However, as I mentioned earlier to avoid legal problems I had to leave the country before my thirtieth day. Because I wanted to continue my job search in the UAE I decided I wasn’t ready to return to the U.S. just yet. Hence, Sean scheduled his vacation to work around my
little problem and since we were both fascinated with ancient Egyptian history went on holiday there. We visited Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Luxor and Aswan, it was everything I hoped it would be and more.
Back to the Emirates, Back to Reality
Job hunting wasn’t easy, I was getting nowhere fast. Then Ramadan hit me like a ton of bricks. I was hungry all the time and developed cabin fever during the strict FOURTY DAY holiday. I felt homesick after awhile plus things were not working out as planned with Sean. Thankfully, after a few more weeks I returned home in time to find a job I applied for before I left New York had another opening. There was an intense negotiation process amongst but I got the job.
Initially family and friends thought I was crazy to drop everything and leave my country for such a long time. However when I returned many of those same people told me how brave they thought I was for going through with it. Even my director shared that I inspired her to take a risk of her own. With all that went wrong, so much was right in the end and I’m glad I lived to tell my story today.