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Dubai is a land of opportunities at a cost — cost of a super busy life that’s literally leaves no room for “life”. The clock ticks faster

India and the world. But moving abroad was a step that I dared recently. It was with a clear mind that no country is perfect, that I ventured into making a new country my residence. It is for me to learn, unlearn and create new experiences that I decided to add a new flavour to my professional experience. Multicultural diverse colleagues have been part of my work life since early 2000. Working with international social development organisations in India gave me a deep-exposure to wide transnational work cultures while being deep-rooted in the Indian context. Thinking, style of working, work ethics and handling emotion and commotion during crisis (Gujarat Earthquake 2001) embedded a lifelong impression on me and moulded me to handle new environments, new people and new ways of living with an open mind.

Moving abroad alone is no act of heroism, but is certainly a bit bewildering if you are venturing out for the first time. I have had to juggle a lot of roles after the comfort zone I have been accustomed to. Honestly, I didn’t realise I had hidden talents; moving away from your comfort zone does help you identify newer aspects of your life and how to tackle them.

I moved to Dubai in August 2014, taking on a global role with a lot of excitement, courage to move out of India (for the first time) and live in an excitingly different set-up. The rollercoaster ride has, so far, been with its share of scare and jolts. Dubai is a land of opportunities at a cost — cost of a super busy life that’s literally leaves no room for “life”. The clock ticks faster — it’s seems like you’re in the Ferrari of Life. They say economies are hit, world is slowing, but Dubai seems to always demands more of you. Most expats are in Dubai to earn, lured by its fancy cars, high-rises, glamourous malls and, most of all, tax-free salary. It sucks you into a whirlpool of desire to achieve new heights.

Super-fast cars, super-high rises, super-chic stores and how can I forget to mention, super-busy life. Amidst the sophisticated lifestyle exists the reality of survival. The pace and pressures of urban lifestyles is a challenge one faces, whether in your own country or any other fast-paced city worldwide.

In Delhi, time was consumed by traffic, sheer chaos and weariness caused by the unending development (so-called) that the NCR region is witnessing. The dichotomy of experience of sprawling malls and reality outside makes me cringe. Dubai, too, is everexpanding but in a more organized and systematic way, something which is wishful thinking for India now.

Dubai is also very transient. So no sooner have you made a connection and a rapport, suddenly they will be in another company, another role or packing up and leaving the country. The work culture is quite tough, I would say. People who come here are inclined to make a career by all means. Working long hours, always trying very hard is considered to be normal. At the same time, the work culture and business ethics depends on whom you are dealing with.

It is a mini-world, truly the most international city — diverse nationalities, culture, food, work styles — a great learning experience and a challenge, too. It’s an entire world to explore and my expedition has just started. Each group tends to mingle within their circles, getting to break these silos can be an uphill task, especially when your role is to engage and bind them. Understanding different people is like learning new languages. You either can, or you cannot. Thank God for my earlier exposure to several multicultural work cultures, working in a varied milieu has not been daunting.

Inhale. Exhale — learn to close my eyes and think, is becoming mission critical. Juggling between various country office queries, demands, decisions and deadlines, I feel I will boil over and explode. While my love for my job keeps me grounded, you need to be prepared to manage expectations. Sometimes I wonder what keeps me sane. Guess it is the excitement to explore and experiment — an undying curiosity to learn. After a busy week at work, I love the fact that I can just head to the desert or wadis, camping or nip to the beach and forget the stresses and strains of everyday life.

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