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Dear Anna: I joined a marketing consultancy here in Abu Dhabi two years back as a creative director for AED 14,000 per month. Now the company is expanding and they think that I am over paid. Few days back Managing Director of the company asked me to resign or they will terminate me accusing me of false charges. Kindly give me a practical solution what should I do? Thanking you, Michael.

Dear Michael: Thank you for your question. I’m not sure what kind of contract you signed when you were hired or if you have an open-ended contract or a fixed term contract. If you are on a fixed contract, the UAE lbaour law allows for an end-of-service gratuity payment for employees, for the most part. Regardless of your contract, employers in Dubai do have the upper hand to hire or fire employees and, in most cases, the UAE Labour Department with favor the employer. My advice is for you to get in touch with the UAE Labour Department, which outlines employee rights, for further details.

Hi Anna: Is it true that Dubai is an expensive city? I am told that if one is offered a monthly salary of $6000 - $8000 dollars, it will be hard to save money at the end of the month. I’ve also heard that expats become easily dependant on credit cards just to maintain a decent standard of living. Is this true? (Danny)

Dear Danny: Unfortunately, the truth is that Dubai is a very expensive city. While there is a huge economic boom, property prices are similar to that in Western Europe and rental prices are extortionate. Dubai is also a major hot spot for shopping so it’s easy to get distracted and “shop till you drop!” So, yes, it is very easy to go into debt very quickly.

You will find everything from high-end designer clothes, shoes, furniture, art, cars and bungalows. My advice is not to get taken away by all the glamour. Really think about buying something unless you absolutely have to.

Food is not too expensive in Dubai unless you plan on going to an international restaurant every night. Utilities are moderately priced as well, except from the months of May to September when your air conditioning bills will rise. A word of advice: don’t leave your air conditioner on if you leave your home!

If you are single, you can expect your expenses (housing, food, utilities, transport, insurance, and clothing, leisure) to be around $2500.00 per month. For a couple, you can expect your expenses be around the $3200.00 mark and for a family of four around $4200.00 a month. In the end, your cost of living depends entirely on your lifestyle.

Don’t forget to get complete details about your work contract especially the salary and benefits to help you decide if the job is actually financially attractive or not. It also helps to network with your friends and colleagues. Dubai has an enormous range of accommodation options and if you do some networking you can also get more information on which areas are a popular choice for expats over others.

Thank you for your question and good luck!

Dear Anna, What type of academic qualifications are employers over there interested in? Is priority given to quality (competency) of the applicant or the accreditation of his college degree? (Monika Obst)

Dear Monika: Thank you for your question. The trend in Dubai is that employers move more towards job seekers with high levels of education rather than experience. Remember that education does not equal intelligence and no matter what education you have it will never equal to hands-on job skills. While both can eventually get you a career, the experience should be preferable to education.

Since I do not know which profession you are targeting; I would recommend that you do some research into that first. Find job postings of your desired profession from different websites or the newspaper and find out what employers look for the most. If the employer has targeted minimum work experience and you don’t have any, focus on the experience you do have and find relevance to the job you are applying for. For instance, use your volunteer experience or community work experience or even any major projects you worked on in school.

If the employer is targeting education, an MBA for example, and you only have a BA, don’t loose hope. For example, indicate your willingness to join school part-time for your MBA and underscore the coursework you completed during your BA which is relevant to the position you are applying for. If you are a recent graduate, do not get discouraged if you start at the bottom of the ladder. Once you show off what you can do on the job, I’m sure you will get promoted.

Hope this helps!

Dear Anna: Hello, I recently joined a construction company as a computer operator in Dubai. I have completed my B.Com and have a diploma in Export Management. I want to continue my study in International Business or Export and Shipping Logistics field through distance mode means without leaving my job. My question is that is there any such institute I can register with? I would appreciate any feedback you can provide. Sincerely: DK Jangir

Dear DK Jangir: Thank you for your question. Distance learning is becoming very popular even in Dubai and online certificates are considered just as credible as if you were attending a university or college campus. Distance learning can be done by correspondence, CD-ROMs, online coursework or combination of more than one method. Some U.S. universities allow students to complete studies and exams without having to travel to the U.S; some request that you travel for some courses or sit for exams on campus.

You can visit the links below for information on accredited institutions:

Thank you and Good luck!

Hi Anna: I have just applied for a job and one of the questions on the application form is: Briefly explain why you would be an ideal candidate for this position? Can you give me some tips on how to best answer this question? (Mustafa Hussain)

Dear Musatafa: Thank you for your question. This is a broad question which can make or break the interview. The employer wants to know what you can do for the company.

It is useful to refer to the job posting and figure out what requirements the employer is targeting. On a sheet of paper make two sections. On one section list the employer’s requirements; on the second section make a list of how you can fulfill those requirements. It won’t come easy, so take some time and think things through before you jot down possible answers.

You have to focus on selling yourself; use your skills and elaborate on them. Don’t sell yourself short. Focus on details such as the following: you never miss deadlines; you have a good sense of humor; you have great attention to details, etc and expand on them. Instead of answering: “I am a hard worker and I would be pleased to work for your company.” You can answer: “I have the skills you need to get the job done on time.” You can also use an example of the skills you used to get a particular project completed on a deadline.

Hope this helps!