I have been working as a PA and now an Executive Assistant for 22 years and have a wealth of experience. However, for the first 17 years of my career I had five different employees all in the middle of London. Everything changed 5 years ago, when my COO, boss of a major Asian company, was given a change of location from London to Dubai. This was a part of a mass restructuring whereby our company moved into European, Middle East and Africa operations from London to Dubai. This was to gain from the time difference due to Dubai proximity to Asian operations.
|Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and author ambro
At this point, restructuring meant redundancy and I was prepared to start looking for another job. After this many years working, you have encountered restructuring many times and I have long since seized being nervous about these changes.
However, to my surprise my boss decided to offer me an excellent package as his Executive Assistant in Dubai. I would gain expat package and a relocation allowance. This was an excellent opportunity as not only would my pay be a little higher, but it would also be tax free. This is because income tax is not applied in Dubai.
I have two children and I am separated, this was a major issue as it would involve my ex not having the access to the children that he arranged. School changes would be an issue, but I was keen on the international school standards.
I decided to broach a negotiated amendment to the access rights with my estranged husband. He was surprisingly keen as he was aware that the international schools are likely to be better than the schools they currently attend. He was willing to accept the move if they were to return to him during school holidays for an agreed period. Amazingly, we agreed on something and our lawyer had it formal arbitrated in our settlement process, which was still being completed.
Just over a year later, I was ready to move. It’s a good job that I had so much time to prepare given the legal ramifications of divorce and selling a house. However, I settled into life in Dubai quickly. My role was more executive here and I also had better working hours. It was strange to work on Saturday and Sunday, whilst I had Thursday and Friday off. However, years later and I am still here in the same job and remarried.