Meet Lala, a senior Copywriter and web content editor in Dubai. She was able to land her current role through a recruitment agency in the Philippines. She also used to work in Oman prior to coming to Dubai.
Lala is also a blogger where she writes her stories and musings at Let’s Runaway, In our short feature, she shares her initial struggle in the change in environment from working in Oman to working in the UAE. Mostly when she adjusted to the accommodation benefits provided to her compared to her previous work. But now she feels contented with her present job. Read the rest of our interview here.
Name: Ann Lorraine Lames
Profession: Senior Copywriter/ Web Content Writer-Editor
Education: Bachelor of Arts, major in Communication Arts from the University of Santo Tomas
Years in Dubai: 3 years
1. Tell me about yourself. Brief Introduction
2. Why did you come to Dubai?
To step out of my comfort zone and to practice living independently. I also wanted to see the world, explore, learn more and have fun while earning and saving at the same time.
3. What were your previous jobs?
I’ve always been an advertising copywriter/freelance writer for design studios and advertising agencies back in the Philippines and in Oman. But I’ve also worked as a junior advertising account executive.
4. How do you find your current job? Are you happy/satisfied with it?
I found my current work through SGS Recruitment agency in the Philippines who got my email from Jobstreet.com. Yes, I am happy and feel blessed and content with my present job here in Dubai.
5. Are you able to save in Dubai? Why/How?
Yes. By allotting a definite/specific portion of my earnings to my savings account though I must admit that it is a struggle. I wouldn’t say that I’ve done a perfect job in doing so, but I try my best to stick to my goals – no matter how it almost always seems like I allow myself to get distracted every once in a while.
6. Is it difficult to live in Dubai? What are/were your struggles? What’s life like outside work?
It would seem difficult at first especially if you have expectations like let’s say in terms of your company accommodation just to name a few. My initial struggle in Dubai was the accommodation setup which is by far different from the fully furnished studio type units allotted to us Creatives team back when I was in Oman. In Dubai, since prices here are quite expensive, you must make do with the bedspace setup / one with roommates. But I hate to be misconstrued, it’s something that I have adjusted with and understood. I’m thankful because the setup has taught me a lot of things in terms of relating to people, making friends and a few things about life in general.
As for my life outside work, it’s mostly about spending time with colleagues-friends-flatmates and at times, even alone to try a restaurant or café, attend special events like Comic Con, travel to a different country, see local sights, watch an indie film – just basically, doing whatever it is that stirs my curiosity. Other than that, there’s also some volunteer work, joining organizations, church ministry and at times, meeting up with other circle of friends outside of my work.
It’s not really difficult to live here as long as you also maintain a healthy balance of being able to find time for your quiet or alone-times for your creative pursuits and a time for surrounding yourself with the right people. By ‘right people’, these are the ones who can mentor you, challenge you to do better in life and perhaps deliberately or subtly impact/influence your life. They can serve as ‘angels’ or perhaps, even life coaches. They inspire, motivate you, give you good pieces of advice to at least, stay steady and focus on whatever your goals are in life in case you get sidetracked every now and then.
7. What do you Like about Dubai?
I like that it’s a melting pot of culture… diverse nationalities, people from all walks of life. I also like the fact that it has almost everything in store for everybody – when it comes to food, forms of recreation, live entertainment, etc. Like there’s always a spot, an avenue, a channel, a platform for anyone to take part in. I like having the time, the freedom to enjoy and try out new things. I mean, there will always be something new to see, places to explore and experience here. So better enjoy while working at the same time.
8. What do you NOT Like about Dubai?
Maybe the hot weather especially when it gets extreme, unreasonably priced items here in Dubai that everyone has probably heard or read about, perhaps some incidents where I came across certain types of people that I haven’t dealt with in my own country and have brought me a bit of a ‘culture-shock’ in some ways. However, this hasn’t prevented me from learning or adapting to these new things or people I meet. We have to be receptive and open-minded too especially if and when you realize that in the end these could actually help you grow as a person. Choose carefully which new ‘learnings’ to take in and which ones to pass off. Knowing the difference is the key.
9. What are your plans in your career/family/future?
To finally settle down in a country other than my own and call it my ‘home’ too, reunite perhaps with my family and loved ones (whether short term or long-term) and have a family of my own too while being at the prime of my career. To live simply doing the things that I love the most, spend time with people who matter the most, be ever-willing to share and pass on what I know, what I have and keep it going – if that even makes sense.
10. You have any tips for Kabayans when working/finding work/living in Dubai?
As in anything, research will get you a long, long way. Read, ask and learn as much as you can before you take the big leap and come to Dubai. Take courage and believe that there’s a reason, a purpose why your circumstances have led you here. Remember this during times when you feel like giving up so this will fuel to get up and try again. The same goes even if you want to try out in another city or country. Choose friends wisely and more importantly, don’t be afraid to go solo when necessary.
Other than that, always keep a prayer in your pocket. I know it sounds a tad ‘corny’ or maybe even cliché to some, but really, at the end of the day, it’s those silent prayers that will help you get by. Your obvious faith in God would let you conquer almost anything that’s bound to come your way even the seemingly insurmountable or impossible ones. I bet it’s more than enough to get you past whatever Dubai in all its surprises – good or bad, happy or sad, can throw your way and you’re still going to be just fine.
Connect with Lala:
Blog: let’s runaway
Deviantart: tuesdayswithlexi on DeviantArt
Website: Get the WRITE EDGE!
Creatopia: Creatopia – Ann Lorraine ‘Lala’ Lames
*Photos provided by Lala.
Are you a Pinoy Expat in Dubai? Do you want to be featured in the website? Send us an email telling us you want to be featured at admin@dubaiOFW.com and we will send you the set of questions! Let’s help other Pinoys who want to come to Dubai understand what life in the UAE is like through your story.