Meet Ken, a restaurant manager who has been living in Dubai for 4 years now. He started his way up from being a waiter to now becoming an Area Manager within the same company. Although the F&B industry was not his initial goal, he is still able to carve a career on it.
We like Ken’s honesty in saying that he didn’t have a job in the Philippines because of his addiction to computer games. It shows how living as an OFW can change your perception in life. That in the real world, you cannot rely on other people for you to survive. You have to get out of your comfort zone and being in another country helps you realize this set-up. Ken also did not finish his course in college, but that didn’t stop him from achieving what he has accomplished now.
Ken shares his challenges adjusting to an accommodation with strangers just like how many of us OFWs started and also his dreams of migrating to Canada with his wife. Read the rest of our interview below and we hope you find inspiration from his story!
OFW Profile: Ken Abroguena, Pinoy Restaurant Manager in Dubai
Current Profession: Restaurant Manager
College course: BSIT – under graduate
How many years in Dubai? 4 years
1. Tell me about yourself.
I am Ken Abroguena, I love playing computer games since I was a kid. I have been in Dubai for the last 4 years working in a restaurant.
2. Why did you come to Dubai?
There are 2 reasons why I came to Dubai, Personal matter and to achieve my dream, which is to travel around the world.
3. What were your previous jobs?
I didn’t have a job in the Philippines as I was so addicted to computer games. My 1st job was here in Dubai which I started as a waiter in a restaurant and finally ended up as an Area Manager in the same company within 4 years.
4. How do you find your current job? Are you happy/satisfied with it?
I am very new to the company, I started last December 2015. It is a little bit different in my previous job since I have less responsibilities and still adjusting with my new colleagues as well but Im working hard to be in the next level. My job is more easier than the previous yet challenging.
5. Are you able to save in Dubai?
Saving is one thing that most expats want to do while in Dubai but sadly it did not work the way they wanted it to be, just like myself. Saving is something that you have to work on yourself as Dubai itself will take it from you. All good & beautiful things are in Dubai but it would be up to you on how you will resist all the temptations. My advice to my fellow OFW is to be wise in spending money, you have to know your needs and wants. Stay away from credit cards & loans unless you need it, not want it. Always remember, being a boss is always, a million times better than an employee (whatever your position is).
6. Is it difficult to live in Dubai? What are/were your struggles? What’s life like outside work?
Living in Dubai is quite hard but at the same time very exciting. You need to know the rules of the country before doing anything or you’ll end up being in Jail or paying fines. You will be in a place where you are a stranger to everyone yet people are very polite and respectful. You need to adjust especially in your new home where you are living with someone you don’t know in the same room. Eating in your bed, cooking your own food, washing your own clothes, etc. In my 1st 3 years of my Dubai life, I did not have much social life since I was so focused in my work that my daily routine is work to home, home to work only, then later realize it was wrong so I started going out and enjoying life without thinking about what is happening in my restaurant.
7. What do you Like about Dubai?
I always ask myself, why can’t the Philippines be the same as Dubai? People follow rules. Rich or Poor, regardless of your nationality if you break the law then you will be punished.
8. What do you NOT Like about Dubai?
I hope it snows in Dubai :). I think most people in Dubai hates the weather specially during summer as the temperatures hits beyond 50 degree C.
9. What are your plans in your career/family/future?
10 years is the maximum years I see myself working in Dubai. Living with family specially with kids is just so tough and Dubai doesn’t offer permanent resident to expats. Me and my wife are planning to move to Canada once we have enough savings.
10. You have any tips for Kabayans when working/finding work/living in Dubai?
You need to have a lot of self confidence and trust in yourself as this would be your Ace in looking for a job. You have to value yourself so you will get the job that you really wanted but you have to be smart as well in choosing since the time is limited. The same for myself, I am an IT student and really love computers. In the 1st months in Dubai, I was only looking for an IT job but I could not find so I opt to choose other field which I landed in F & B. But whatever job you will have you just have to make sure that you will be happy or else you will put yourself in trouble in the middle of your contract. Never limit yourself to whatever you have today, being a manager doesn’t stop me from working hard to be in the next level and I believe its not impossible to reach your goal you just have work hard for it. Stop complaining about the tasks that are given to you specially when they are not part of your job description. Just take it positively and add it in your experience, unless it is too much for you to handle.
*Photos provided by Ken
Are you an 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.