For today’s expat feature, we interviewed Mathew, a customer service representative and freelance writer based in Dubai. A journalism graduate who hails from the south of India, he has been residing in the UAE for 36 years.
Mathew has been handling customer service roles for a courier company for almost 16 years now, enjoying his job while developing important skills, such as building rapport with customers. Aside from this, he also enjoys freelance writing during his spare time.
In the following interview, Mathew shares about the ups and downs of living in Dubai — managing finances, dealing with cultural “clashes,” and simply taking things one day at a time. He also imparts some insightful tips for fellow expats who are planning to work in Dubai. Keep on reading to learn more about Mathew and his unique experiences!
Expat Feature: Mathew Litty, Customer Service Rep and Freelance Writer in Dubai
Name: Mathew Litty
Current Profession: Customer Service Representative, Freelance Writer
College Degree: Journalism
Years in Dubai: Almost 36 years
1. Tell us about yourself.
Hi! I am Mathew Litty, hailing from the south of India and residing in the young and vibrant city of Dubai for almost 36 years. I completed my Journalism degree in 2007. I have been working for a courier company, handling Customer Service roles since 2004. Along with this I also do some freelance writing, something that I adore doing during my spare time — compiling articles for the media, writing community reports, lifestyle stories, and getting to know people. I am an avid reader and I love to keep myself in sync with the latest happenings around the community!
2. What were your previous jobs?
I have been working for 15 years handling various roles in the same organization in full spirit. Luckily after my high school graduation in 2004, I had the opportunity to start working and taking up responsibility.
3. How do you find your current job? Are you satisfied?
Oh yes, every profile is a challenge, so one of my secrets for success is to learn things myself rather than depending on others. Unlike other companies, where business is down, the company that I work for keeps me busy. In my job, I am able to do more than just attending to customer inquiries; I also have a proven track record of building rapport by providing information on additional products and services, while assisting customers to find the right products to meet their needs. During this tenure, I have grasped immense knowledge and have become well-versed with the process of how courier works in today’s challenging environment, adhering to the KPIs put in place.
Working for the service industry is very time sensitive, critical, and the profile is something that never stops. So it’s very imperative to keep training yourself through various programmes and online courses. Compared to other employees, I am proud to say I work for my company as it caters to the needs of the employees, and job satisfaction and security is one of the pivotal factors why I stay back. So the answer is a BIG YES, I am satisfied. If not, I would have not been in my current Job.
4. Are you able to save in Dubai? Why/How?
With the cost of living mounting up, saving is fiddly but it requires a little “common sense.” If you are earning 300,000 AED per year, then undoubtedly it will be hard to save more than half of that. However, If you are smart and earning 25,000 AED per month, you should be able to save at least 10,000 AED, depending on your lifestyle.
Personally, I am trying to clear up the loans that I have so that I can be loan-free. Though I earn a decent salary, I keep a track of my financial expenses. However, sometimes “something” pops up that instantaneously makes me want to get my hands on the ATM machine, but later on I realize that I could have hung on to it. Smoking, drinking, partying, working out in the gym, or going out for movies is not my cup of tea, as this is, again, an added expense.
In order to make great investments and substantially cut the cost of living in Dubai, you should stop competing. I must admit that I am a crazy lover of footwear, garments, and skin creams, but I try to minimize. When coming to Dubai, you usually don’t know how long you will stay.
5. Is it difficult to survive? What are your challenges?
The place plunders you to jiffs with options and copiousness of everything! Malls, stores, eating out, cuisines, cars, etc. offer innumerable options. You have to be wary towards savings or let me say expenditures. As cited above, owing to abundance of options, one easily gets drifted towards spending a lot. And before you realize, the expenses are above and beyond!
6. What do you like about Dubai?
Although Dubai is my home sweet home, no country is 100% safe, but with the laws in place we don’t have to worry as long as we are in the UAE. The infrastructure is amazing including hospitals, schools, parks, and malls. I love the freedom given to us.
7. What do you NOT Like about Dubai?
I think there has been too much “bashing” about culture. Amid the pandemic crisis, people are asked to practice social distancing. As it is, we have enough of distance already in terms of culture, which leads to clashes and misunderstanding, so one thing that I hate is people being too naive, pompous and sensitive.
In addition, personally I have faced customer service issues, so the attitude of the people is not up to the mark — be it a banking employee, waiter, doctor, nurse, cashier, sales man, etc. Sadly, I have had negative customer service experiences, but I am someone who never sulks and keep any emotions behind.
Since I am more on the sturdy side, I correct things when I spot something wrong, be it private or public. Social etiquette among many is something that I hate and many of us have yet to wake up from our little cocoon and explore, understand each other’s problems, and learn to empathize in today’s day and age. Each of us has problems and scuffles in life, and although we are living in a self-centered world, we need to help ourselves first and do our bit, rather than just depending on others.
8. What are your plans in your career/family/future?
Well, I don’t want to boast and give the usual copied statement that I want to be a manager or a CEO. There is a time for everyone. I pride myself in being adaptable with everything. I think the best way of planning for the future is to make the most of the present and be contented with what I am doing.
My parents are retired and they are back home. They always advise me to think ahead — of course, which parent would not love to see their children excel in life? But sadly, taking the living condition and lifestyle settling back home is the last thing on my mind. Although I was raised out here, I do have plans to migrate abroad and explore new cities. If nothing works, I might do some travelling when things get better.
9. You have any tips for your fellowmen when working/finding a job?
Always have an aim in life. Choose the right profile and skills that match, and do not get yourself landing in any companies that do not have any business or trading. I always advise employees to research the company well and find the right job, at the right time.
All that is required is patience. Patience is a virtue. Whether you are in customer service, logistics, operations, medical industry, or hospitality — always choose the right path that will suit you for your future. Even if you have to start from scratch, that’s okay as long as have the resilience and determination to enhance yourself.
Don’t worry about your status and ego. Be happy with what you’re doing. Keep your eyes and ears wide open and look out for better opportunities when you’re ready for it. Don’t jump and create a haze in what you do. Remember that all we need is job satisfaction and security, as we have ourselves and our families to look after.
*Photos provided by Mathew
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 people who want to come to Dubai understand what life in the UAE is like through your story.