Julie Ann Marin.
PHOTO BY SUPPLIED
DUBAI – Barely a month ago, Julie Ann Marin thought it was the end of the line for her in the UAE. She was pushing 40, funds were dwindling and she couldn’t land a job.
Expatmedia.net spoke exclusively to Marin following her viral post on Facebook about how she finally found her luck in Dubai. She turns 40 on October 26.
“So 40 is really like a new life, new beginning for me,” Marin told Expatmedia.net.
The mother of four from Laguna, Philippines managed to land a job that was coveted by not one, not a dozen, but more than three hundred others!
Marin, who is now an HR administrator for a company in Dubai, said that when she finally joined the company, she was shocked to see the huge pile of CVs people sent for the role that was given to her. There were 359 CVs for that one job opening.
“I will be forever grateful,” the Filipina told Expatmedia.net, adding that she wanted to share her story in order to inspire other jobseekers in the UAE to “never lose hope”.
Marin never owned a passport before and had never travelled out of the Philippines. Her plane ride to the UAE was also her first.
On her first few months, things didn’t go as smoothly as she hoped.
“They said I had super wrong timing coming to the UAE because it was off season and it was the peak of summer,” said Marin. She had left a successful career in the Philippines and her family to explore her career options and join her brother and sister in Dubai.
She wanted to work right away but soon found out that job hunting was a tough challenge. “I lost count of the number of walk-in interviews I queued for, the many online applications I sent out; and how many people I asked for a job in the company,” she recalled.
“There were instances when even the policemen at the Metro station wanted to talk to me because I was crying. I was hungry and exhausted after spending the entire day job hunting with still no clear prospects,” she said.
“All I got was ‘We’ll call you back’ or ‘This is the maximum we can offer’ but the salary they were offering was very low,” she said, adding that it often brought her to tears.
“Sometimes I thought perhaps I made the wrong choice to leave my stable and successful career in the Philippines. That perhaps working abroad wasn’t my destiny. I felt really hopeless,” she recalled.
Marin said it helped that she had the support of her younger brother and sister, who both work in Dubai and live in Hor Al Anz, Deira.
“I am lucky that my family really supported me and encouraged me all the way,” she said. Her brother and sister brought her clothes, shoes and everything she needed to make her stay comfortable.
Marin said her day started at around 6am. “They said that is the best time to submit your CV so that when the HR checks, your application will be the first on the list,” she explained.
She walked to her job interviews to save on taxi costs. “For walk-in interviews, I plan my route the evening before the interview. Google Maps are very helpful,” she said.
What would she bring with her? “Biscuits, plenty of water, sunglasses, umbrella and sometimes a packed lunch. I also wear rubber shoes while walking and then swap that with heels before I go in for the interview,” she said.
To keep her mind off the searing Dubai heat when walking, she took lots of selfies. “I said, there are so many buildings and so many companies. I only need one to say ‘yes’,” she said.
One day, she revisited a company that turned her down for a role she applied for. “This time they were hiring for a different position, so I tried again since their office was just a walking distance from our flat,” she said.
She was able to pass several stages of the interview and met the general manager who asked her the “million-dirham question”.
“He asked me if I knew how to use Excel. Of course I didn’t but I said yes, intermediate level. The problem is, there was a spot exam! I was exposed! Thankfully, the general manager said he will give me a chance to learn it and asked me to come back the next week,” she said.
Marin didn’t waste any minute learning Excel with the help of crash courses she saw on YouTube. She studied every day and familiarized herself with the formulas.
“Anyway, to cut the super long story short, I got the job!” she said.
“I never expected to get this kind of work here. For a first timer in the emirate and for someone who didn’t even graduate from college, I am now the HR administrator. Now I get to post job openings in our company, interview applicants and process their employment visa and payroll,” she said, adding that she is willing to pay it forward by helping those in need.
Marin said she wants other jobseekers to learn from her experience. “Don’t give up because no matter what you are going through, there is a bigger plan for you,” she said.
“To everyone on a job hunt, just keep the faith. What you wish for will be granted to you, especially if it is good for you. And don’t forget to pray. Your blessing will come at the right time,” she said. PIA/Expat Media
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