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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Honeymoon is Over

This site is intended to give an accurate recount of my experiences here, the good and the bad, for people considering a move to the U. A. E. and specifically Abu Dhabi.  In this post, I am going to attempt to describe what I have been going through in the last few weeks and it is not all good.

When I first got here, everything was exciting and liberating. I was like a child seeing things for the first time.  New job, new country, new opportunities. Just what I wanted after a long stint at my last employer and a failed marriage. A chance to start anew. Did I mention I get bored easily?!? It seemed a dream come true.

Lately though, I have been going through a real trying time dealing with stress and depression. My energy and appetite are gone, I dread going to work and I have turned into kind of a hermit on my days off where I would only leave the apartment when I have to for essentials. This has become a real concern for me as this is not the kind of guy I am. Don't get me wrong, I have met some great people here and I still do some of the social things but my heart hasn't been into it. I have just been going throught the motions.

My new job seems to be the most problematic. I am disappointed at the lack of organization, the antiquated software tools that I have to do my job with, the long and crazy shift hours (I am lucky to find time to eat a quick sandwich at my desk during a 12 hour shift), some back-biting coworkers and a seemingly unsympathetic management. This is from a company who's goal is to be the best in the world at what they do. 

I am lazy and Libertine by nature but I am experienced and good at what I do and will step up to the plate when needed. It's just that the workload on even a quiet shift is overwhelming. As a new guy, help from co-workers is non-existent as they are maxed-out too which makes for a less than ideal teamwork situation as you can imagine. 

This isn't intended to bash my new employer (I know, too late!) they took a chance with me as much as I did with them, but I think it figures into my current state of mind. In fact, new software is on the way that will make my job easier and this will neutralize my current objections. They are trying and it's not entirely their fault if I am feeling screwed up lately. Let's just say it is not what I expected at this point and leave it at that.

Because I was concerned about not being my usual jovial self , I Googled "adjusting to life abroad" and of course found a wealth of information about adjusting to life abroad. It seems that what I am going through is common after a awhile "in country". The first few months are full of wonder and new experiences which evoke a vacation-like attitude. Then the reality sets in and one realizes that one must live here for awhile with job responsibilities just like the place they left but with the differences of the new culture and country. This is where the stress and depression come to play. You start to question why you gave up the access to family, friends and the support system you left. I left a good job with almost 10 years seniority, I have been rethinking that almost everyday.  You wonder if you made a big mistake and feel as if you are on the end of a very long branch.

The good news is that the prognosis is very good for a full recovery from my malaise. The information I got said that the early experiences are the peaks which rapidly descend into valleys after about 6 months and then a sort of peace is made with the situation between 6-12 months. That is a long time for me but I will stick it out. I just wanted to warn people that are considering the "big move" that there are some psychological potholes on the road and take it from me I am hitting a few now. Don't be surprised if you hit some too. 

That being said, Abu Dhabi is a great place to hang your hat! I am still glad I made the move.


goooooood girl said...

i like your blog......

joe said...

This is a good post, I hope that you will consider following it up and give a status update as to how things are going with the depression and what not.

I am reading your blog because I am thinking of making the big move also. So thanks for doing this