Quitting your job and moving onto a new career overseas might be a huge step but could be nerve-racking. But just think about how people with established career in the Philippines who’ve left the biggest companies in the country must have felt.
One example is 32-year-old Eduardo Almeda Jr. who took the high road when he transferred to Dubai in 2014. Despite having a stable career in the Philippines as a brand/events manager in a huge corporation, he flew off to the UAE and tackled new ventures of being an overseas Filipino worker from scratch. Before landing a job as an assistant event manager, he had sent a lot of applications to various companies, went through neck and neck with other nationalities.
“My life in the Philippines was pretty much established, but I wanted to challenge myself so I decided to transfer and go out of the country,” Almeda told The Filipino Times.
His marketing and events experience back in the Philippines started when he was hired as a brand marketing assistant for San Miguel Corporation in 2006, after he finished college with a degree in management in Centro Escolar University (CEU).
Following his three-year stint with the company, he moved to a publishing company, and worked there for another five years.
Asked why he pursued this industry, Almeda shared that ‘marketing and events’ not only allows him to be creative, but broaden his horizon in terms of people and companies he get to collaborate with.
“I’m doing a mix of events and marketing. Every time I work, it stirs my thoughts, makes me feel flourishing, and that’s what makes it an interesting field,” Almeda said.
Taking the OFW life
Leaving his fruitful years in the marketing field back home did not come easy for him. It had been a crucial decision for him and his family.
“It was a hard decision. The planning part when you move in, hindi siya ganoon kahirap kasi hindi pa siya nagsi-sink in sa’yo. ‘Yung leaving your family behind, ‘yun ‘yung mahirap na part,” Almeda said.
“The first day in Dubai was hard. ‘Yung reality na you’re starting from scratch, anong gagawin ko, I don’t know what will happen,” Almeda added, recounting his first few months in Dubai.
From being a ‘real deal’ in the Philippines, Almeda saw himself as only one among the many big fishes in the fast-paced and competitive Dubai scene. But it did not weaken his knees, despite countless days of being homesick.
With his skills and persistence to penetrate the marketing scene in the emirates, he was eventually hired by Azizi Developments in 2016, but the job did not come easy; he had his fair share of small successes and failures in the beginning of his career here.
“At first it was tough but then when you already have the flow, everything will go smooth,” Almeda shared, saying that it took him three years because he was able to climb the ladder, and given the opportunity to handle big shot clients, both local and international.
“I’m really grateful for the company because they gave me their trust. Ito yung mga malalaking events ng Azizi Developments,” he said.
In 2018, Almeda was selected as one of the nominees for the “Marketing Professional of the Year” category of The Filipino Times Awards, an event where outstanding Filipinos in the UAE are recognized.
Advice to OFWs
When it comes to seizing control of your career, there’s nothing wrong with taking a leap and risk as long as you know where it would it you to, according to Almeda.
“I always tell my fellow Filipinos in the office that they’ve got to find their purpose to motivate themselves constantly to aspire bigger things in life. Sometimes, people want to achieve more, but they lack courage to chase their dreams. Have the mindset to go further in life and career, and match it with action, it will take you to places,” Almeda said.
He added that Filipinos in the UAE are known among employers for being hard workers, so they must take advantage and take care of their trust.