Undoubtedly, moving abroad is a challenge. For some, it could be the biggest one they will ever face. However, working overseas can also launch one’s international career and open doors for new opportunities, while cross-cultural competencies will go through the roof. Aris Varias Niere climbed the corporate ladder with the right formula and now plays as a customer service manager at Sika UAE LLC, a 100-year-old Swiss company that branched in Dubai.
Before fulfilling his dreams in the UAE, Aris started as a humble high school teacher like his mother, then as a college instructor for four years. After getting married, he sold tiles and marbles for homes to support the family’s needs. Because life with a family has higher demands, Aris needed to leave the teaching profession and venture into the world of the BPO industry.
“It was a different experience as the working time is opposite where you need to work at night and sleep during day time. It wasn’t easy because I saw my wife early in the morning as I came home as she was already preparing for work. The only time we can have a meal together is during breakfast. When she comes home at night, I already left to work,” he recalled.
Although his wife had a good-paying job back in the Philippines, she wanted to work overseas to add financial support to the family. His wife explained their situation if both of them worked abroad and what future they could give to their children. With strong will and determination, they were motivated to move forward and take the risk for them to have a better future by embarking on an overseas journey in 2006.
Diamonds in the rough
“It was not easy, not so easy at all like how we see it before in the newspapers or movies. Looking for a new job/career abroad is different as we need to strife to our best,” Aris said when asked about the first few months in the UAE.
Living with total strangers in a shared apartment was not something Aris would have thought of experiencing. They used to live in their own space, and having privacy is paramount for him.
“It was shocking at first, but then we need to learn and understand why the situation is like that. Then the job hunting was also difficult because there are also many job hunters and we need to be picky to make sure that the job we landed is what we can do, we like and have good pay,” he said.
His first work was as a website salesman, where he knocked at the doors of offices, introduced himself, and presented their services while walking on a scorching summer. It also took him three times back and forth before he landed a decent job that gave him a break as a logistics in-charge cum IT admin and PRO. His journey in the corporate world started with Worldwide Marketing Consultants, which allowed him to bring his kids to Dubai. This is where he enhanced his skills and took the supply chain route as a career.
Presently, his work as a customer service manager allows him to do things differently on how to handle various situations.
“What I like about my work is the decisions we made to make things happen. Sometimes or most of the time, we work beyond our tasks to ensure things will be done to our standards,” he added.
Aris advised his fellow Filipinos abroad to be brave as struggles are always part of growth.
“Don’t stop till you’re satisfied. Create your standards and never fall out of them. Lastly, do not forget the people who helped you when you struggled. That never left your side when you were starting. Be grateful to them, and for the life you are having. Look up and say, ‘thank you, God, for everything I have’,” he said.