Working in the Middle East may seem like a big change, however it could be very beneficial and if you read on you will soon see why.
1. Financial Reasons
The financial reason is potentially the most obvious of all reason to work in the Middle East. When moving to Saudi Arabia on a work contract that ultimately lasted for almost ten years, the money I earned was so substantial that it enabled me to begin a business with a partner that, after several evolutions, I am still involved in today. Working in Saudi Arabia was a highly beneficial life experience that gave me the opportunity to begin working for myself, and for that I will always be grateful.
2. The Cultural Experience
During my time in the Middle East, I was lucky enough to work with colleagues from at least thirty different countries. This allowed me to learn about different cultures, not only from the nationals of the Middle East, but from all the people I was able to work with – Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Taoists. By engaging with people from different cultures, I was able to look beyond the caricature and stereotype prompted by Western media and I feel more enriched by the experience.
3. The “Jumping Off” Point
The Middle East can be regarded is one of the best “jumping off” points for various areas on the globe that one may not consider visiting under ordinary circumstances. This may be less relevant in today’s society than it was thirty years ago when flights were less regular and more expensive; however, areas like Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, the Oman, Syria and Egypt and potential long weekend hotspots.
4. New Friendships
One of the most beneficial aspects of working in the Middle East is the building of friendships with working colleagues. I have friends that I met during my time in Saudi Arabia and have stayed in contact with for approximately thirty years. The shared experiences in the Middle East are a common bond promoting a growing friendship and while most friendships are superficial, there are certain relationships that do stand the test of time. This applies particularly to Arab citizens where lifetime friendships can be gained once trust and respect are achieved.
5. A Professional Network
It can be beneficial to build a network of professional relationships in one of the globe’s economic powerhouses and this is particularly true if you are involved in an international company. While your work may not always involve the Middle East, the region can always exist as a financial factor. Regardless of the industry, the Middle East has an influence on all markets in the world. It is useful to have professional contacts when necessary. Here is a good piece on work in the Middle East from Cavendish Professionals – should provide insight.
6. Exploration Factors
If you have a need for exploration and enjoy travelling beyond the tourist destinations, then the Middle East is the ideal area. The Roman, Greek and Byzantine ruins are available in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria; while meteor craters and vast deserts can be viewed in Saudi Arabia. Oman offers tropical oases and the Red Sea allows people to enjoy diving opportunities. Of course, there is also Egypt to explore but this is only scratching the surface.
7. Making a Difference
I am unsure if this reason is in the uppermost of many people’s minds when entering the Middle East for working purposes, but it is possible in many professions to make a difference to the population’s lives. During the 1980’s when I worked in civil aviation, the region did not have a good track record regarding safety and many locations were without airports. To create change, our team introduced basic standards of air traffic control and helped develop the region’s infrastructure. I believed what I was doing was worthwhile, despite contributing to the carbon emissions that are a global concern in today’s society.