How People Who Quit Their Jobs During The Great Resignation Manage Their Money

Mouna Ramdani, a 25-year-old Briton in Dubai, quit her six-month job as a social media manager at a company in the United Arab Emirates in February this year because she felt underpaid and not valued enough.

“I felt exhausted and quit even though I had no other job in sight,” says Ms Ramdani, who has been in the UAE for over a year.

“Right after I quit I was scared and upset because my hire check was coming. I started freelancing in marketing a month after quitting my job and now I’m in a better financial position than if I had a regular job.

Mouna Ramdani quit her job in February this year because she felt underpaid and not valued enough.  Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National

Ms. Ramdani belongs to a group of people who quit their jobs during the big quit trend.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, employees have been quitting their jobs at much higher than normal rates to seek better work-life balance and more flexibility in their jobs.

In August, a survey by UAE jobs portal and market research firm YouGov found that 63% of respondents would rather be self-employed or have their own business if given the choice.

Survey respondents cited better work-life balance, personal fulfillment, the ability to give back to the community and higher income as the top reasons for wanting to start a business in the UAE.

Ms Ramdani, who paid for an independent visa, says her quality of life has changed after quitting her job as she now lives her life on her terms and mostly works remotely.

“I have a good work-life balance and I work when I want,” she says.

“It’s much more flexible and I can work from home without feeling guilty. My relationship with my fiancé has also blossomed.


Watch: Some of the stats behind the UAE hiring boom

After experiencing a sense of panic when quitting her job, Ms Ramdani decided to cut back on her commute and move to a cheaper property in Dubai. However, she later decided not to move as she was earning a good income from her freelance projects.

“I think the big quit trend is just beginning in the UAE and will continue into 2023,” says Waleed Anwar, managing director of Dubai-based recruitment firm Upfront HR.

“This is because there is still a backlog of employees who have wanted to change or resign from their position over the past two years, but have been held back due to market uncertainty. However, we are seeing currently in a busy job market, with employers hiring across all sectors, which will see more people move on and take up new jobs.”

More and more people with families are also reassessing their priorities after the Covid-19 pandemic and are now more likely to put family before work, Mr Anwar said.

While wages remain the biggest driver for employees to take on new jobs, people are also looking for companies that offer the option to work from home, he adds.

“Reviewing and providing a better overall compensation package is key to retaining people, but other factors such as the offer of remote work, flexibility at work, a better benefits package and generally openness to change by listening to your staff and supporting them are much more likely to retain talent,” says Anwar.

Paula Jacobson quit her job as senior director of people and culture at a beauty brand in the United Arab Emirates in May this year because she wanted flexibility in terms of working hours.  Photo: Paula Jacobson

Meanwhile, Paula Jacobson quit her job as senior director of people and culture at a beauty brand in the United Arab Emirates in May this year because she wanted flexibility in terms of working hours, projects she is working on and her location. She worked in the company for five and a half years.

“I am able to have freedom mentally. I was so absorbed in my work that I didn’t prioritize my health or my passions,” says the 40-year-old Briton.

“I have now lost 18 kg, I can do things during the day like surfing, tennis and meeting people… I also travel when I want, as long as I can afford it and my dogs are doing well.”

Ms. Jacobson, who opened a consultancy business last week, manages her expenses with savings and her end-of-service gratuity. She has also moved to a more affordable property and plans to sell her car.

“I’m not in a stronger position financially and probably won’t be for a while. However, I was never motivated by making money. I just need enough to live the life I love and travel,” she says.

“I sometimes panic because of the financial instability, but no regrets. I left at what I thought was a good time for me, I was happy with the job I had done and I can’t wait to make a difference in my own way.

Sami Said Ali quit her four-year job in the media in April last year because she did not like the working culture within the organisation.  Pawan Singh / The National

Similarly, Sami Said Ali, a 37-year-old Indian living in the United Arab Emirates, quit her four-year job in the media in April last year because she did not like the working culture of the country. organization and wanted to become a filmmaker.

“I’ve been working since I was 17 and used to have the cushion of a monthly salary,” says Ms. Ali.

“It was both terrifying and exciting to test uncharted waters, but life has changed for the better. I also manage to travel frequently and I sleep better now.

After quitting her full-time job, Ms Ali worked on a nine-month project with Expo 2020 Dubai and decided to save money by minimizing her bills. She stored all her belongings and started living in hotels.

“The only two bills I pay are the hotel rent and the mobile phone bill,” says Ms. Ali.

However, she started to feel the pinch after she lost her savings of around Dh100,000 in July. In a bizarre turn of events, she withdrew the money from her bank account and her partner accidentally dumped her wallet with a bag of stale takeaways.

Nonetheless, Ms Ali says she enjoys being part of the gig culture and doesn’t miss a 9-to-5 job.

When considering quitting a full-time job or starting your own business, it’s important to make sure you can still meet your monthly commitments, such as rental payments, utility bills and groceries, says Chris Keeling, Certified Financial Planner at The Fry. Band.

Make a list of your monthly expenses so you know exactly how much you need to earn to cover your expenses, he adds. If you are planning to start a business, you should also factor start-up costs into your budget.

“It’s also important to have savings to fall back on when transitioning from full-time employment to self-employment,” he says.

“Make sure you have some savings to bridge the gap between your last paycheck and when you plan to start earning money again. Create a business plan and be realistic with your revenue expectations.

It is recommended to have a minimum of three months of salary saved in an easily accessible bank account, but it is preferable to have 6 to 12 months saved.

If you have existing assets, such as property or investments, these could be used to replace your income and cover your expenses, says Keeling.

“For example, a $250,000 investment potentially earning 5% each year could mean an additional income stream of $12,500 per year. However, with the recent volatility in global markets, this is not guaranteed.

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Updated: October 06, 2022, 5:00 a.m.

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