After a few weeks of frantic scrabbling around for new gainful employment in Dubai I have come to some conclusions. First is that I may have done it from scratch once but I really don't have the energy to do it all over again. After what happened with my previous job I don't have the motivation either.... and it is this which presents the biggest problem.
I have also found that my previous job was done in such a vacuum it doesn't seem to translate to anything outside of it. So my year of working on a pioneering culture and arts project in Dubai is irrelevant because I cannot use the knowledge gained to get another job. This is very disturbing. If the experience is irrelevant here, what possible use can it be elsewhere? There is a metaphor in here somewhere but I haven't worked out what it is yet.
Another thing is that there is some confusion about what 'freelance' means! The reaction I got from my employers when informed that my job had disappeared was 'but it's ok, you're freelance right?' When you start a project with an end date in spring 2009 you don't expect it to disappear in Autumn 2008! In this scenario 'freelance' just seems to mean an employee who is effortlessly and guiltlessly disposable (tho' the G word is probably redundant in this context!).
Anyway I have thrown in the Dubai towel, given notice on the flat and am relocating to Sharjah. Spouse has already made this move to a new job with rent paid. We figured that we could keep the flat on in Dubai and he could come for weekends but now I am not earning that is impossible so Sharjah here I come. Who knows we may even recoup some of the financial losses incurred by Dubai!
I am sure that things would have been different if we had been a) luckier and b) 10 years younger! The people I have met who seem happiest here are generally under 35, have a car and have no property or other financial commitments elsewhere unlike us. In some ways they remind me of myself in Japan in the mid 80s. Tokyo was a boom town, the money was flowing, my income was highly disposable and it was absolutely fantastic!
Aaahhh.... the good old days...