Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday Funday!

So I feel like I can finally talk about my "life-changing decision" that I mentioned making in a post a couple weeks ago.  Well, remember when I went to Abu Dhabi back in February?  I actually went for a job interview at ADIA (Abu Dhabi Investment Authority), which is the largest sovereign wealth management fund in the world.  They hire mostly expats from Europe, Australia and America.  In fact, about 80% of the country's residents are foreigners, which makes it an interesting melting pot.  ADIA has a very very long job interview process, so I actually began talking to them before I even got my current job.  I was going to stop the process with them when I first started my current job, but then they wanted to fly me out to Abu Dhabi business class so I was like... ummm... let's go!  Lol.  Throughout the whole process, I was very honest with them so they knew all of this.  If you are interested in this process, read on!  It was the longest and most drawn out process I've ever gone through!

****** Skip if not interested.  =)  ******
Phone & Video Interviews
Let me tell you... this was no ordinary job interview.  How I began my process was from some head hunters from London contacting me, and I had to talk to them numerous times before even talking to the hiring manager at ADIA.  After passing the phone round with ADIA, they scheduled a video conference with me and like 6 people on their side shooting questions at me, which was intimidating to say the least especially when you have to worry about how you look on camera!  Not to mention with the time difference, I had to do all these interviews at like 8 or 9 pm my time.  

Parametric Testing & Role Play
After passing the video conference round, I was moved up to the next round which was basically personality test, IQ test, and real life simulations.  I had to complete a LONG questionnaire with hundreds of personality tests (multiple choice and written), which took at least 3 hours!  Then, they flew me to San Francisco to go through a whole day of like 4 parametric tests and 3 role plays with hypothetical situations and people pretending to be my direct report, my peer and my boss.  It to test how I would react to situations and interact with different people I suppose.  It was fun lol.  I guess this step is very important and most people fail here.  I actually kind of liked it and was told I scored among the highest percentile!  Woohoo!  So that was the definitive step in flying me out to Abu Dhabi.  To be honest, this was my goal to get a trip out there!

In Person Interview - 2 Days
Once I got to Abu Dhabi, they put me up for like 4 nights at the St Regis, and a full time chauffeur driving me around.  They would have paid for my boyfriend to fly there too but since we are not married, the UAE law prevented them from doing so.  So we just paid for him out of pocket which was no big deal considering everything else was free.  I went through 2 whole days of interviews there, and met about 20 people.  I also went on a housing tour to see what kind of accommodations would be provided to me if I went there.  The interviews ended with another computerized test!  After it was all over, I was so relieved.  It's seriously a test of endurance!  I didn't think the questions asked were very hard though.  I was really kind of thinking that the people working there did not have very impressive backgrounds.  Even before I went, I did research on LinkedIn on various interviewer backgrounds and was actually quite shocked that they were able to get to the positions they had at ADIA.  Probably because it's harder to find people who are willing to move to the Middle East vs. a major financial hub like NYC, London, Hong Kong, etc.  So that was my first "hmmm" moment.  But they were really nice people though lol.

Receive Job Offer
So anyway, I went on to Dubai for fun.  Then, a week or so after I got back home, I actually got the job offer lol.  Up until this point, I had no idea what compensation they would be offering.  They made it sound very vague because apparently they base it on your last 3 years of pay.  But I kind of thought a place like that where money just grows out of the ground (lol) would pay really well.  They pay for your housing and give you expat allowance, in addition to your health care insurance, retirement benefits, etc.  So your base salary actually looks lower on paper.  Once you take everything into account, it should be "reasonable" is what I was told.  When I got my offer, I calculated the total to be at most 25% more per year than what I'm currently making.  It's a 3 year rolling contract, and once you get there, there's not going to be much increase.  So basically you are giving up opportunity cost of making more at home in the next 3 years.  It's not any cheaper to live there than to live in LA.  On top of that, I'd be making the move with my bf if I accepted the offer, and the job opportunities seemed slim for him there.  Right now, he actually makes a lot more than me so it's pretty silly to give up 2 jobs for 1 job, with less total pay, AND have to move across the world and buy all new furniture.

I also don't know how the experience would be looked upon if I were to come back to the US after a few years.  And, this is rather important - being an Asian woman there probably doesn't do me any favors!  Everyone I met at that company was an older white male mostly from Europe, except for the very top people who are Emirate men (foreigners can never make it to that level).  All the lower level people I met were Indian men, and they'd all been there forever with clearly no more growth.  Every woman was an administrative assistant.  Frankly, I'm surprised they even made me an offer.  Although I do have to say that my background is absolutely perfect for that job lol.  But I'd be nervous about how I would be treated there, both at work and outside.  Oh and... Lastly, alcohol is prohibited there, and no pork (although food is very very good).  I just don't know about that.

Decline Offer
So after thinking about it for a while, it was somewhat of an easy "no", which I told them earlier this week.  I think most people probably say yes to their offers, just because of how much time they've already invested into it!  Seriously, more than 6 months (apparently this is quick too) invested and you feel like nothing comes out of it.  But really, you shouldn't be making a decision based on that.  I feel good about my decision to stay put.  I'm pretty happy at my current company, and I think I'm in a good position with way more upward potential here.  I don't really see it as time wasted on the ADIA process either because now I know how it works, and have an idea of the level of pay they offer.  

If I had taken the job, I'd be working a lot less though!  They have a ridiculous amount of holidays and days off.  The UAE is also very centrally located so people travel internally a lot.  They can take off a month at a time!!  It's pretty unheard of in the industry I work in the US.  But I think I'll work harder now, and consider a place like that when I'm in my twilight years.  Hahaha. 

****** The End lol******

Anyway, now that that's out of the way, I feel like a load has been taken off.  Now I can buy more clothes and shoes without feeling like I need to move everything to the other side of the world LOL.  But now you see why I've been so out of it lately, which manifested itself in having less time to blog as well.  I did think that maybe I'd regret the decision of turning them down, but so far I haven't even really thought about them all week so I guess that answers that!

I pushed on with my workouts and started month 16 of Get Glutes this week.  Every time when I start the new month's workout, I get unbelievably sore and this week was no exception.  I could barely move for a couple days!  So I had to take it a little easier and completed only 3 of my 4 workouts.  Oh well, I no longer worry about finishing it all each week.  I kind of like this new approach of just doing whatever I can without feeling bad about it.

Monday 3/28 - Rest

Tuesday 3/29
What I did:  Strength #1, followed by 20 minutes on the gauntlet.

What I wore:
Top:  Onzie Knot Back Tank
Shoes:  Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 4 in hyper cobalt/bright mango

Wednesday 3/30 - Rest, alarm didn't go off!

Thursday 3/31
What I did:  Strength #2.

What I wore:
Top:  Lululemon Yogi Cutoff tee
Bottom:  Beyond Yoga Gathered Legging in dusk
Shoes:  Nike Free 3.0

Friday 4/1 - Rest.  But I've been loving my new Vince jacket so much that I wear it everyday and everywhere now!  Here's what I wore to work:
Jacket:  Vince Leather Scuba Jacket in grenadine
Bottom:  Express pencil skirt

After work, I went to dinner with my bf and just changed the bottom to the Black Orchid Jeggings and Christian Louboutin Lady Peep Python in fairytale mandarin red.  And added my Fendi Monster Bag Bugs Clutch!

Saturday 4/2
What I did:  Strength #3, followed by 30 minutes on the gauntlet.

What I wore:
Top:  Lululemon Swiftly Tank
in fuel green
Bra:  Lululemon Free To Be in laceoflage
Shoes:  Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 4 in ash

To and From:  Splits59 Penney LS

Sunday 4/3 - Rest, I didn't feel like going to the gym lol.  I went out to eat and wore my Vince jacket again!  Here's the outfit:
Jacket:  Vince Leather Scuba Jacket in grenadine
Shoes:  Fendi Sandals (write about them later!)

Ok, that's the end of this very long post!  Time for me to hit a glass of wine and go to bed!  Hope you had a great weekend!


  1. I loved reading about your job interview process! Thanks for sharing! I think the financial industry is so interesting and wish I could go back to school to learn about finance, accounting, etc (maybe after my kids have gone to college and if there's still money left haha). So I love when you give us little snippets into your job. :)

  2. Hi, I have been following your blog off and on for a few years. I moved to Dubai a few years ago. Just wanted to clarify that alcohol is allowed here, you just have to be non-Muslim and carry a license to consume it. Also pork is allowed-- it is sold in certain supermarkets. We enjoy being in the UAE and find it to be very progressive. The major thing drawback is the driving, which is extremely aggressive and a constant source of stress.

  3. This was so interesting to read! Thanks for sharing. Also I have been meaning to thank you for the heads up on the red Vince jacket from Nordstrom rack - I snagged one too and I LOVE it.

  4. Thanks for sharing the details of your job interview! What an interesting read!

  5. You really are pretty awesome! Getting through the process & receiving the job offer is a huge accomplishment even if it wasn't for you in the end.

  6. Thanks guys! I am glad I can finally share my experience, which I found to be pretty different and interesting, so I'm happy to hear that you feel the same! =)


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