Abby was animated. "We can all bounce back," she declared, almost punching the air. Well on the road to recovery after her car accident, she was practically back to her old, fighting self.
Sasha agreed: "Sometimes I think we have to realise that we have to make the most of what we've got," she said. "Or start anew," said Penny.
Penny Frazer was a good friend of both Abby and Sasha, and had been ever since the girls arrived in the UAE around the same time. They'd had a blast, living the high life and enjoying all the perks Dubai had to offer. Penny, like Abby, was a committed career woman, and she'd worked hard at her job in finance, reaping the rewards through the boom times.
But for Penny, it had all come to an abrupt end. A few weeks ago, she had lost her job. Changing tax laws in the West meant her division was no longer viable in the Middle East, and she was just one of a team of people being made redundant. There was simply no call for her type of work in Dubai's finance field, so for now at least, the chances of her finding a job in the same area and at the same level were pretty slim. Penny was going to have to rethink her career options, or consider leaving the UAE.
Since 2008, life has changed - not just in the Middle East, but also globally. The boom days in finance, and many other industries, are over. Redundancies and layoffs are commonplace. It's an unsettling time, but with a few self-protection elements in place - and a willingness to create a new you - it is possible to bounce back.
Penny was not one to sit and mope. A woman with drive, she was determined to bounce back. In fact, she saw her changing set of circumstances as a lucky break - a chance that life had thrown at her to try something new, to be something different. So she made her plan: she used her new free time to get fit and healthy, she got a sharp new haircut and she started networking. While she was looking for a new career, she told herself she would never refuse a dinner invitation or networking opportunity.
It was one evening at a dinner party that her life began to take on a new shape - quite literally. Penny found herself sitting next to a businessman who was effusing about a hot new line in slimming underwear his company was bringing to the region.
Planx had taken the US and Europe by storm and, he reckoned, it was going to be a big hit in the Middle East. If only he could find a committed, go-getting sales director to spearhead the project.
Penny knew Planx well, and loved the product. As she chatted to the owner, her natural enthusiasm and passion was obvious, and the next week she found herself being interviewed for and offered the job. This was something totally new and exciting - an interesting role for a company with a boom philosophy. Penny had bounced back good and proper.
Creating a new you
We are never too old for change, but sometimes our attitude lets us down. Creating a new you can be scary, but if you approach it with a positive mindset, doors will open. It's important to make sure that any changes you make are in line with your values. After all, you want change for the better not just for the sake of getting a job.
Wealth Diva SMS
If you're looking for a new job or thinking about a change in career, consider the following:
Be willing to change. Now is a time of rapid change, so consider switching industries. Many of your skills will be transferable.
Enlist the help of a career coach. Most coaches will give you the first meeting at no cost or obligation. It's a good opportunity to brainstorm, and just one meeting may give you some great ideas
Network in unlikely places. Examine who you know, and who knows the most people. This is the era of the social network, so get social and work it.
Money matters. It's a good idea to live with three months' savings in your account. This gives you breathing space, allowing you to explore your options without jeopardising your savings and investment plans.
Stay protected. It's prudent to cut back on your expenditure to build a cushion, but keep up to date with your health insurance and other commitments.
Look career-ready. Have a plan each morning and dress as if you are going to work. You never know who you might run into getting groceries, buying a coffee or at the mall.
Janelle Malone is a writer, blogger and commentator on personal finance. You can contact her at www.womenmoneyandstyle.com for any further financial questions you may have.