Job Job Land

Mia: Maybe I’m not good enough!
Sebastian: Yes, you are.
Mia: Maybe I’m not! It’s like a pipe dream.
Sebastian: This is the dream! It’s conflict and it’s compromise, and it’s very, very exciting!
-La La Land

Here’s to all the dreamers in Job Job Land, the artists masquerading in accounts, the startup founders coding someone else’s app, the creative producers working as copywriters in marketing, and the budding chefs working in operations. Dubai is ripe with entrepreneurial opportunities for those willing to take a chance, so keep visualising where you want to be, and you will get there.

You don’t have to have watched La La Land in order to enjoy this blog post, but staring into Ryan Gosling’s eyes for 128 minutes is absolutely fantastic for your mental well-being, and this post is most definitely inspired by my end-of-holiday flight back to Dubai, when I finally had enough free time to sit back and watch the film (thank you Emirates inflight entertainment).

So what has coaching got to do with award winning Hollywood musicals?

Well, at its essence, La La Land presents a life coaching conundrum that I know all too well. In fact, it’s a story I hear in coaching sessions every day.

A story of individuals struggling to become who they want to be.

Let me explain. In the film, the character of Sebastian becomes trapped in a well-paid role that goes against everything he believes in as a musician. Sebastian initially takes a job for the sake of stability and the intention to save for his business dream. However, during the course of the film, Sebastian becomes disillusioned with his dream because his well-paid job takes over and he can’t find time to pursue his true calling.

Emotional chaos ensues.

My main take away from this film is the proposition that, in much the same way that Los Angeles is known as La La Land, I think Dubai should be known as Job Job Land.


With a higher than average employee turnover than the rest of the world, the UAE is a hotbed for job hopping. In fact, “Businesses in the UAE are estimated to spend AED9.9 billion (US$2.7 billion) annually as a result of staff turnover.” Thus, Job-Job: because we do a lot of them.

However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Dubai is a magnet for global talent and fertile territory for individuals looking to get experience and exposure with international brands, and more talent in the room definitely translates to an atmosphere that is richer in entrepreneurial essence. Most of my own UAE based friends have multiple hustles, be it Instagram businesses, blogs, vlogs and even movies!

In continued pursuit of my own dreams, and at the risk of becoming what employers may see as a flight risk, I myself have moved jobs 3 times in 4 years. Although, in Job Job land where management can be fickle and continued training is thin on the ground, this has been exactly the journey I needed to take in order to find my feet and understand where I want to take my career.

4 years on from moving out of my small student flat in North London and relocating to Dubai, I have distilled what I loved most about each of my jobs and turned this into a recipe for what makes me happy.

I love writing so I blog.

I love consulting so I coach.

And next time I pursue a role in the UAE, be it full-time, part-time or freelance, I know I will pursue a job that is aligned with the things I now know I love to do.

Because that’s what Sebastian did in La La Land.

He quit his well-paid job and went after what he truly loved, and you know what? He was successful. Because as Mia quite rightly told him in La La Land; “people love what other people are passionate about.”

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