“After finishing my degree in Portugal and the UK I worked in various positions in both countries connected with hospitality, innovative technology and as a Sales Director for a digital technology company in London. I really wanted to see more of the world, though, so I came to Doha in December 2018 to live my dream of traveling around the world while being paid to do so. I had some great times as a flight attendant for an international airline, but it’s a job I could not do forever. It’s not as glamorous as I thought it would be, it is extremely tiring physically and emotionally, it keeps you away from your family and loved ones and the company I was working for had lots of petty rules which prevented me from enjoying my time in Qatar to the fullest.

COVID-19 changed everything for me as it did for so many others. I was on leave at my home in Portugal when the new regulations came in and despite receiving reassurances that my job was safe for seven months without pay, the blow finally fell and I was made redundant. At first, I was devastated. I had lost my job and I had lost the opportunity to travel and make a good living. When I returned to Qatar to pick up my belongings I had no intention of staying. However, quarantining in my room for 14 days made me see things differently and I decided to remain.

Once I finished my quarantine, I went looking for a job. I got called for many interviews but most of them did not interest me. Either the salary did not match my expectations, the job itself did not excite me or the men who interviewed me were unprofessional and behaved inappropriately towards me. Many employers would just read “cabin crew” and would not give me a chance, even though I had vast experience in digital marketing and business development.

When I was almost losing hope, a miracle happened. I got contacted by this lady who I had always admired and arranged a meeting with her. As a result, I am now working with one of the most influential and accomplished women in Qatar. I have had the chance to meet some amazing people and work with incredible brands. I am actually much happier than when I was living my supposed “dream”. I love my new job; I am working with people in an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation, and I have got my freedom back.

This just goes to show that, even now, when times are hard in this pandemic, you should never lose hope. Better things will come.”