The cool breeze of winter welcomed my wife when she arrived in Riyadh, KSA.

Plus, a lot of changes in the economic landscape of the country.

Before she left, we discussed the major shifts that includes:

Major Saudiazation efforts
There was a plan that by 2020, there will be no expats working in the government. Her employer started to give pink slips and thank you letter to some staff early last year.

Some of them were caught off guard. There were so many uncertainties and anxieties. If you don’t have any contingency plan, you will be left behind.

Implementation of 5% value-added tax
Tax-free living is out! The government started the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) last January 1 in various products and services like electricity, money transfer charges, your favorite shawarma, telcom charges and many more. More details on this link.

The cost of living is 5% higher compared before.

There should be major adjustments on your monthly budget and remittances back in the Philippines. Belt-tightening measures is a must!

Dealing with change can sometimes be uncomfortable, stressful or even scary.

Here are some things you can do:

1. Acknowledge things are changing.
Sometimes we get so caught up in fighting change that we put off actually dealing with it. Denial is a powerful force, and it protects us in many ways. However, stepping outside of it and saying to yourself, “Things are changing, and it is okay” can be less stressful than putting it off.

When a big change occurs, it’s important to figure out how much control over the situation you really have. Understanding your role and how much you can change can help you put things in perspective. For example, rising prices of commodities, find ways on how to save money and cut on your unnecessary expenses.

2. Accept and reframe
If the unwanted change is beyond your control, try taking a reflective approach. Accepting that there are things beyond your control, and choosing to be comfortable with that fact, is likely to bring greater peace of mind than waging an unwinnable war. View change as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a setback.

3. Remain optimistic
Even though it can be a tough ask, focusing on the positives can really help you manage change. While the positive aspects of a situation might not be obvious to begin with, it’s worth seeking them out – no matter how small they might be.

Is working abroad still for you?

Or might as well find opportunities back home?


Change is part of life. My wife sent me a photo of her workstation. She is so sweet!