I didin't actually live there altough it seemed like I did! I worked for Atlas on the 400 which basically meant you flew for Emirates Skycargo which meant lotsa days/night/weeks in Dubai over the last two years.
I know a few emirates guys and alot more by association with the JAA capts at Atlas. They all say one thing. They are looking for the exit sign. The place is basically the platinum handcuffs. No union no work rules that are set and lots of pushing the outer edge of crew duty and staffing.
As for Dubai, Bad traffic, Super high cost of living (beyond the "included housing"), and the overall understanding that you round eye are just the help! The Emiraties are your superiors in everyway! It is their country after all and that's how your treated.
I should reiterate I do not nor have I worked for emirates (mainline)! Only passing along my impressions of Dubai and other's impression of Emirates.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, being an expat is not for everybody. It takes a certain set of character traits to be successful as an expat. Americans, in general, do not have the experience that the English do at living/working away from their home country. They also don't have the tax advantages.
Emirates works really well for some people. If does not work well for others. I consistently tell younger pilots that moving overseas to work is not a good idea. Those in the 20s and early 30s should look at the major airlines in their home country prior to going overseas. Even those in their late 30s andearly 40s need to consider all the angles carefully. Career goals, family considerations, etc all play a major factor in ones happiness overseas.
Emirates has been great for me and I enjoy my life in Dubai. I do not feel that I work too hard ( most of the time ). I do feel I have been treated fairly ( most of the time ).
Dubai itself can be a challenge to live in and one can be the victim of unfortuate events, but where on the planet is that not the case?