Saturday, 18 June 2011

The expatriate

Recently, on an interesting poll on a professional networking site, that I did answer, I found it meaningful to partake in the debate of working abroad.

My comment: "Work is always a challenge as much as joy (assuming one is passionate about it). Working abroad expands the challenge in that it is truly a different environment at all levels. There is a belief amongst some people that expatriate workers are transient workers, who will 'up and run' given a good opportunity. I disagree in that all workers are transient workers where given the right choice, people will move on. Having said this, moving and working in a new and relatively unknown environment (at least until you acclimatise) is not always traumatic, based on the reasons for moving - and as this poll rightly shows, it is the basic of all necessities which is a key decision factor. A higher standard of living, combined with better monetary and work benefits as well as the connections with colleagues from different parts of the world, will always swing the vote in favor of a location and business open to recruiting external workers. I have worked in multiple countries and have on each occasion found it simply engaging and worth it."

In my opinion, if the majority of people on earth were to at least work in a different country every year for three years, our world would be a better one. Working abroad has many significant advantages and disadvantages. And which outweighs the other is of course, a matter of personal situations. For example, a family may find it tougher to move than a single person. What working abroad has done for me, is expose me to various people and situations that are different from my own country. This to me, is one of the best reasons for having worked abroad and considering to work abroad at any point in the future.

We are, one! Our world today is increasingly made by and of people, who emanate from any part of the world. Connecting with colleagues as well as developing both professional and personal relations with people from different parts of the globe ensures that one's mind is opened to different ways in which perceptions, ethics, culture, cuisine and so much more can be explored, enjoyed and inculcated. I believe that this is truly the best way to get rid of a whole lot of misconceptions and free your mind from the shadows of hypocrisy, intolerance and fear of the unknown. 

In the poll, owing to limitations of the format, the author has put in only five choices. And not surprisingly, the single biggest factor is the standard of living. Fact is all of us want to have a better standard of living. Why not? Progress is the challenge and elixir of civilization ever since humans woke up to the benefits of doing more than eating, shitting and making babies in an cycle taken vigorously every generation.

Today, we are over a trillion out there. Most people, never get to see beyond the immediate vicinity of their neighborhoods, towns, cities, states, countries - in that particular order of magnitude. To me, the ability to review, renew and revive ourselves by working/living in a different environment, sometimes completely alien as a result of the inefficiencies of societies in which we were born, especially in India & China, to be soon followed by many African nations, showcases the ability of humans to aspire and change for the better. Eventually, it is crucial that we understand each other better, and the best way is to simply live and work alongside.

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