exodus

At the start of this month, I found this post of my fellow Blogparteehista: Growth means going abroad?

Appropriate. In the Java community, it seems a lot of folks are moving to Singapore. I heard it’s because the Indians are going home? Our little group had a get-together to send people off. One of my friends was asking each one of us, why don’t you go to the US? It could be elsewhere. (Though US jobs nowadays seem to be bodyshop types and not direct hires.)

Why am I still here? Back in 2001, journalist Alan Robles interviewed me for the South China Morning Post. (Which is based in HK: another top destination. Coincidence?) Though my job is now different (and so is my age, alas), my answer today would still be the same: “Yes, it’s true I’d earn nth (sic) times as much if I were to work in the U.S. But I’d be nobody there.”

A proud answer, isn’t it? But for some people such as myself, pride is a big career driver.

Nevertheless, going abroad, living and working there is a personal growth opportunity. I should try it some time. But not anytime soon.

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20 Responses

  1. Wow, I admire your conviction. But it seems like its true, you’ll never be a first class citizen other than here at home. And even that may have some contentions.

    Thumbs up for you, Migs!

  2. But I don’t have conviction. It’s just pride. As in “yabang.”

    I wasn’t thinking about the “second class citizen” in general. What I meant by “nobody” is that, if I applied for a job abroad my experiences would mean less.

    I actually haven’t taken a job where I just applied. It’s been all referrals.

  3. I want to stay because I want to help the economy. šŸ™‚ Just imagine what would happen to companies here if all senior developers go elsewhere. šŸ˜¦
    The Philippines is a rich and beautiful country. It won’t stay that way unless it makes money.

    Also, taking the less easier road is a motivating factor for me to get better at what I do. (I’m a sucker for competition.) I realize that although my life here in the Philippines is heaven compared to what it could be in another country (think: 2nd class citizenship, homesickness, winter!!!), I have a responsibility to be world-class as well.
    If I, born and bred a Filipino, would not help my own country, who will?

  4. Because when I’m in the US I’m a tiny person. I get scared of being stepped on. Kidding…

    I love it here, my life is here. šŸ™‚

  5. Personal growth it’s a very subjective topic. My idea of personal growth may not apply for other people, and what others think is the right way may not work for me (and also for other people). Some people are better off being single while some are capable of settling down and have a family. Some people are better off in other countries while others can do it better here (especially our beloved politicians hehehe). There’s no hard rule for personal growth and success, it all depends on our goals and priorities in life.

    There are so many ways to help the Philippine economy. It is not bounded by geography in my opinion. To cite an example, Rizal’s inspiration of a free nation was partly influenced by his observations from other countries, and he earned his reputation as a well-educated “indio” at some European states. How about OFWs and other migrants (yes, they still can help the country is so many countless ways) who have helped the economy get back to its knees? I’m sure that there are Filipinos in our time have done the same at other countries, they probably prefer to be on a low-profile so as not to attract some attention from the media šŸ™‚

    As for me, I decided to work at Singapore because I have a family to support. A broken (and broked) family is not my idea of sustaining the Philippine economy. Just look at many Filipinos who can’t barely earn a decent living and are still struggling financially. That’s not my idea of growth neither (nor building a reputation/name). It is best to retreat, regroup, and fight another day than to go valiantly forward without any ammunitions…

  6. I can consider myself lucky as to always have good opportunities locally and yet still have good exposure outside the country because of the wonders of the Internet. A bit like Migs, 4 out of the 5 organizations I joined since I graduated were referrals and didn’t apply directly. A lot of people say this, but there are indeed opportunities that abound lately, the problem is that most people do not have the resource to harness these opportunities (bandwidth for instance). But its slowly changing and I just hope majority of the future generation will be able to realize it, but it doesn’t seem to be that way, with high population growth and low education output :/

  7. “Nevertheless, going abroad, living and working there is a personal growth opportunity.”

    -I completely agree with this sentence. However, I sincerely disagree with everything else, especially with your perspective on working in the U.S.

  8. Depende ito sa bawat tao. Kung hindi sa aking dalawang anak at sa aking mahal na asawa, siguradong nasa Pilipinas pa rin ako hanggang ngayon.

  9. Ah… just follow opportunity = mercenary mode. šŸ˜€

  10. Thanks for all the insights!

    Walts, which do you disagree with? Being a nobody? To clarify: yes you could be a “somebody” whether in real life or in online communities where some of our colleagues excel. What I meant is that if I work abroad, the people I know here, and the people who know me, won’t count.

    Or are you referring to the direct hiring versus bodyshops? I have no firsthand info on that, perhaps you could share.

  11. […] A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the exodus of Pinoy techies. I was inspired by a despedida for some developer friends leaving, and college classmates’ reunion last Christmas. I finished BS CS in 1995, back when lots of people joined Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), got assigned to the US, and eventually moved there. […]

  12. Interesting topic, Migz. You tickled my senses because this is precisely my experience.

    I’ve been a web professional for quite sometime. My wife’s a registered nurse. That combination must be a sure passport to the US. Why am I still here in the Philippines? My answer is philosophical.

    I discovered two things: 1) that being contented (read: satisfied) with what you have is the key to happiness. In my opinion, we can live a simple, happy life here in the Philippines even without the extravagance that money through working abroad can bring, and 2) if your purpose in life is centered only on bringing pleasure to self, you’ll never be satisfied. There’s got to be more in life than bringing personal pleasure and earning big bucks.

    Disclaimer: This is just a personal experience. I am in no way judging the reasons why others decide to leave and work abroad.

  13. […] There’s an interesting topic Migz Paras started on his blog. Being an IT professional, he talked about why he choose to still stay in the Philippines while his friends have been going out to work either in the US or Singapore. He tickled my senses because this is precisely my experience. […]

  14. alas another question… Be the head of a mouse or a tail of a lion? This is the question my uncle asked me.

    To make the long story short, always keep in mind, “Whatever works”.

  15. different people, different status, different goals in life, different responsibility. if only I was a bachelor, I will be staying in Manila working as an IT slave till i reach retirement. unfortunately it is not the case. I woke up one day and realize that i cant present “your IT certification here” as payment for the needs of my family…..

  16. […] I know or hear about who join the exodus don’t get to these hot […]

  17. Nope, You Don’t Need to Work Abroad to Achive Growth…

    After reading “Growth means going abroad?” and Migs Paraz’s related post “Exodus”, I couldn’t help but ask myself similar questions. Was my move to Singapore worth it? Do the pay I’m currently getting, and the …

  18. […] not Filipino IT workers, since there are a lot of Filipino IT workers in Asia Pacific specially in Singapore. And I don’t think they’re paid low at all. And the headline can be taken to mean the […]

  19. True, true. Living/working abroad might just be as gruesome as it is here in the Philippines, ergo migrating your career abroad might not be the key for growth.

    Same experience here. Enticing, truly exciting.. but maybe not yet. Not just yet. I’m still happy here, and I can live with that.. (for now, maybe)

  20. […] we have defined who the seniors are, are they available for hiring? Or did they move abroad? What does it take to get them back? There is current discussion on how Philippines-based companies […]

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