Wednesday, January 19, 2005
"...So my second piece of career advice echoes the political advice offered by Benjamin Franklin: whenever you are faced with a choice between liberty and security, choose liberty. Otherwise you will end up with neither. People who sell their souls for the promise of a secure job and a secure salary are spat out as soon as they become dispensable. The more loyal to an institution you are, the more exploitable, and ultimately expendable, you become. " Monbiot: Choose Life
The above quote, although from a left-wing Guardian journalist, always rings a certain amount of truth for me, one of my basic philisophies was always to avoid being another 'tog in the wheel' or selling my soul to a capitalist corporation, for which my only incentive is the money. Thus I chose to delay this decision as much as possible, but inevitably, like every twenty-something graduate (including Homer), I will also have to face the unavoidable decision of which career path to take, and to be honest it looks like i'll probably throw that philosophy out of the window when faced with harsh reality.
Previous generations of Bahrainis, upon graduating from foreign universities, immedietly returned to Bahrain, and because of a skills shortage were instantly employed in the main corporate or ministerial organisations. Nowadays, graduate Bahrainis are not in such high demand, and hence not so keen on returning home on the first plane back. In addition, the labour market is failing to lure new graduates, as ambitions are quickly dampened when attempting to grapple with the reality of bureucracy, shitty pay, and ass-lickinging they're way to the top. The trend now is to gain experience abroad, make a bit of money, build a good CV in an international organisation and return to Bahrain one day in the hope of fast-tracking to higher ranking positions. An increasing brain-drain. The fear is that many Bahrainis will settle and not come back to Bahrain for a long long time either.
Many of my peers are now working in London, US, Dubai and even Qatar, enjoying a challenging work environment and a fat salary to top off. The fact that they manage to secure these jobs and overcome strict immigration restrictions in itself is an indication of the calibre of graduates that are shunning away from the Bahraini labour market.
The only thing one can hope for, is that the economic situation improves under proposed labour market reforms, and that this brain-drain will be reversed so that Bahrainis can return back to serve they're country and improve the situation, having gained valuable experience abroad, and with enough cash maybe to start they're own businesses or investments.
According to Monbiot however, "How many times have I heard students about to start work for a corporation claim that they will spend just two or three years earning the money they need, then leave and pursue the career of their choice? How many times have I caught up with those people several years later, to discover that they have acquired a lifestyle, a car and a mortgage to match their salary, and that their initial ideals have faded to the haziest of memories, which they now dismiss as a post-adolescent fantasy? How many times have I watched free people give up their freedom? "