Thursday, October 30, 2014

Being downwardly mobile

Don't get me wrong, I don't regret the decision to come here for three years, nor am I feeling any kind of self-pity or bitterness about it. I do however feel like some people misunderstand our situation.

See, if you're back home, you just think, "oh, those people have been absent for 3 years", but it's not really like that. We spent 3 years being downwardly mobile. We sold considerable possessions at a loss; we are selling our current possessions at a similar loss, returning to a country where we do not have considerable wealth, and we have spent 3 years not simply "in stasis", not even "keeping up", but simply out of that rat race.

Perhaps a race analogy would help. Imagine one of those 60 lap car races. Now imagine a driver stopped for 3 laps. Now everything is 3 years 'behind'. Our real income has been minimal, and our CVs look like they have big gaps on them. Few organisations or companies would look at experience here and consider it 'equivalent' to experience there. Qualifications one might obtain here would struggle to get any recognition elsewhere, and so on.

For us, personally, this is not too big a deal. I think we are well looked-after, overall our situation is quite positive. But even after 3 years I feel some of this. Which makes me think about other returned foreign workers like us; it must be more difficult, more onerous. Overseas service of this kind really is a kind of downward mobility. One will never 'keep up', even with one's former peers It's costly in this way too. I don't begrudge paying that cost, however sometimes this is part of the cost that we don't 'count'.

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