When I was young, life seemed easy and affordable. My beautiful home country, Greece, was struggling to overcome centuries of backwardness and underdevelopment, aiming to be accepted in the prosperous family of the Western European nations. Jobs were reasonably plentiful to find. At the time that I entered the job market, I was already involved in no less than five different positions and assignments, one full-time and the others part-time or moonlighting.
I eventually settled in a career in the maritime industry, the flagship industry of the country, a hugely efficient and competitive sector globally, the only one where even today, in spite of the recent dramatic financial crisis at home, Greece is still the undisputed world leader. As part of my various job assignments over the years, I have travelled extensively in long intercontinental trips and I have lived abroad for several years, becoming very well acquainted with the modern, westernized way of living, throughout my professional and personal life. I have narrated all those experiences in a novel that I have published recently, ‘Fateful Eyes’ (available on Amazon here).
In the meantime, my home country leaped forward too. It was finally accepted as a full member of the European Union and the Eurozone, hosted the Olympics in 2004, and became a booming, regional powerhouse. Unfortunately the euphoria did not last long. The global financial crisis of 2008, combined with huge structural inefficiencies of the local economy (analyzing them here is beyond the scope of this blog post), have hit the country very hard and plunged it in a steep, downward spiral.
As of today, unemployment stands at 25 percent, the second highest in Europe. Especially amongst the young, unemployment is a staggering 55 percent, and the lucky few who can get any scant jobs can earn only a pitiful, meager salary. Persistent surveys are finding that about half the population (and especially the young) are seriously considering to move abroad to escape the doldrums, thus depriving the country of its most valuable human capital that should be available locally here to assist in any recovery effort. As my own two children are in college and soon they will enter the labor market trying to secure any job whatsoever, I am faced with an agonizing dilemma:
WHAT SHOULD I ADVISE THEM TO DO IN THEIR LIVES? Should I try to assist them in finding any job locally here in Greece, keeping them within the country and close to their family, however realizing very well that the potential for their career development will remain very limited and curtailed for a long time ahead? Or should I encourage them to migrate abroad, to seek a proper, professional career, and to build their own lives and families within the well-organized, westernized nations, however separating them from their roots?
What would you advise me to do if you were in my shoes? Leave your reply below…
Many thanks for your kind assistance.