A father’s dilemma: The future of our kids

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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.

About panosnomikos

I have published "Fateful Eyes", an intriguing novel about love, war, financial crisis and a man's quest to comprehend fate's dizzying gaze...
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19 Responses to A father’s dilemma: The future of our kids

  1. to kalutero tha htan na mporesomai na ta krathsomai konta mas omws h ellada mas ta diwxnei ..h ta wthei se allous dromous .h ta anagazei na futozwoun .opote kalutera na ta entharunomai na bgoun apo authn thn mizeria pou mporh kai na mhn thn anteksoun .na akolouthhsoun ta oneira tous se opoia gwnia ths ghs mporoun na ta ekplhrwsoun .,tha mas leipsoun alla as mhn stathh empodio o egwismos mas .

  2. Very nice blog. I don’t interfere with my kids careers. My daughter 27 is earning her Harvard MBA in May. She’s planning a European career.My son works in investment consulting and plans to get his own MBA and then work in America. I’m proud as a Greek, but certainly mot a Greek of 2013.Everyone around us cheats on taxes, disobeys all laws or does dirty deals with politicians. We were living beyond our means on borrowed money; we deserve what we got.
    I have a more rosy picture of Greece on my upcoming romance suspense book “Deep Blue Eyes on the Greek Isles” Check it out: http://dimitri-fictionromance.blogspot.gr/

  3. Pano,

    We feel that there needs to be catharsis of the political system and most importantantly, restructuring of how the state works. (exigeiansi tou kratikou mixanismou). Unfortunately, one person feels helpless against massive red tape and corruption in the country. The economy needs to be liberalized, closed professions need to open up and it must become easier for the private sector to flourish.
    For better or for worse, the world is now interconnected. People will go where they can lead decent lives, if they can afford to. Greece needs to break away from the downward spiral and go into what Draghi called “positive contagion” where prospects for the future look brighter. That is key to keeping young and capable people in the country. Embedded special interests will need to lose some of their “kektimena” in the process.
    This is a long process and it will take years. There are those who choose to fight the system and improve it, those who choose to compromise and live with it and those who choose to flee for better places. We think it’s a personal choice and it by no means make you less or more Greek or patriotic, whatever you choose.

    • I fully agree. I don’t think it’s only the politicians, It’s all the Greek people. Everyone cheats on taxes, no one obeys the laws, everyone dreams on becoming a public employee. I live in a very wealthy suburb; everyday I’m confronted with “elite” drivers driving wrongly on a one-way street. They want to get the shortcut! They even curse you while breaking the law. Everyone considers private businessmen to be thieves. Greece is the last Soviet republic. We forget our history. In 1945-49 communists occupied but a bloc of Athens. I believe the vast majority of Greeks still have the same mentality. No work, everything free from the Stalin state. Our kids should flee to lands of opportunity, not the land of Greek socialism.

      • PeterM says:

        I don’t agree with the broad statements that all Greek people want everything free or are communists or are socialists. One may state that the majority of the Greek electorate votes socialist. The cause of this is the media and ill-informed electorate.

      • George Tjionas says:

        Dimitri,

        Your parallelism with “Stalin sate” is misguided like implying and streering people against communism or the communist parties an din the process you are hiding the real criminal parties.

        I am not one on any communist side but the way you presented it is like covering up the mess of two non-communist parties and also non extremist parties, the parties that be New Democracy and PASOK.

        It is better to spell things out who is who and who did what. For many decades they were uncontrollably in charge doing what ever they wanted playing a show that the Greek peopel like idiots were enjoying it.

        Greece’s problems has nothing to do with Stalinian mentality. Stalin never occupied Greece, Communist never formed a government in Grecee, at least not on their own.

        Stealing in taxes is not just a Russian thing something that I have no idea and I don’t object either.

        In USA tax invasion is in the $trillions and all the offshore accounts are fater than ever before from the American Crook Elite owning the 1% while screwing the 99-ers.

        Maybe it has more to do with Turkish bak·sheesh (b k sh sh, b k-sh sh) mentality.

        It is also the politically uninteligent Greek people that are at fault for keeping voting the sam ean dthe same time after time while they are alooking only to serve their own self.

        I wonder why no one is pushing for re-writing teh Greek constitution whish i sall full of loop holes and nothing good is left in it. Make it theft proof and start educating the masses starting as early as thekids can understand.

  4. Elizabeth Contarini says:

    I fled Greece in August of 2012 for a better future for my son (13). It was not an easy decision to pack up and leave a country you love. BUT, this country has not anything to offer my son. As my parents from Pireaus fled after WWII and a Civil War to North America I also have fled the Greek financial depression to Canada to provide a better future for my child. I have provided him the groundwork and opportunity. What he does from then on is his choice. You do not bring children to the world and hold them back to have them close to you. I advise that you do not advise but provide the pros and cons of all choices avaliable. Greek parents are too overprotected of their offspring and do not give them space to spread thier wings and let them learn how fly on their own.
    From what I gather your children are finishing college. They are therefore educated and can find employment in various countries etc. The point is what do they want and not what you want. Unfortunately, Greece has nothing to offer them at the moment. However, they can remain and battle the situation for there are outlets to this crisis for those who are innovative and brave. I wish you luck.

  5. Mchael Chatzilias says:

    My father said to me I should follow my heart, and I did.

    A person performs life at its best, where he loves being where he chooses to be, doing what he really loves to do. Ask your children about their dreams, what they really want to do, and find out where and how they can do it – be a platform to help them achieve their dreams.
    Surely they have dreams.

    Some people prioritize on the easy life, the sun, the islands and prefer to stay.
    If this is the case, be very optimistic about Greece and be a platform to help them in Greece.
    You will find the way. Greece as a country will improve but positions and salaries will remain mediocre. But you get the sun and the islands – this is not little, we just take them for granted.

    Some other people prioritize on work outside Greece. This experience is superb and helps a person overall, in his life experience. I would try to have my own children gain experience living and working in a superb society, if possible. If this is the case, find out about their dreams and be a platform to excite them about the country they can achieve their dreams. Several countries today provide a safe and an life exciting experience.

    Perhaps they can live and work abroad, and a part of their work will deal with Greece somehow.
    This way maintaining their ties with Greece, and helping Greece become a better country overall.

    Try to create a win win situation no matter whether the final result is Greece, UK, US or elsewhere. Help them achieve their dreams. They will always come home to you, and they will learn to love and appreciate Greece whether they live in it, or not.

    Have them follow their heart. Good luck.

  6. panosnomikos says:

    Thank you all for your considerate responses. I will certainly tell my kids to follow their hearts. On the personal level, this is certainly the right thing to do. But is this right for our society, for our country?

    • contarini says:

      That is an interesting concept. However, the strongest survive. Greeks are scattered all over the world because they always need to leave and find opportunity somewhere else. The Greek Diaspora has now become the New Greek Diaspora. We as the New Greek Diapora will edeucate the world of our Greek heritage and bring about change globally.

    • PeterM says:

      Pano,
      Thanks for connecting through Twitter. This gave an opportunity to learn about your work, thoughts and passion.

      I love the progressives’ view of life… Let your heart drive you… People should do what they want when they want… Why not same sex marriage… Why not pay someone a bribe so you can get better service… What happened to strong family values? How about principles? How about faith? How about sitting down and listening to papou to hear life lessons? How about going to church or monasteries and have faith as a foundation and anchor? How about respect for our elders? How about love of country? How about some φιλοτιμο? I say that without the later… How can one expect someone’s heart to lead them? This is the talk of people that feel wronged by their parents/teacher or others in their life. To compensate we release our children without appropriate guidance. Our daughters feel that they need to be sex objects to enjoy life. Our sons have little respect for the opposite sex. We have a world of what’s in it for me. Very little attention is placed on God and Country. Our culture has shifted too much to not having checks and balances. We have created a world of anarchists that do nothing but desecrate our monuments and Hellenic Culture. Furthermore we have these misguided progressives changing our history just to be more politically correct. We don’t need political correctness we need our children to know history and the atrocities of our country’s enemies (old and current).

      The electorate votes having no clue who and why they are voting. 11 million citizens need 20 political parties to represent them. Other traitors (modern day εφιάλτες) sell their vote for favors.

      What needs to be done is to bring logical patriots (patriots = people who say what they do and do what they say… not just say) together that understand the value of Ελλάδα and what it means to be a Greek. These patriots understand that our forefathers have given up their lives to give the world freedom many times over. While most people have no clue of their heritage/κληρονομία the patriots know and live it. People that understand the aforementioned values and beyond what I mentioned need to come together to discuss solutions for the mother of civilization and her people. In my opinion these patriots are doing everything in their power to put food on the table and don’t have time to deal with the hypocrites running the country to the ground. There is much that can be done quickly. Many actions can be easily taken to bring immediate relief but others much more difficult. For example how to you teach a people to trust their neighbor when the only way someone has been able to survive is to game the system?

      It can be done but only if patriots with φιλοτιμο that understand and value our κληρονομία; that are interested in seeing a fellow Greek succeed knowing that if enough Greeks succeed we all succeed. I am looking to find such patriots to discuss solutions for key problems and then look at commensurate actions to drive change.

      The challenge is how to do we find them?

  7. adonis says:

    Kε Πανο αποψη μου ……….. Πατριδα ειναι ο εαυτος μας ……….

  8. Meni Anagnostopoulos says:

    Greetings from Patra, Greece. I have been living here the past 10 years (previously in Australia all my life)as I married and had a family here. If I were in your shoes I would encourage the young (just out of highschool or tertiary education) to leave Greece and build their careers abroad. I do so each chance I get to speak to various students with this dilemma. There is no future at the moment for these kids. They should get out before its too late. Greecce will always be here…but their chance to grab opportunities in the workforce will not… In a nutshell thats what I believe …Thanks for listening…

    • panosnomikos says:

      Thank you Meni. I would agree that this would be good for them, perhaps. But, will it be good for the rest of us, as a society? All comments welcome…

    • PeterM says:

      Although I agree with the statement that at this moment there is no productive future for the children of Greece… I don’t like to see my fellow Greeks quitting on our Ελλάδα. Things are not easy but what would you call easier today’s situation or what our forefathers had to deal with during the 400 years under slavery and persecution? Today’s situation is a cakewalk as compared to 1821.

      Bottom line is that we don’t need a war to get rid of the people that are devastating Greece… We need to educate the electorate and vote those traitors out office. Greece doesn’t need the EU. The EU needs Greece and Greeks need to understand that they can negotiate out of a point of strength not weakness.

      There are common sense solutions to the current situation that is getting worse… Greek debt which is growing exponentially due to more bailouts and outrageous interests rates can’t be paid off. Taxing people that aren’t producing will not solve the problem. Greece needs jobs and private economic activity. Greece needs GDP and export growth and reduced reliance on other countries of EU. Social programs need to be stabilized and rationally modified.

      There are solutions… We need some positivity:-)

  9. Nikos K says:

    I am a proud Greek-American student at Johns Hopkins University, and while I have been reading these posts has brought me sadness. I am upset that the motherland of Greece has been attacked by the media of the United States, and the fact that kids my ages are struggling to find work. Its just awful and I pray to God that our country will have some decent leadership to lead Greece to promise.
    May God bless you all

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