Some thoughts that will inspire you to work abroad.
Last week I was out with my English friend Hannah, who invited me for a coffee in London. She works for Sotheby’s, the famous art auction company, and while we were talking, she took out her phone and showed me something I just couldn’t believe. The image on her phone was a plain dining table, about 2 meters long with 2 half coconuts located on one end and at the other, a toilet brush that represented the figure of a naked woman. The piece of art was sold for nearly 250,000 GBP.
I couldn’t stop wondering how such a simple piece of art could be valued at that price. My friend started talking about the coffee place where we were. I noticed the decoration; the sofas, the chandeliers and the carpets were all very stylish and for a coffee place in London, I assumed the decor would cost at least 800,000 GBP. On one of the walls, there was a picture of a coffee farmer, possibly Colombian. He was drying the coffee beans under the sun and you could tell that from the old shirt he was wearing and the old hat, the burned skin he had due to the intense heat. He was a very poor farmer trying to make a living in harsh conditions. You don’t see that when you see adverts for wine or champagne, do you?
Having been born in Colombia, it makes me feel very close to the culture of inequality, but I wondered why the world sees Latin American as a poor continent? Where is our value? Have we lost it in the way?
When I came the first time to the UK, I had in my mind that the only job I could do was being a waiter or a cleaner, and now I wonder whether an American or a European person would go to any of the Latin American countries to learn a language working as a cleaner or waiter? Do they have a more valuable mind set? Why do we sell ourselves short?
I’ve had a great experience working with Latin Americans in aviation. As a company we have managed to export Latin American talent to the world of civil air transportation. I was happily surprised how other countries value highly skilled immigrants with great salaries, time off, great roster patterns, benefits like accommodation and 90% discounted tickets for the pilot’s families. So, even though having all that offered as a package to us, why do we still decide to stay in our own country?
It is funny how some of the pilots I talked to were afraid of the language, the weather, the location, but they are not afraid of the violence, the corruption and the insecurity that we all have to face living there.
We need to change our mindset. We are valuable, we just need to break those chains and embrace the world because we live just once and this planet is our workplace. Let’s jump into the unknown with pride and teach the world what are we capable of.