First of all, there are a few business items I must take care of. To those who don’t know, today is Jessica’s BIRTHDAY! She’s old, so old, she’s got a quarter-life crisis going on. But I’ve come to take care of that, I have a pretty message for her below (from her man Dean):
OK, now onto my petty ranting. I recently finished exams (GO ME! I survived comprehensives!) but leading up to it I wasn’t paying any sort of attention to drama back at home in The Bahamas. However, once I’d come up for air and finished I realised that I need to get my big-girl pants on and go job hunting once again. In a previous post I’ve explored my conflicting desire to stay in the UK but feeling an obligation to return home and work.
Now that I am faced with that dilemma I’m taking a really passive-aggressive stance to it, I’m applying to jobs in the UK and in The Bahamas and will ultimately follow the money (I’ve got loans y’all, and RBC don’t play with people that don’t pay their loans back). In this job search though, some people have felt the need to lecture me about my being a bad “Bahamian” for not immediately jumping on the go-home bandwagon.
I am not a fan of including .gifs into posts, but this one is applicable. To all those that lecture me on brain drain and why I’m a ‘bad’ Bahamian.
I’ve got a few things to say to all of those people bringing on the hate:
Panic! Brain drain being both a concern and an insult:
So the first order of ranting begins with the notion of brain drain. I believe in it, I’ve seen it happen. A lot of my friends who left to go to school abroad never went back home or if they do, it’s not to work but just to visit family. I get it, it’s a big concern! How can a country function if all of it’s educated people choose to leave to seek better jobs elsewhere (let’s pay attention to that term ok: better jobs elsewhere). However, I don’t think it should be lorded over people who choose to stay abroad. People have reasons OK! Be it lifestyle (you can’t exactly call The Bahamas terribly accepting of difference), or better opportunities. If you want to stopbrain drain you have to create diverse opportunities for people (note: DIVERSE).
Another thing that pisses me off about this is it is also completely insulting for the people who have either chosen to stay in The Bahamas or have no choicebut to stay in the country. It isn’t easy to leave (money and visas, oye vey, that’s another rant) and it’s insulting to say that the best and the brightest are gone. This inherently implies that only the not-best and not-brightest are left within the country. Which isn’t fair on the people who live and work and breathe an existence into The Bahamas! The best and brightest are at home and they’re also abroad! Stop focusing on brain drain as a best vs. not best debate. I’d feel more comfortable if the debate was framed as people are leaving because of lack of jobs in general. Don’t blame the people who are leaving, blame the structure man.
Diversity and education:
Another rant in this brain drain debate is tied to education I believe. I study anthropology. To make matters worse, I specialise in a particularly small and obscure branch of anthropology. So obscure there are three programs in the world that offer degrees in it. I left The Bahamas because COB didn’t offer anthropology and it sure as heck wasn’t going to offer anything as obscure as my specialty. So the government and all the higher ups are worried about people leaving? How about you give them an incentive to stay and I don’t know… offer a diversity of fields? I understand that COB is a small school but if you want to get it up to university status they’re going to have to offer a greater range of subjects. I mean broadening the social science department, arts, languages, natural sciences, etc. I love that COB offers a range of technical fields or professional degrees, but we need a greater diversity.
I shouldn’t have to leave my country because I’m not willing to compromise on what I want to study. I want to study what I love and I should be given an opportunity to do so here.
Ummm… are there any jobs?
We’re more than just accountants or lawyers or nurses or doctors. Sometimes, a Bahamian goes into a super obscure field and even if they wanted to return home, where the hell are the jobs (in general)? There certainly won’t be a job for that super obscure field. So don’t come to me and yell about how is The Bahamas supposed to get better if all the good people leave. I know. I am aware. I am very aware but if no one gives me the opportunity to get a job that will meet my personal and professional goals, what is my motivation to return? The country needs jobs. And not just more of the same old jobs.
And, to my last point (which I’m a bit ashamed of even saying but I have to survive yo) can the company pay me what I deserve to be paid? A company in the UK can pay what a person with an MSc deserves to get paid, and honestly, not a lot of placed in The Bahamas can do that. This isn’t fair on The Bahamas or me, but I am willing to take a pay reduction to return home for the sake of adverting brain drain, but not such a huge pay cut that I’m being paid what someone without a degree is being paid. I worked hard for this MSc and I want to reap its benefits.
Transnationalism and supporting from abroad:
This is the last rant in a too-long post. My hand hurts, so I know y’all eyes are hurting (and if you made it this far, HURRAH! You’re a super reader and I commend you for putting up with my whining!). OK this point really sticks it to me: you can support your country transnationally. GASP! Say it ain’t so! Yes. You can. In all seriousness, I know The Bahamas needs bodies to improve but there are other ways of assisting the country from outside of its borders.
I know many academics who, though working abroad, feature The Bahamas exclusively in their writing nad teaching. What is this doing? Raising awareness of Bahamian art and culture. I’m writing my MSc thesis on The Bahamas,. I plan to do my PhD on The Bahamas. I was even thinking of starting some kind of consultancy business to help students interested in studying something “different” (and by different I mean outside of the medical-law-tourism trinity we seem to tout) figure out how to do so (anyone interested?) I know these don’t bring large quantities of dollar bills into the country but it’s a form of mental support. Plus, money flows internationally, money leaves and enters the country and it’s people from the Bahamian diaspora, to disregard their financial contributions to the nation is ignorant. Money flows and as long as people have love for The Bahamas, it will always go into it.
OK I’m tired. I know this is a ramble, but I hope it’s a ramble that makes sense. I’m just annoyed that people would try to make me feel guilty for trying to support myself and my family.