If you were lucky enough to be in Trinidad for Carnival (February 7th and 8th) then I know you had a wonderful time. Sorry to all those who missed “the greatest show on earth”.
Here are a couple of CRS staff “freeing up” over Carnival.
Check www.playcarnival.com and www.playyuhself.com/galleries.php for some more pictures of Carnival in T&T.
Returning to Trinidad to Work
Are you a Trini living abroad, perhaps somewhere cold? Have you dreamed of coming home one day for the warmth (people as well as climate), the food, the fun and the good life? Maybe you are married to a Trini and want to experience these things.
Despite some of the alarmist reports that are circulated abroad, there’s something about Trinidad that makes people want to be here. I know many ex-pats who became desperate to find a way to stay here, even proposing marriage to anyone who would listen, so that they could continue to work in Trinidad when their contract expired.
So what do you have to consider before taking that big step of leaving your well-paid, career-enhancing job in a first-world country?
1) Are you really ready to give up the big bucks and your material wealth in exchange for a quality of life that has little to do with how much money you have? What about your family? What are their needs and expectations?
It’s tempting to always convert TT$ to your current currency and then be outraged at how small the salaries are here. It’s better to work out what level of lifestyle your Trini salary will buy you here. I made that move from England over 10 years ago and I was horrified when I could only land an I.T. contract at half my English permanent salary. I later found out that my contract salary was nearly 3 times that of the equivalent permanent staff that I worked with. Although my income is a fraction of what I could be earning in England, I have never regretted my move for a single second!
However, if you have financial commitments that have to be paid in a foreign currency, then you have to make sure that these are covered.
2) Don’t want to give up your current job until you’re offered a good job in Trinidad? You expect to be relocated at your employer’s expense?
In my experience, you will never be offered a job unless the employer can interview you in person and be confident that you can start work within a month or so of the offer being made. There are good enough skills available in Trinidad so that the employer will take the easy route of hiring someone from right here. They never want the expense of hiring someone with high expectations or requirements.
My advice is to take the plunge and relocate before you start looking for a job. Be prepared to manage for up to a year without getting employment as employers here tend to move slowly with their recruitment processes.
3) Want to use your excellent skills and experience gained in a foreign land to help out our wonderful country?
The truth is that your mind-blowing résumé could scare the pants off the I.T. Manager. He may feel intimidated that you are more skilled than he is! In any case, there is no need for these “fancy” skills here just to work on fairly ordinary projects. I know of some highly skilled Oracle people who took a year to find jobs here. They were not stretched by the work and when they returned to Canada, they found that their time here hardly counted as useful experience. I hope that this situation will change by Research & Development companies setting up operations here, perhaps encouraged by the creation of the Wallerfield Industrial & Technology Park.
My suggestion is to tone down your résumé to suit the companies that you are applying to.
I you are considering a move here then drop me a line and I’ll be happy to advise and assist you. If you are not a Caribbean national and not entitled to citizenship, then I warn you that it’s very difficult to get a job here because companies do not want to deal with work permit issues.
Tell Us What You Think
Letters to the Editor:
I noticed you mentioned C++ as the programming language potential employers will be looking for [in the January issue]. I however have been thinking that java may make me more marketable. What are your views on this? …… Dirk
Funnily enough, we have hardly ever been asked to source Java skills. I know it’s used out there for web development and if you are freelancing in that area, then it’s a “must have” skill, along with HTML, ASP and PHP. C++ is more used in backend web application development and good experience in that area is much harder to find and so companies will pay a premium rate for this. C and C++ are often required by companies developing software for specialist products such as smart cards, identity management systems, electronic devices, and so on. The development of these types of applications is not commonly done in this part of the world but this may come in the future (if we can find the skills here) …… Ed.
We would love to hear what you think of this issue of CRS News. And of course, if you have any suggestions for upcoming issues that you would like to share with us, please send those too.