The country for old men (as the young have left)

Há uns meses largos, foi com alguma surpresa e até mesmo tristeza que ouvi o primeiro ministro de Portugal a sugerir a emigracao como solucao para a crise. Portanto, os contribuintes pagam impostos para serem usados pelo governo para que o país tenha boas condicoes de vida. Parte desses impostos vai para a educacao, incluindo o ensino superior que sendo um dos mais baratos da Europa do ponto de vista do estudante implica que o estado gaste mais. O estado contribui assim para uma educacao de excelencia a preco reduzido que depois decide deitar fora, ao mandar os recém graduados sair do país.  Alguém me explique por favor que sentido é que isto faz?Quando voltei para Londres em Janeiro, compreu uma revista para ler no aviao. Nao quis trazer a visao pois tinha um artigo sobre as melhores linguas para arranjar emprego no estrangeiro. Decidi-me plea sábado que, apesar de nao trazer o “estrangeiro” como artigo de capa timha 4 ou 5 páginas sobre as melhores técnicas para procurar emprego em diversos países.  Para além destas mensagens nao tao subliminares a tentar mandar embora o pessoal, todas as revistas e jornais de referencia trazem mais que uma vez por mes entrevistas com recém emigrados que pintam um quadro muito simplista e cor-de-rosa do que é saír do país.  Entao e as histórias de quem saiu para nao encontrar nada, ou pior, que foi ao engano? E dizerem coisas importantes como o facto das pessoas terem de se adaptar a uma nova língua e cultura (como o facto de se poder comprar álcool etílico no supermercado em Portugal por menos de 1 euro e na Noruega é necessário uma receita e autorizacao especial para ter álcool etílico em casa)?  Que o clima frio e cinzento do norte da Europa pode dar depressoes e que apesar dos calores dos trópicos nao se pode ir trabalhar de chinelo no pé?  E o facto de que hoje, devido ‘a situacao que se passa por essa europa fora, há milhares, senao milhoes de jovens ‘a procura do primeiro emprego (ou do segundo ou terceiro) num país que nao é o seu e onde mal falam a língua e que comeca a olhar de lado para os estrangeiros?

Eu seu que isto pode parecer contraditório. Eu sei que há uns anos posso ter pintado o tal quadro cor-de-rosa. A verdade é que eu sai de Portugal porque quis. Nao fui obrigada, ninguém sugeriu que nao havia espaco para mim. De entre muitas razoes, nao gostei particularmente da experiencia profissional que tive em Portugal durante o estágio; gosto de viajar e conhecer novas culturas; Londres, na altura, tinha bastante emprego e nao tinha gente suficiente para preencher essas vagas. Porque nao arriscar?  Mas isto foi há 6 anos, as coisas agora estao diferentes e ao mandar embora os jovens, o nosso país está a perder milhoes de euros de investimento que nao voltará a ver. Porque nao se enganem ao pensar que toda uma geracao que está a sair do país voltará em breve ou que decida construir a sua casa de férias em Portugal. Isso era antes!

* Some months ago, the Portuguese prime minister suggested that the new graduates should leave the country as a solution to the financial crisis in the country. There are jobs “out there”, so you will be better if you leave.So, the tax payers in Portugal support one of the cheapest university education in Europe (it costs just over 1000 euros per year). This education, despite the sale price, is second to none. And just as the country can get some return on that investment decides to discard the people. Can someone explain what sense does that make?

When I came back to London in January I went to the kiosk at the airport to get something to read on the flight. I decided not to buy the magazine that as cover page advised you on the best languages to learn to get a job (out of Portugal of course). I bought another one that had a tomato on the cover, but a few pages into the magazine I find a full 4 page article with tips and tricks on how to get a job in various countries.  In addition, every month (I would almost dare to say every week) the media will have some pretty pink story about someone that left Portugal some months ago.  What about the not so pretty stories?  What about the fact that people is moving into a country with a different language and different culture and they don’t know a bit about it (like how you can get ethanol in any supermarket in Portugal for a few cents and in Norway you need a medical prescription and permission to have a bottle at home)?  How the cold grey weather of northern Europe may get you depressed but how in the tropics, despite the heat, you can’t wear flip-flops to work?  And what about the rest of southern Europe, that is all in a mess and thousands, if not millions of young graduates are going around trying to get a job in a foreign country, with a foreign language and where foreigners are becoming to feel unwelcomed?

I know this seems contradictory, as some years ago I may have told you pretty pink stories. The truth is that I left Portugal because I wanted, not because the PM suggested that there was no space for me.  Among many reasons, I left because I didn’t particularly like the work experience I had in Portugal; because I enjoy travelling; and because back then there were loads of architecture jobs in London. So why not give it a try?  But this was more than six years ago. Things are quite different now and by making youngsters feel unwelcome in the country our PM can’t expect them to return on a few years or even to build their summer house in Portugal. Those days are long gone!

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4 thoughts on “The country for old men (as the young have left)

  1. I feel so sad for the Youth of Portugal – no jobs, not future. Young doctors are being replaced by cheap labour from Cuba and I speak to other Poruguese families who struggled to put their children through University before Austerity only to find now there are no jobs. Our Portuguese builder is encouraging his daughter, who is studying Physiotherapy, to go to Germany once she has qualified. There is no work here. Austerity not only brings hardship to those who can least afford it but in time a lost generation of skills. When will politicians stop lining their pockets? When will the corruption here end?

    As a foreigner in Portugal I sometimes scratch my head in wonder at the stupidity of some of the courrupt decisions – like the one in Lagos to shut all bars and restaurants at midnight. WHAT? this is suicide! No they will only allow the establishments owned by the Camara to stay open past that hour. The stupidity just goes on and on. It is such a beautiful country and I feel so sorry for the young people driven from their home country to find work.

    For those who lose their jobs I’ve only just realised they get benefits for 2yrs and then nothing. How will they eat, pay the rent. Why is their country turning their back on them?

    Expensive projects which were unnecessary are now left unfinished as there is no money to continue.

    Once guy at a car boot sale selling his things so his family could eat made me want to cry – “The sun shines” he says as he shrugs his shoulders in resignation to his plight. How can thee youth of Portugal fight back?

    Sorry about the rant but I feel so angry for the young people and workers cast aside.

    PiP

    • Hi PiP, unfortunately i don’t think it’s only the austerity. There is something else that has been there forever. Is the fact that the employment law is obsolete; that “recibos verdes” are used wrongly to hire a person rather than his/her services; is the lack of contracts; is the free labour legally allowed for interns, that are easily replaced the following year; is the fear of not getting a job so people take whatever they are offered, without questioning.

      The austerity only came later, and it is being used by many companies as an excuse to “clear up”. Unfortunately, in many cases, the clearing is not being done based on performance but on connections, which is another big issue in Portugal.

      What really gets me sad is the fact that while I left because I wanted to leave, people is now being forced out. There aren’t many ways to stay and the economy of Portugal will keep sinking. Let’s see…

  2. Realmente a realidade é mesmo essa, os jovens vão saindo e ficam os velhos!!! Portugal investiu na formação dos seus jovens mas agora não tem capacidade para lhes dar trabalho, mas não são só os jovens que partem: também os menos jovens começam a sair ou a pensar sair. Na Revista do Expresso, esta semana, um artigo interessante sobre a debandada de jovens arquitectos, ilustra bem como Portugal não soube dimensionar a oferta de diversos curso face à procura e às necessidades reais do país. Mas não é só na Arquitectura, o mesmo se passa na Engenharia, Economia, Enfermagem, etc … e qualquer dia na Medicina, embora nesta àrea já haja muita gente a sair por falta de abertura de concursos e por falta de progressão na carreira.

    • É o país que temos, e parece-me que enquanto o governo achar que está tudo bem com a emigracao em massa de pessoas qualificadas vai continuar assim. Porque parecce-me que quem fica apesar de tudo se vai acomodando, porque há sempre o medo de, ao tentar mudar, as coisas piorarem .

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