It's kind of a class thing: high class people do not dirty their hands with manual labor and boring technical stuff. High class people should manage other people and do not really have any responsibility towards their lower-class subordinates. Responsibility only flows upwards, never downwards. This is of course not a uniquely Portuguese problem, but is probably a more widespread issue in unequal societies with ingrained class distinctions.
The cult of the MBA (as defined by Spolsky) reigns supreme in Portugal. Managers think it's perfectly natural to be deeply ignorant of the problem domain of their organizations. This might work when you're managing nail factories (or maybe not), but when applied to managing developers it is insulting, disempowering and demotivating.
In Portugal, "bosses" are less educated than employees. 71,3% have a maximum of 9 years of school! http://economia.publico.pt/Noticia/qualificacao-media-dos-pa... (portuguese language, sorry)
How can these people invest in something they don't understand? They understand about carrying bricks and painting walls, that's why we have thousands of empty houses in Portugal and Spain. There is no place for VC and marketable innovation.
We come from a time where we needed to be rich to study. Salazar regime didn't want people to study and emancipate. Now the old regime is over but mentality is still there, people are too used to obbey and are full of preconcepts.
2 wrong things my parents generation did bad because of their ignorance:
a) made children to only focus on studies (cause they never had that chance). People get completely out of the market till they are 23-24. Then of course there are no available positions for high skilled employees. We have no companies with that demand. They were never created! New companies were created by the uneducated bullies. If their families have no capital and they are having first contact with money and market at middle 20's they have no money to risk. 2 solutions appear: unemployment or emmigration.
b) strong left wing (as bare reaction to Salazar right wing regime, without any thinking and ponderation): For example somebody lower than 16 years old caught working is considered crime in Portugal. If these kids are not making it to provide for their families or skipping school I see no problem with this.
I agree however that we made the educational mistake of putting all eggs in one basket by declaring university education as the universal goal. Perhaps a dual education model such as the German one would help in that respect.
Managers should manage and should be effective at that.
As a software developer working in UK, I am managed by someone who has already been a developer in the past and he does not involve himself into any of the technical aspects of my job. He is caring after the larger picture, where I am only one of a group of players that he oversees. It's just like an orchestra, you don't expect the maestro to play all the instruments, but you _do_ expect him to know how to drive all the musicians. Having a manager that isn't smart (or whose education level + smarts doesn't meet the threshold of "can do more than just the mechanical aspects of the job" is a problem, however.) And as I've never been a developer in Portugal, because, education-wise, I don't qualify to work anywhere in Portugal, I cannot speak specifically how the landscape looks for software developers which during my 10 year stint was one area where a degree was an absolute must. However, as someone above said, there seems to be a lot of business leaders and while this is critically essential, it's unfortunately only a part of the much larger landscape and this is where it needs addressing.
If I didn't explain good because I should have said that historically education was very bad in Portugal, not only with Salazar regime (that besides everything made a good job on this issue but still didn't manage to get European standards) I only can agree with you; but sentences like:"Go learn something, buy a book" just present an argumentum ad hominem, that is not relevant neither to the other readers neither to me. Please do not weaken this commmunity and consider to change your behaviour taking aknowledgment of existent high standards that you don't find easily in the web.
There may be some regional variants. A friend of mine who worked with some devs from the UK said that there the split is between guys who only write code (the 'higher class') and guys who might actually know how to plug in an Ethernet cable (the 'lower class').
I don't know if this is true in general, or just of the organization where he worked.
Whether one appreciates or resents developers, the fact of the matter is that most moderately talented developers have some notion that they possess a valuable and hard-to-acquire skill which paradoxically doesn't empower them, due to the relentless effort by companies to commoditize developers and treat them as fungible resources.
Lacking power to effect any kind of meaningful change, developers with in-demand skills often end up voting with their feet, and organizations fail to accumulate and develop human capital.
I left Portugal in 2003 to work in the games industry. There were still plenty of jobs in Lisbon then and salaries were not so bad.
At the time I thought I would be away for a couple of years "just to get some experience".
I would love to go back to be closer to my family and old friends, to enjoy the weather the beaches and nice food, but as another expat told me, our jobs just do not exist in Lisbon.
Setting up a business is hard with the asinine tax system currently in place ( taxes are complicated, very high and if your business has zero profits it pays a special tax ), a culture of late payment by clients ( it is so common to have unpaid invoices that you can give these to your bank in exchange for a loan ), the absolute aversion to risk taking by most businesses, the ingrained idea that what is foreign is better and the implied notion that to win a contract you need connections to a politician or a civil servant.
I know a lot of professionals in knowledge based industries that have left, some with their entire families.
In a recent poll, more than half of university students plan to leave the country.
At this rate Portugal will become mainly a touristic destination.
But there is so much a single person can do.
And I am very involved with portuguese tech companies at the moment.
I just can't afford to live in Portugal any more.
We decided not to go to Lisbon because of the sheer amount of 'jumpers' (I don't know the proper term): people who will go to another company for E100/month more (probably because there is so much choice there). It's too hard to filter them out and we don't want them. We tried it for a bit but people coming to interviews with proposal letters from other companies in hand to get you to outbid is just not what we want. It's like cheating; you'll know they'll do it again.
Even with the high costs of living in London I can save more money than when I was living in Lisbon, but crucially I am exposed to more work opportunities that increase my experience and value as a developer.
The kind of stuff I have done abroad just does not exist in Portugal, at least at the time it did not.
And with regards to the patriotism aspect of your comment, I regularly send money to my family and take vacations in Portugal. All this money was earned abroad.
Also, I regularly work for Portuguese customers in projects for foreign clients which means that I am helping with the exports of the country.
Finally, I am not nationalistic and I think those kind of feelings are detrimental to the evolution of civilisation. If anything I consider myself European, and I can't wait for a democratic centralised european government that brings some proper law and order to clean up the corruption and ineptitude of the politicians running Portugal, which is now the most unequal country in the EU with the lowest social mobility and an education level below Mexico.
Also, your beloved homeland IF it is your beloved homeland (it usually is). I'm not a big patriot; I like ES/PT more than my own country.
Well, why have you been talking like a "big patriot" that frowns upon non-patriotism then?
Ukraine might seem a surprising choice to somebody but the tax burden is generally much lower and as a result one can get a pretty good deal salary-wise. For example, right now I'm making significantly more in Kiev than I used to do in Oslo, Norway, which is considered to be a pretty lucrative place to work and live in Europe. The development community is pretty large and thriving. Large part of positions is in outsourcing but there are a plenty of product companies or research centers, too.
The company where I work now started hiring people form US and Western Europe. We are working on NLP systems and there's a lack of local talent with ML and AI skills. For example, we recently hired a machine learning specialist from Spain and we are very happy to have him on board. We also work with linguists from the US.
The world is sure a very different place now!
And apparently ML/AI skills are in high demand everywhere.
When you look at it from one side, South European countries have everything: they have the food, the weather, good universities, kind and welcoming people (not to say that other countries don't), talent. They have the potential to be the best countries to live at. What's missing then? For me what is missing in Portugal, and what makes me want to go away from it is mostly bad working conditions: the notion that the IT guy is the new slave. I have had older colleagues saying to me that they were working on a Sunday at 11pm and have seen people from consulting companies coming to my university and proudly saying that when we would be working at their company "we could say goodbye to that cinema evening with friends". These consulting companies, some of which are always eager to hire (which leaves us wondering what is happening to their workforce), exploit the fact that these graduates are used to semesters of constant crunch time and exploit them by putting them in the same state in their companies. People are expected to work past their time, and most of them do... and for what? 1200 euros before taxes and you are considered lucky. If you don't accept that paycheck someone else will.
I did in my last college year an Erasmus in Sweden that came now to an end, and I'm not coming back to Portugal. I've found things to be very different here. There is a huge respect for life outside work, and the jobs actually pay the graduates with the salaries that reward them for their effort and knowledge.
The problem is maybe precisely this one: graduates feeling that there is no reward waiting for them by the end of college.
Look at India's vast middle class / consultancy fodder. They are returning home and not simply demanding, but expecting things to be different.
My advice is go and don't come back. The industry around here won't value your skills, you will be considered a tech janitor and after a few years you'll lose your passion and become jaded or just conform to the status quo.
So what? Why should you care about the health of "your country"? That's just an attempt at emotional manipulation.
You can help Portugal with your IT skills, or you can help a similar number of people in the US/UK. If you get treated better doing the latter, there is no reason to stick to Portugal. The people of the US/UK are no less deserving of your skillset than the people of Portugal.
And 'treated better' is just how you manipulate your own existence; if you don't want to be treated badly (or being treated better), anywhere, you can accomplish that. Except of course in state of war or oppression, but none of these countries have that (at the moment).
If enough people persist though, changes happen. If no one does it, it stays the same. At least longer. And I know not all think like that; I made great entrepreneur friends in PT who run great companies with great people. They are changing things. And people are listening; we have coffee and beers with the major and university director and so forth because they need their town to change and they want to stimulate this change all they can. A lot of people want this, the fact that some are stuck in their ways has to change. If I can contribute 1 millionth of a % to that, I am happy.
No, it's an attempt at appeal to a pre-existing emotion. Not the same at all. Not everyone of us is a rootless opportunist that will go to any place he might get an advantage from going at a moment's notice.
Some of us have bonds with the place where we grow up, and the place were our friends and relatives live. We also have bonds with our culture (from the language, to the music to cuisine). It would be a sad world if everybody was only thinking of his own marginal benefit and could not care less about such things.
Plus, beside the emotional and cultural bond, a lot of us want to give back to our community and improve it for the future generations, and not flee at the chance of a better salary elsewhere.
For an American it might be "freedom", but for a lot of world cultures, the ease with which an e.g American changes states is a sign of lack of roots and fear of emotional attachment, not to mention selfishness and lack of care for one's parents. Plus the mighty appeal of the dollar and the "american dream" of making it big, ie the opposite of actual freedom.
Not that there aren't tons of American's deeply connected with their state and city (mostly people in the South, in my experience, but I also know New Yorkers and Chicagoans that wouldn't change their city for anything).
Or at least that's my hope. Maybe all this is really a healing mechanism.
These people that are leaving, they still love they country, and I'm sure most of them still think about returning to it sooner or later.
Everyone want's to be employee and expect the salary at the end of the month without ( and the salary must be really interesting too ).
Oh, and another thing ... people just can't understand that you need to be offer something for the company success other than just sitting on you desk doing what you're told to. It's all about being a worthily asset for the company, other than just being an simple asset.
Yes... i own my own company. Yes, i did employ several people with and without superior degrees. What i found out is that people without superior degree in Portugal are more productive ( of course, there are exceptions ) and in general, have better technical skills than those who just finished university ( this is another problem in Portugal, universities are all about theory ... although, slowly, we can see some changing... ).
Juniors just can't expect to earn the same salary as someone that has more experience. It's all about return of investment. .. and in the IT world, you need to have to be a good ROI.
Of course, salaries in Portugal can't compare to bigger countries as France, Germany, US ... or emerging IT capitals that are living a wave of venture capitals. We are a small country, that is growing in the IT world. And if you think about it, we are really newborns in this world...
Yes, there are great professionals in Portugal ( and prospects too that are in the university ) ... but there's something about the mentality that we must change.
It's all about what you do for a company what they can do for you.
As for the emigration, i think abroad experiences enrich people and sometimes change their way of seing things. Usually, in the principal external markets targeted by emigrants, there's a higher money flow, and the experience of working in a bigger/wealthier company, makes us grow. But the same problem persists ... you need to be a added value for the company... and in most cases, people only understand that when they are faced with the cold reality that they really need to work had to make a difference. :)
Of course, since they earn more money, they will take that with a different spirit.
( and yes, there are really bad companies in Portugal that are full with "professionals" and "directors" that, often, know less than a junior or someone with 5 years of experience in the market. It's the difference between working for money without much enjoyment and working for something you really enjoy while earning money doing it)
In the company I work for (about 80 people here), it's not the university rookies that I have problems with: some are weak, some are excelent. But most of them come with a desire to learn, and will in most cases be exploited by PHB project managers that make them work very long hours. Have seen it happen again and again, with no productivity gain whatsoever.
But then, when that really excelent rookie hire appears, with an outstanding ROI, we just can't hire him/her or give him a decent salary, because of all the 'historic' figures that are on the company forever. That's why I cannot agree with a simplistic "juniors can't expect to earn the same salary as someone that has more experience". Some fully deserve it, don't get it, and then become just another layed back demotivated worker.
Thus, "It's all about being a worthily asset for the company, other than just being an simple asset.", can I assume that you offer stock options? Clearly defined rewards if success is reached?
Of course that its not all about the money, but so many portuguese bussiness owners like to forget about their employees once they reach success, and maintain the 'just an employee status'. Thus, it goes both ways. I'm not saying it is your case, but I could not infer otherwise from your text.
And finally: "that they really need to work had to make a difference"
What's working hard? To so many people working hard is working long hours almost every single day. My personal experience tells me most of the people that work long hours are either slackers (lots of coffee, lots of talk) or workaholics that do not always play well with others.
That is normal; in the Netherlands we have a distinction between practical and theoretical higher education. Universities were not meant to be very practical; they are meant to 'shape your mind' with solid foundations for learning new things and for an academic career. Now this is much different and the actual function of a university, because it's so common to go there, moved from that old view to the realism of the day; students need to actually find a job in corporations. It'll change, albeit slowly.
One of the biggest problems I found in PT is the difference between Lisbon and 'the rest'. I don't know what the fascination is with this city (I have been there many times, but disclaimer: I generally don't like cities at all) besides job opportunity, but outside Lisbon, it's really nice and cheap while in there it's not. So you have the 2 camps; 1 who want to live in Lisbon, 1 who want to live anywhere else. And those two have very different wishes.
Where are you? What does your company do?
In Spain people a few years ago said stupid things to justify not moving to other countries where salaries were like 3 times Spanish ones: weather, food and «quality of life».
There is another factor for this delayed and flood-like emigration... FAMILY!. In all Mediterranean countries family is very a strong influence. I even can say that individuals doesn't exists as they are in other countries. A 18 years old in Spain is like a 13 years old in UK. You can be in your 30's and the family will still be pushing you to be in the «right path».
For many, many years family decided that the best prospect for their young college graduates was, without any doubt, working for the government. In Spain it means a decent salary and a job for life (you cannot be fired under ANY circumstance, ANY AT ALL, you kill someone, go to jail and when you get out your job will be there waiting for you!).
Once this absurd situation ended (the government in Spain duplicated its work force in 3 years) the «family» didn't know how to react. But the government knows better, in the last 3 years the tv programs «Spaniard around the world» showing happy people living in other countries. So now, the «family» is pushing their children to go outside.
My company is hiring people in London and we only receive CV from Spaniard and Greeks. My boss told me that 1 year and a half ago it was really rare to find people from these countries in selection processed but that now the recruiters are flooded with their CVs.
I suspect that the mediterranean IT guy/pal will be the new Polish plumber in UK
I don't think that's stupid. I get seriously depressed when it's gray, gray, gray all the time, which is one of the reasons I moved from Oregon to Italy many years ago. I also like how some interpersonal dynamics are here: all my 'nerd' friends here have always fit in pretty well, and don't seem to have the stories that people do in the US about cliques and being excluded and intellectual achievement being looked down on. Maybe some teasing, maybe not being the most popular people, but they all seem to fit in pretty well.
It depends on who you are and what you like, and how much you're willing to sacrifice. Currently, the sacrifice is much larger because of how poorly things are going in many Mediterranean countries, so it makes more sense to leave.
Spain is going to change in a really bad way in the next one or two decades and no one wants to be there when they can stay at 5 hours of flight in UK (including bus/train to the airport and arriving home in Spain).
I'm subcontracted, so even if my salary is half what it would be in UK, Germany, the cost for the company I work in is not so different. Their fault anyway, why don't they contract me directly?
Add to that that rotation is wild. They hire the cheapest people: those who are unemployed and would take any offer. As soon as you're employed, it's orders of magnitude easier to get a job, so hasta luego, Lucas!
Companies also have a huge burden treating with other companies or government that work terribly and terribly slow, pay when they will and often simply don't answer the phone.
There is little competitive spirit. Virtually all the big companies are there because some concession or "too big to fail" (utilities, banks) so their way to raise profit is to exploit customers and employees.
Beware! There are exceptions to all of these traits! There are good innovative companies, competitive people and internationally successful ventures. But not enough to sustain a disgruntled IT workforce that are treated as spoiled clerks.
And you get a lot more of them back in various ways in northern Europe.
I think it's a fairly complex question, and that's part of it. Maybe there's actually an opportunity, because I know a bunch of smart developers in Italy who work for less than they would get elsewhere. I know Italy very well, and still wonder what I'm missing, because like you say, there are taxes elsewhere too.
That actually made me laugh.
I will be a stereotype!
Well there are some efforts in entrepreneurship but most of "startup" ideas falls into the same bin like social networks for cakes or events, project tracking systems or business cards mobile apps. There is much buzz around the startup concept and the idea of having your own business but not on ideas for products that offer real value to people.
In an environment like this it is difficult for a programmer to evolve
You can also see so called "startups" whose "business" consists of organizing dinners of 20 people, once a week. And there's always the team wanting to open a spa and bringing their "idea" to all incubators.
My solution was to work in close relationship to the university and a university spun-off company. Some interesting computer-vision stuff is made here, from time to time.
On the other hand Outsystems is one rare example of successfull, portuguese technological product.
Outsystems seems to be pretty successful, yeah. But it's a software development platform, in which you drag an "if" block from a palette and drop it in a canvas. Most people prefer typing "if".
I've worked at a startup here once, and have seen this lack of capability to scale happen in first hand: unfortunatelly, at the time I was to focused on just being the 'technical guy', and did not have any real input to give (mind you I was just an employee - there is no concept of equity shares to employees in Portugal, thus no economical incentive in this regard).
Now that I have the will to actually be a part of a startup, I'm 'too old', have a family, and honestly, don't know where to look.
Although the scaling issues is due, in some part, to lack of investment (in other words green dollars) we could address it if professionals were willing to work on ideas they don't own. And many are. People are not motivated only by money but also by achievement.
Unfortunately we are transmitting that to do entrepreneuship you need your own idea and not joining someone and improve his idea, helping him to scale and turn it in our idea (and not only his idea). This may be the reason why there are so many ideas which are derivates of what exists is in the market.
Not so long ago, the dream of a student finishing college here would be an internship on any given big company, even if not paid (and hence, supported by its parents, 95% of the cases), in hopes of then getting a paid job in the same company.
It's incredible how this seemed excelent, but spending the same amount of 'parent money' in trying a startup of your own (or someone else's, I agree with your point) seemed utterly irresponsible.
A 'directory of IT portuguese startups' would be an excelent point to start: perhaps someone already has a cool idea that you not mind working on. Right now I find this kind of information to be really scattered. I've thought of doing this myself, perhaps I should return to this idea.
I've been at the first TechMeetupsLX meeting, it was interessting if not a bit long - seems this was sorted out in the next ones. I hadn't the chance to return, but hope to do it soon enough. Any other suggestions? I fear that the some of the paid conferences are still dominated by the 'big sharks', and no real opportunities are there... is this just an illusion on my part?
I never understood why people would leave what they love though; be that India or Portugal or whatever; there is plenty to do and live for if you are resourceful and the Portugese I met so far definitely are.
It's like when we tried to open an office in Spain; everyone (from the uni there) was complaining there are no jobs and they have to move to Germany. So we opened a company and started recruiting. The people who applied didn't want to work actually. So I asked the university dean and he said; they want jobs for eternity they won't 'risk' anything else. The logic eludes me, but suffice it to say; there are plenty of jobs, there is simply a mismatch between expectations and the jobs provided. Naive expectations. When people go to Germany, expectations lower because it's the promised land. Wages are higher, but the conditions are not better and definitely not what you would have gone for in the 'home land', but they take it anyway because the grass is greener.
Having talked to so many people in the south, it's a thing only few people 'get'; you have to embrace the crisis and see the things you can change. It's a turnaround point for all those things which are not well; small things like the difference between the staff in Worten and Mediamarkt. The way to fix the economy must come from many places and this crazy way people treat clients in the south must come to a complete halt. Changing the system from within will work; leaving the country won't, that's just selfish and lazy in a lot of ways. And you have no excuses; there is work, there is opportunity, you just need to try a bit harder as well, it's a crisis.
Therefore, you may find opportunities as a Dutch with Portuguese or Spanish employees but I would not expect the same access to market for a purely Greek, Spanish or Portuguese entrepreneur. I assure you that as a Greek I hear derogatory comments even by people who can see and witness the quality of my work. The best case scenario is when they consider me an exception amongst the Greeks. I am not one.
Accusing those who leave that they do it selfishly is not very nice. I can assume you selfishly want the best developers (those who can find work abroad) work for the 500 euros or whatever you offer. It is a crisis and the best anyone can make of it is to survive and in the process work to get the necessary experiences to go back when the conditions are better.
It is a crisis, and the 200-300 euro slavery northerners envision for us is not the solution. It is the problem. If as the "Dean" told you, people avoided risk, they would not risk moving either. The grass is not greener. The money is more. After all, EU is supposedly encouraging mobility. It is a free market, or is it not? Are only companies supposed to move?
500 euros (200-300...) is crazy, people going for that we would not hire because they have no idea what they are doing and that reflects in their work. And you can hardly live of 500 euro/month here in the mountains (and it's really cheap here), let alone in a city. So don't assume too quickly :)
I stand by my comment that I think if you have a warm heart for your country you should stay there and help (re)build it. I told this to my former Ukrainien partner who had the choice; go to the US or run the company in Ukraine. He choose the latter after many talks and he is a very rich guy now, having helped around 1000 people to a job in his poor city. That was not me ; that was him, but I do tell always to stay IF your motivation is career/money/happiness. Those are fixable, and even more so, in your own country especially in a crisis.
I am not a patriot by any means; I love the south of Spain, the east of Germany (saksische sweiss) and Portugal (esp Madeira) much more than my country the Netherlands. I am making companies in all these regions to be able to move freely and with pride between them. I am assured i'm helping in my own (little) way and all the regions I like are poor and yet I haven't found any lack of money resources, even in the regions themselves. I can make enough money to live happily WITHIN the regions I like even though people say there is no work/money. It's not me being special or gifted; it's other people are so non-creative, it scares me often.
And no; moving to Germany is not considered a 'risk'. Working for a small company with a year contract is. It's pros/cons; my assumption (which seems to be right with most people) is that people want to live close to family and friends and not move 2000+ km away.
I'm curious, what do you mean? Having bought from both stores (in Lisbon) I have noticed no difference.
Edit: never mind, I just saw your answer to this comment's sibling.
I spend a lot of time in Spain, Germany and Portugal, but I live in the Netherlands and the quality of service in Spain especially is of such a level that in the Netherlands you would be, as a company, on national television every night. It's appalling. Almost every company, especially big ones, don't care at all about customer service. The electrical company in the south, Endesa, just hangs up randomly. They don't have a CRM or anything, just non-caring students who don't know anything about the subject matter and they'll just tell you it's your problem and hang up (after you have waited for 1 hour with shit muzak). Whatever you are complaining about. In the Netherlands, there would be an outcry and it would be fixed (this has happened with UPC, but that was over 10 years ago... and they now lick your feet when you call).
In the average bar it's like a 'tourist attraction' to have the 'angry/shaggy/shitty bar guy'. They usually look like they hate you. And they never saw you. If your Spanish is good enough, you can just pelt them with derogative stuff as they seem to like the insult. But if you come with your family for a vacation, you might not want to verbally fight all the time. Besides some ancient bars in Amsterdam, you would not get away with that in the Netherlands. Your money is tourists; be nice. But no, besides some well trained staff in some hotels/restaurants/bars, the average way to treat someone you never saw is to be shortish or downright hostile to them.
The cases we had in the north (NL/DE) resulted in companies going bankrupt or public outcry; I have seen in Spain/Greece (less in PT so far) that it is very normal to treat people that way. And that doesn't work for people from the north, who are, accidentally, the people who have the cash. So maybe adapt? It'll make life better as well; I don't think being angry works well for your person either.
Having said that; ofcourse there are plenty of exceptions, the village I go to often has very friendly people. Unfortunately those are usually the older people. The younger generation is fat and spoiled and angry. Why? The news probably? Hearing every day your country is going under is not stimulating while the older generation lived with Franco / Salazar and know that this is the best they every had.
Edit: I know about southern Spain; Andalusia, so the comments I make are about that region of the country. I love that place and I'll die there, but it's something different if you are used to the north of EU.
Southern Europe is going to have to change a lot, fast. It is a huge opportunity if done right, but people dont even understand whats going on fully yet.
Wikipedia dixit :)
In the Spainsh translation of Fawlty Towers Manuel was Italian (that way us, poor Spaniards, will not be embarrassed by watching one of us strugling xD) and I suspect that in other countries they changed his nationality too.
And about Spanish companies and how they treat their customers, I'm with you. This is ingrained in many mediterranean countries: no ones got rich doing hard work or through a strong work ethic. You can only get rich stealing, abusing and lying. The rate of people who evades taxes is so high that in countries like Greece it's seen as normal. In fact in Greece you are a malakas («stupid/loser» yet the literal translation is «wanker») if you paid all your taxes.
The government is dysfunctional and it shows in many ways.
If you're interested in the subject you can read this (PDF): http://newsletter.epfl.ch/mir/index.php?module=epflfiles&...
In Spain most people are more preoccupied with being seen complaining than with doing something about that which they complain about.
The Spaniard is too preoccupied about what the other will think of him if he makes something... abnormal, which here means anything that will distinguish you from your neighbors . Spanish society is very very alienating and this is why so many foreigners find it so close and unfriendly to people from other cultures.
For UPC it was the national press who did it; they kept publishing horror story after horror story and after a while it started hurting the bottom line.
There was no Twitter and such yet; now it goes much faster. I'm surprised how little effect it has in Spain though; I had companies closing their Twitter or Facebook page after complaints and just opening a new one. Not big companies (might work there or don't they do social even? Never checked...), but smaller ones like furniture delivery companies who actually just deleted everything from their facebook page and got another one with happy stories...
This even seems (to me) to be mirrored in your politics, where the left-right divide is way more polarised than in Portugal
Way to keep it classy..
The younger generation is not fat, nor spoiled, maybe angry. You just see the most blatant cases, and decide that's the general rule.
If the average bar you were in was like a 'tourist attraction' it was that you just fell in all the tourist traps available. There are plenty of nice places to spend the day (and the night) in Spain.
About the Salazar/Franco line, I do not understand exactly if you are implying the older generation lived through a dictatorship, and now is the best they ever had (since there's no dictator), or you mean things were better during these times.
And it was worse during the dictators; old people remember and they tell me.
Edit; Oh and i'm not trying to insult anyone; you can ask my local bar guy; he'll tell you he is a angry sod; he's proud of it. He likes to piss off tourists. He just cannot explain why. Others as well; most are kind of proud of not being nice to tourists. While they know it's their bread.
Well, 'a few kilos' too heavy is not that bad compared with USA people :p. It's all about the change in the customs and the way we eat. Spanish gyms are full of very healthy people, yet running and going to work in bike is still strange in Spain (which is a culture-shock for someone from NL).
And about asking for the past and Franco... Ronda is not representative of Spain!!! ;) (and yes they are still proud of been in the right «band» if you ask in a bar)
The Ni-Nis (translated as "Not working Not studying") are all around Spain, but in Málaga is worse as the unemployment rate there is the nearly the bigger in whole Spain.
Almost all girls looked amazing (I have pics, I wasn't dreaming ;). Now I went back the odd 20 years later and mostly everyone is overweight. And not 'just a bit'. It's such a contrast. Same for Spain (Andalucia) and I also saw it in Guatamala as well. I'm not condemning this, but I'm referring to the amazing difference here in 'only' 20 years.
# occurrences of the word "south" on your post: 2
For me it's similar as Naples in Italy. Most people that have spent time would say it's a chaos and terrible, but for me it is just too real and vivid to pick on them. I like them as it is.
I don't really know how to express myself better than Larra himself "Vuelva usted mañana". I have tried to find a translation but they do not really work together..
I love Andalucia and if I could I would live there forever. I will retire/die there. Like said; I'm not trying to insult people, I'm just saying how it is here. And it's rather crazy. If you are on a permanent vacation, it's the best, but I've tried doing serious things and it just doesn't work.
My point is that there are bunches of talented people rolling out the CS dep of Malaga uni who scream, every option they get, that there 'are no jobs'. When I provide jobs, they use another excuse not to take them. NiNi's is apparently the word (I heard it before, but it didn't stick, now it will); it's very prevalent and I do not understand it. I have discussions with these guys & girls and over a truckload of rum-cola they understand, but the next day, it's gone.
I hope this word just stops being used. As a young person from Spain that have studied and is working (and have been since I was 18), that term used in spanish people is terribly insulting.
There are a number of other subtle generalization in your comments to this story that I find moderately annoying, even if (or maybe because) some of your points are true.
I won't go into them in detail, it would be a very long conversation. Just let me say that you're seeing it from an entrepreneur POV, that I bet started your business in your country and then "exported" it to mine and others.
I have zero incentives to waste time swimming crosscurrent. If I find a decent job abroad, I couldn't care less about the country going where it's going anyway.
I can see you might find it annoying to hear because it might be different in your part of country. As someone said already; Spain is a BIG country with a lot of different cultures, I'm seeing only one up close.
And swimming crosscurrent; isn't packing your bags and moving crosscurrent? It's quite a big step. My point is that there is enough work IN Spain/Portugal if you want it, and although you won't get paid as much as in Germany, you don't live in Germany; prices are simply much lower and you do have all healthcare and such covered. To the extend, if you carefully check, that you can find an insurer and make terms which allow you to go to Germany (or wherever, even the US) if you have something bad. Of course you should get a job abroad if you like it, but only for money it, to me, doesn't make sense.
I'm 48, so my toes are not specially affected. I simply dislike when a bunch of journalists and pundits with vested interests blame the victims.
Older people have built a dysfunctional society and still the culprits seem to be the newcomers.
'pffff, that's no reason, I get free money, I don't need work and oh yeah, there is no work anyway'
And that, by the way, is exactly true. Why study if, after all the effort, graduates are paid less than unskilled workers? Why, if the important thing is who you know, not what you are capable of? The work thing is even worse, but I get angry only to think about it. Just think who their role models are.
I'm from a town not very far from there, in Cádiz. I had to come to Madrid 16 years ago, because there wasn't virtually any job for me there.
you don't live in Germany; prices are simply much lower
Sorry to be blunt, but you have no idea what you're talking about. Price difference may be significant WRT small villages near Ronda, but it's negligible compared to Madrid. And there is no decent work for a programmer in a village. And even in Madrid salaries are half what you earn in London.
Trust me that cost of living is not nearly double in London than in Madrid. You don't think it makes sense? Ask anyone anywhere if it makes sense for them to go elsewhere and get paid double.
You moved from Cadiz to Madrid for jobs? What do you do if I may be so blunt? Because, as I have been typing in this thread all day; there are tons of jobs in my field (programming) all around here. You just need to be creative in finding them.
There are so many people working 'from home' here as programmer and work is so easy to get it's scary. I don't think you realize how incredibly crap most programmers are and how unreliable they are. To hire a reliable western programmer is something which takes a bit of beating and losing money on crap programmers, but after that you'll have a job for life and you only notice the 'legacy stuff' with the first project (clients will panic every second they don't hear from you but that passes). But it won't be with a contract and such, it will be freelance. I imagine some people are not ok with that. On the other hand, you live only once and in this stint of a life, I would rather live under a bridge than move from Cadiz to Madrid. That's just me of course, but you might not have to depending on what your trade is?
I worked four years as a freelance some time ago. I wouldn't leave my day job to do it again, maybe would do it on the side. Anyway, I'd rather take a full-time job abroad though (there are flights from London or Dublin daily), and I wouldn't need to deal with customers' bureaucracy, internal fights, and late payments and requirements.
I think that you have many facts right and a passion for what you do. But there are many facts you ignore and tend to arrive to rushed conclusions and some contradictions. Don't take my word for it, just see how many things you find incomprehensible about people's behaviour. That's not a coincidence! :-)
The average age on Spain is 40.5. It's so easy to just say, fuck it, young people is lazy, so let's let the government pass this or these other bigoted rules, or even let a bigoted party rule, because it's the only way they will learn.
I was not saying you are not right (heck, we are in 28.4% of unemployment), I was pointing out that generalizations are incorrect and biased.
PS: I may be angry, because the government decided to increase taxes on self-employed people (with unreasonable numbers), making it harder for me to enjoy working and living here.
In the town I used to go to in the Alpujarra (Sierra Nevada) they 'lost' E2 million town hall money. Lost. And what's being done? Nothing. Someone is driving a souped up Veron drunk into a canyon while the children in the village might be losing their school. That makes me angry.
Indeed I've never understood why the tech industry here isn't 100x stronger. It's a very attractive place to live, with low cost of living, lots of space for offices and buildings, fairly decent infra-structure, etc. Somewhere the portuguese politicians must be screwing up big time.
They finally passed a very weak-sauce, complicated version of a law that some of us are pushing for here in Italy: reducing the costs of creating a limited liability company ( http://www.srlfacile.org ), but it does show that if you work at it, you can accomplish things.
I'm wondering myself if it would be possible to start consulting part-time from Italy to finance my startup attempt. I wouldn't like to be forced to leave, but that is becoming more and more likely at the moment.
In terms of being pleasant places to live, Italy and Portugal are lucky, but they need to fix some other things...
This is a good book detailing some of what needs fixing, although it's mostly "old hat" for anyone who lives in Italy: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008F86HBK/?tag=dedasys-20 so it may not be worth reading if you're Italian.
There may be some tax issues with that, though, if you live and work at home, but have your company in the US. It's something to be careful about.
However, one thing that they all have in common is that they have spoken of leaving Portugal sometime in the future.
Be it after their first year or so in consultancy or after their PhD, the thought of leaving has crossed their minds.
Given that other industries are a lot worse than tech right now (civil engineers, lawyers, etc) I'm not really sure how this will turn out for the country.
Doesn't something very similar happen within the US where, in general, the brightest and best are drawn to locations where they can get the best opportunities?
As an example, I have worked in Portugal, Spain and now the UK and I don't know if I will ever be entitled to a state pension when I retire even though I payed pension related taxes in all of these countries.
In the US, AFAIK, it's a bit more homogeneous, no?
EDIT: And let me add - the usual weapon is taxpayer money. ;)
That was a good one, a perfect description of the standard Spanish entrepreneur :)
You have to innovate and innovation is something decided by a committee of bureaucrats who have never worked in the private sector in their life!
No real VCs, there are a few in Spain but they invested in risky things like construction, subsided agriculture and in companies with government contracts.
It's so easy to flight to London and meet real investors instead of doing all the ass-kissing of government agents and banks to get subsides... yet no one did it. Hubris was the cause.
My question is, where is the ultimate cause? what about USA people? Are they heading to China? :)
For me, the path can be something like this:
South America < PIGS < France/Germany/UK < Rest of The USA < SV/NYC
That being said, there's also people who give more value to quality of life. The place that work for in Spain have several people from The US, Sweden and UK, even though they could be making more money back in their countries.
While interesting, this essay is very shortsighted.
In Portugal I could't go any further because I didn't hold computer engineering degree.
In UK, I've reached Lead Developer position, and now Technical Project Manager. By contrast in Portugal nobody would even invite me in for an interview because the degree was a requirement.
Moving abroad hasn't always been easy. But I've found that beside the language everything else is purely down to your performance and personal ambitions.
Last year I came back to the UK, the dollar is $1.5=£1, there are hardly any aussies around, and lots of people are trying to get work in Australia.
This is party because of the Aussie dollar being so strong, and Australia withstanding the GFC thanks to China and the Banks.