An Open Letter To My 24-Year-Old Unemployed Son Back In The United States
I was sorry to hear you’ve lost another job. I can empathize; I’ve been laid off a couple of times in my 56 years – it’s no fun.
I don’t want to judge you, but I do want to offer you some advice, straight from the shoulder, father-to-son.
You tell me that President Obama is going to turn the economy around in the United States soon, and when he does you’ll be able to find a good-paying, long-lasting job.
Son, that’s a load of Grade-A fishmeal. I’ve seen American politicians come and I’ve seen them go – and they’re all pretty much the same. No matter how idealistic they start out, they wind up catering to the rich and powerful in order to stay in power. Sure, Obama is going to work on the economy. But do you seriously think he’ll be doing it for your sake? He’ll be doing it for the banks and big industries, so they can not just survive but prosper obscenely in the coming years.
You, on the other hand, I’m sorry to say, are one of the little people who don’t count for much in our grand Democracy anymore. Nobody in Washington cares the peel of an onion whether you’re working or standing in line for a hand-out.
Son, in today’s economy you’ve got to forget about the promises of politicians and work aggressively and boldly for yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, son; I love America just as much as you do. But I found out years ago that it’s an impossible place to make a good living in; that’s why I became an English teacher here in Thailand. There are dozens of English teaching jobs going begging right now. It was the easiest thing in the world to interview and be hired by a Thai school.
That’s why I continue to urge you so strongly to do the same thing!
Let me be as blunt as possible. Things are not going to get any better for the likes of you and me in America for a very long time to come. Period. You need to show the good ol’ USA the heels of your shoes if you ever want to regain your self-respect.
I know you don’t have any formal training as a teacher, have not taught in a classroom before – but so what? Neither had I, if you ignore those junior Sunday School lessons I gave at church. That’s why I took a TESOL certification course here in Thailand – in just 4 weeks it gave me the grounding and experience I needed to face a classroom of squirrely Thai kids and gradually win their respect and affection, while teaching them the rudiments of the English language.
I’ve got a good life here in Thailand, son – and I’d love to see you enjoying the same kind of lifestyle I have right now, instead of sitting on a battered old couch in your basement apartment eating bowl after bowl of Frosted Flakes and watching Oprah.
I work a nine-hour day, which leaves me plenty of time to hunt for sea shells on the beach (and no, I can’t promise that your first job will be in Phuket – but if that’s what you want you can get there in a few years!) I eat only the freshest fruits and vegetables, and that includes papaya, mangosteens, and jackfruit. I consume large quantities of very cheap, very rich, Thai curry over mounds of fragrant jasmine rice. I can make a gallon of real fresh-squeezed limeade for about 75-cents.
You know all about my lovely Thai fiancé. We plan to be married in a few months, if the paperwork doesn’t drive us to kill each other first. We have a beautiful 3-bedroom bungalow and a half-acre of land full of fruit trees, with a fish pond just writhing with tilapia. I rent this little Garden of Eden for about a fourth of my monthly salary.
I pay my Thai taxes, but am under no obligation to pay Uncle Sam diddly squat. I have a legitimate work permit, so I don’t ever have to leave Thailand unless I want to. Like they say back in the States, I’m as happy as a pig in mud.
You can be, too, son – if you’ll just get off your duff and take a chance over here on a new country and new career. It’s not perfect – no place is – but you’ll find wonderful opportunities here that you could never find back in the States. Forget what your girlfriend says – can she get you a real job any time soon? (And wait until you see Thai women up close – you won’t keep your farang girlfriend for long!)
Come on over and take the TESOL certification class! What have you got to lose? Nothing but food stamps and low self-esteem . . .