As students are always looking for the best opportunities to earn a living after completing their studies, one of the discussion topics that always comes up in all the courses I teach is, of course, where are the places with the best opportunities. Incidentally, as I lived most of my life in USA, people have wondered why I choose to live and work in Asia when according to “most people” the opportunities are greater in the USA. Let’s then, redefine what is an opportunity as many fail to recognize what is the true or entire meaning of the word “opportunity”.
To many individuals, the word opportunity is mostly the paycheck, not accounting for anything else that should be part of it (e.g. the cost of living, safety, crimes and homicide in that location, healthcare coverage, the ease of doing work – not only the ease of finding work, the culture and people you are dealing with, and most of all the quality of life in a certain place or location).
It is why for some people and businesses, working or operating in various places and countries, dealing with certain laws, cultures, people and/or environments it could make all the difference when it comes to any given opportunities. Although in many cases individuals have to live in a certain location physically to take advantage of certain opportunities, the internet has created more and more opportunities for individuals and companies to operate globally without them having to move or migrate to other places or countries. Moreover, opportunities today are highlighted by the fact that an increasing number of smart individuals in 3rd world countries are better off than below average intelligent people in developed countries in picking up opportunities. Take the internet scams for example; most come from 3rd world countries. The idea here is that the “smart” guy has figured out an opportunity to scam gullible individuals in developed countries, even though he’s using it the wrong way. But how is this any different than a country or system which takes advantage of laws, systems, and or the local environment to scam you legally? Of course this is another can of worms, so let’s just stick to opportunities that are moral and ethical for now!
Not long ago, this wasn’t the case. No matter how smart you were, if you happened to be in a certain place or country, you would not be able to accomplish or amount to anything unless you left that place for the ones with more available opportunities (unfortunately many were unable to leave the place or lost their life doing so). Many people that I know have immigrated to USA or other countries before the internet era and for most it’s unquestionable that it made the greatest difference in terms of opportunities, especially in the blue collar jobs area. Many others wanted to immigrate to various places around the world from their native place but could not, and they could only wonder “what if”. Some of them not too much later found out that they were able to “get out” by using even better means, the internet, and are now happy they didn’t go or migrate anywhere, as the internet now brings an opportunity directly to your desk in many instances instead of you having to go chase it physically in some place or country. There are still places in the world where you are doomed if you live there, but for the most part, if you can “get out” using your computer or smart phone, you are likely to run into an opportunity of some kind.
I still wish I could live in California, not because it offers any “opportunity” in particular when compared to other places worldwide but for one simple reason, the weather. However, for many more reasons, especially safety (man induced disasters which I don’t want to detail for the sake of political correctness; natural disasters are a different story and are a big issue in some places) I prefer quite a few other places. Should weather be considered an important aspect/part of an opportunity? If we include some of the Middle East countries that are loaded with opportunities, the weather would make a good case against a good opportunity among other things, especially if there are a number of similar opportunities to choose from worldwide.