Had I stayed in the U.S., my life story might have been a sad one. I was one of the brightest students in school, got good grades and worked hard after I graduated. I was not too proud to accept a low-wage job that had no relationship to my studies, if it would lead to something better in the future. But finding a job in my field turned out to be impossible, and keeping an unrelated entry-level position, let alone moving to a higher one, was also very difficult. Start a business? Regulation and competition make that almost impossible unless you don’t mind spending a lot more money than you make. To make a long story short, my life in the U.S. was going nowhere, and I thought I deserved better.
One reason is that I was constantly discriminated against by co-workers, especially women, and sometimes by employers. Other employees could get by with things which if I did would result in the boss being bombarded with complaints. Discrimination is very much alive in America; what has changed is who does most of the discriminating and against whom. For example, in the old days most discrimination was against women and blacks, but these days most employment discrimination is committed BY women; the U.S. workplace is now a massive popularity contest, with the same social bullying that plagues American high schools.
In 2005 I moved to Peru and got married, which also would have been impossible for me in the U.S. I now have a family, own a condo (instead of renting) and am a reasonably successful English teacher. My household income, which was well below the median in the U.S., is about the third quartile, or upper-middle class, in Peru. I have recently been offered positions as an academic consultant for a textbook distributor and as an interpreter for a construction company. One reason success is easier to come by in Peru is the costs are much more reasonable. Another is that, as a well-educated American, I tend to be viewed more favorably by businesspeople. This has allowed my effort to pay off instead of being wasted, and that is why moving abroad was the best financial decision I ever made. It was also the best decision in terms of personal happiness.
There are those who believe your success depends entirely on you, and if you don’t succeed it means you are the problem. I am living proof they are wrong; otherwise, I would have been either a success in the U.S. or a failure in Peru. My effort, personality and philosophy were about the same in both countries. What was different in Peru were the economic and regulatory environment, and the attitudes of the people around me.
I know some people have succeeded in the U.S. by their hard work, creativity and persistence, in spite of the obstacles the government and the culture put in their way. But there are many more who work just as hard, and are just as intelligent, creative and persistent, who will never get out of poverty because they will never get the lucky breaks the successful people invariably got. They should consider moving abroad; the best way for them to achieve the American Dream may be to leave America.