Friday, February 09, 2007


Russia is a mixed bag of opportunities. For Russians, there really aren't that many tremendous opportunities (that I have seen). I have heard that the number of people studying at the higher levels in academia have fallen-off in recent years... What the point of getting (the equivalent of) a PhD if you will only be making a couple hundred dollars a month?
I have a good friend, who upon completing her pedagogical degree (in being a teacher of English, German and Russian), found that there were no jobs available for a candidate with such qualifications. She ended up moving to Denmark to work as an au pair.
Her friend, who had the same qualifications, had done the same (moved to Denmark to work as an au pair) the month before.
I think that Americans may (incorrectly) suppose that there are many opportunities here, after reading about the multi-million dollar oligarchs in Russia. These oligarchs are an extreme minority in Russia.
Though, there are many Americans that come to Russia for business. Americans even come to Vladimir for business!
Last night I met up with Mat Cote, an American who owns a construction firm based in Seattle. He is here doing building inspections for insurance companies and banks. He only arrived two weeks ago, and he has found that business here is really good.
Of course, specialized skills always pay better (i.e. an astrophysicist has a greater value in the marketplace than does someone with a BA in philosophy).
To give an idea of what a job in the Russian world pays, let me give a couple of anecdotal stats: I have a friend in Kyiv, who is completing her degree in Business Admin. At the university that she attends in Kyiv, classes are taught only in English. She speaks English, Ukrainian and Russian at the translator level. She wrote me a very excited email telling me that she was was looking to sign-on with a company that would pay her $150 a month. This was big money.
Additionally, a teacher in Vladimir was telling me that the going salary was about $200 a month. Though a teacher in Siberia makes about $120 a month. A principal in Siberia makes around $180 a month. And a pensioneer (retiree) makes around $150 a month.
So, as I said, it's a mixed bag.
HEY: As I write this, the clerk in the internet cafe is berating a customer for shortchanging the cafe 16 cents. Oh, it looks as if they're going to fight. There is going to be some free entertainment!
I have to go,

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