2. The Worker
Working and living in Ukraine is a different experience to what Europeans and Americans are used to and it really is a case of either embracing the country or living in an expat bubble. Come here from the third world and it most seem like paradise but even those who are from the West and have low-paid jobs can struggle if they do not keep their wits about them.
Sometimes it’s not even about money but attitude. Many people cannot handle the bad roads, corruption, rudeness, apathy and long for a bacon sandwich with brown sauce. Others manage to cope with the bad faults and counter these with the good things in life – a great nightlife, a lack of imposing rules, a cheap standard of living.
Some are on a different planet and huddle like desperate housewives wondering whether their skybox will work and will the US shop still have tins of frankfurters. Paying over the odds for domestic chores to be carried out this group would be more at home on the Veldt shouting at the servants. It would be nice to think that those days have gone – but the mentality still remains in some circles.
Let’s face it, most expats are not forced to be here against their wills and a lot have been seconded on short-term contracts or are embassy /NGO workers who rotate every few years. As in most countries in the world there are those that fall back on the ability to teach their own language as a career alongside the professionals in real estate, construction, banking, mining or retail. Occasionally you will meet someone who is in “Import / Export” but generally they are either on the run from the police / owe a lot of money back home – or both.
As a worker you may be alongside fellow expats or heading up a team of locals; going solo with an internet shop or leading a team of software developers. All of these are possible, all have good and bad points but remember – you can always leave; your Ukrainian colleagues will have more difficulty.
That said, this is still not an easy country to stay and work – whatever your income – unless you have a positive mental attitude.
Visas and work permits are a minefield and explored in full elsewhere as well as discussed regularly on the forum at www.expatua.com.
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