Ah Thailand, it conjures up such wonderful images from the world class beaches to almost year round sunshine. However, if you are having to work each day does that take the tarnish off living in Thailand – after all you are spending most of your time away from the hot sunshine and other such great things to see and do when working?
I was chatting to my operations manager for Thaivisa and he broached the subject, saying it was quite a popular post on the Thaivisa website today. Initially based on my experiences here, I found it a little odd, you see I love working in Thailand and hate the thought of ever having to go back to the UK. The hypothesis though did grab my attention after all you do tend to spend a fair slice of your day working – so does that restrict you from enjoying Thailand?
But there are other variables at play here
But I was also missing a much larger point. Many expats in Thailand are teachers and although some do command a good salary many contend with a salary as low as 30k baht a month (less than US$1k). If you are working on a low salary then certainly I would agree ‘Thailand ‘aint all that‘ – after all what can you do if you have limited funds?
There is almost a sliding variable to this statement therefore. If you are working in Thailand and make enough money then it is great. You may be in the office during the day but you can enjoy your evenings and weekends all outside in the sunshine – and sunshine is just perfect for releasing those feel good endorphins. If though you are struggling to make ends meet then Thailand is not going to be great, but the same can be said for working anywhere in the world with a cash flow issue.
Where would you rather be?
If you have to work, you have to work – where ever you are in the world. So you also need to address what happens during that working day. In the UK I was surrounded by more like minded professionals to help stimulate me and allow me to grow and learn. In Thailand finding such individuals is very difficult, you need to be the self starter and source your own learnings.
Working with Thais is different
Working with Thais is also different – let’s face it, it is not easy. I am not saying which is right from wrong, but Westerners are punctual and determined – something that cannot be said of our Thai counterparts. I have worked here over a decade now though and have started to understand the Thai way, and at times I get it. Should life really be filled with self-imposed stress we all put on ourselves and each other during our working day? It is not good for our health and surely that should come first?
Arguably Thailand is Better when you work here too
Now I don’t know about you but when you are bored you are bored, regardless of where you live. If you wake up with no goals or not much to do then it doesn’t matter how good a region is. What work provides is something for you to do, builds a circle of friends and hopefully also stimulates your old grey matter!
If I was not working I would certainly get bored very quickly. I would have to find something to do, which is why retirees need hobbies.
There is only so many times you can play golf, go fishing or watch a movie each week before tedium and monotony can rear its head. The more money you have, the more leisure activities you can find to do – and I am sure lots of retirees have a wonderful, glorious time, but I am also quite sure these are the minority.
Think about it, why do you think so many retired expats can be seen perched on a bar stool most days supping beer? They run out of ideas for other things to do each day! It could even be why many retirees expats become miserable over time! There is certainly a case for not retiring too early in life, but that is another blog.
So, Is Thailand really all that if you have to work? For me, it is even better.