Jobs in South America
Are you one who really would like to join us in South America but you are limited by the job prospects? We’ve had so many questions from readers about that, and particularly if they don’t speak Spanish.
In response, we are making a point to stay alert to job opportunities and information that might be helpful to you. We have also decided to share the stories of people already here who have met that challenge successfully. This week we were privileged to talk with Kara Bauer, owner of Cocina Verde (Green Kitchen), in Buenos Aires.
As you know, we think that whatever makes you more self-reliant and less dependent is worth considering. In that regard, we favor entrepreneurial thinking. An entrepreneur mind can often see opportunities that others miss.
Becoming an entrepreneur is a learned skill like other skills. In this time when even the currencies seem to be failing, the most valuable assets you have are your ability to think, along with your real skills. We are told that the ability to think broadly is not necessarily inherent. We learn that like we learn other things–from doing it. It is a learned skill that some educators claim is discouraged in our culture. Instead, we are encouraged to take our cues from the media, follow the crowd or seek out an expert to tell us what to do. We can benefit from the experts in some cases, of course, but do our own thinking–even disregarding the expert if it doesn’t make sense.
Gerald Celente, trends analyst, says the time of paper pushing jobs is in the process of passing. It is real skills that are going to count in the future. Computers will always be with us and so computer skills are valuable, carpentry, sewing, electrical work, nursing, farming skills and so on.
So what special skills and/or passions do you have that you might use to serve others and produce a good income in the process? And what do you have a passion for? What do you like enough to look forward to doing it every day?
We agree that the school system and the media have corralled our thinking in many ways and that deliberately breaking out of that thought process is a good start. We also find that most people who consider a move outside their own country have at least begun that process.
It was recently our privilege to meet a young woman who did exactly that.
Kara Bauer was a 31-year-old highly-paid advertising and marketing professional, living the good life in New York City, when she developed an interest in the subject of wellness. She decided to study nutrition and health at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York to qualify as a wellness coach. In case that term is new to you, a wellness coach sets out to help a client develop a program by which he or she can achieve their health goals.
At the end of Kara’s classes, one of the motivational speeches was entitled: “If there is something you want to do, what is stopping you?”
Kara says, “I had had this idea about moving to Argentina for a long time. I didn’t know why. I had never been here but I was interested.” She said that when she heard that message, “It just clicked!”
“At the same time I felt like advertising was not what I wanted to do with my life. There has to be more to life than this, I thought.”
“It took me six weeks to pack up and rent my apartment, quit my job, and head to Argentina.” She spent eight months investigating the country. During that time, she opted for Buenos Aires and has been here ever since. That was six years ago.
Kara spoke no Spanish.
As we have said in the past, there are corporate jobs here. There are also a lot of IT positions opening in Uruguay, as Uruguay expands their IT base. We hear the same about Chile. But normally you need some Spanish skills, and usually jobs in South America don’t pay as well as you may have come to expect in the land of your birth either.
This is the situation Kara faced in Buenos Aires. She had always been an employee and she had bills to pay. And she spoke only English in a Spanish-language country. What to do?
As the advertising specialist she was, she phoned a magazine in the United States and pitched the idea of selling advertising from Argentina. It is possible to do business in other countries easily these days because of the telephone and the Internet. Most of the prospects that she contacted didn’t even know that she was in Argentina.
She sold advertising successfully for several years. But she was still in advertising. She was not doing what she really wanted to do.
About her initiation into Argentina she says, “It was the most amazing and the absolute worst experience of my life.” She found someone else interested in opening a health center, and lost her savings to a scam. “He was really smooth, he looked legitimate, and he said he worked for the Embassy, drove a nice car.”
And was it an Argentine who scammed her? No. It was a U.S. citizen living here in Buenos Aires. Later she learned that he had taken advantage of others as well. And now, here she was, away from home, living in a foreign country without even the resources that she had when she came, without the language, doing something she didn’t really want to do.
And the idea of Cocina Verde was born.
She began to advertise ready-prepared, healthy, organic, vegan meals, delivered to the home or business twice a week. If you are in a developed country and have noticed the move toward natural health in your own country, be assured that it has come to South America as well. Kara came to this market at a good time. Even with this rough start, she has been in business for almost 3 years and her business is doubling every year. She believes that this will be a major growth area for her, both professionally and personally. She says that, “If you do a search online you are going to find raw food articles in every magazine here. People are hungry for the information and when they get a little information about how they can improve their lives, they are really interested. They constantly ask me if I am going to do a cooking class.”
Her plan goes far beyond providing a food service. Her goal is to make a difference in the lives of people. She is currently providing health coaching and will soon have a blog up and running, through which she intends to educate readers about how they can be truly well. She also has book writing in mind and plans to add public speaking. We think she will do it too.
She says that, “Argentina is a very small marketplace right now and people are just beginning to catch on. Raw food is taking the forefront. People are very interested in raw food.”
Asked what were her greatest challenges, she said, “I have a hard time with the inflation here and [the fact that] most of my customers are upper middle-class and have the income, which is great. But I really wish that I could make it available to other income groups. Ingredients are very expensive and you have to wait until you are big enough to buy quantity before you can get lower pricing. A bigger restaurant can order more and save on quantity discounts. It is hard to keep my cost down right now. Also it is challenging working with organic ingredients because often the selection availability is limited.”
But that may change as the movement toward organic continues to grow.
Kara says, “Why are people so focused on money and possessions? There is more to life than that. I was in a good spot financially and career wise and I threw it all out the window so that I could live this challenge. Even though it was comfortable, it is not what life is about.”
We look forward to the day when the success story that we publish on these pages—is YOURS!
P.S. Follow-up on Kara. We had reports from some subscribers that it appeared her business was closed. So we emailed her. Here’s what we learned. Kara met the “most wonderful chef in the world” in Argentina, they had married and were making arrangements to open a health center in Mexico where people could go to get well. She had said that what she really wanted to do was “make a difference” in people’s lives so in that sense this is no surprise. We love happy endings and this is one–though we are sad that she is gone.
We encourage you to leave your comments. If you have questions you think we could answer or if we can help you somehow, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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