Thursday, 12 September 2013

A career in Bulgaria, why not

'Career in Bulgaria. Why not?' '2013.

Although Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries within the EU, unemployment-wise currently it is doing better than certain other southern European countries, e.g. Greece, Spain, and Portugal. At the time of writing, the Bulgarian unemployment figure is just under 13 percent.

Today I have attended a Bulgarian job fair rhetorically called 'Career in Bulgaria. Why Not?'. Happening for the sixth time in a row now, the fair is aimed primarily at retrieving tallented Bulgarian emigrants back to their homeland, and at convincing those who are still here not to depart.

Although most of the fellow participants were Bulgarians, I have encountered a few other foreigners, and all the employers I have talked to - apart from one from a youth NGO - spoke fluent English.

I have got the impession that in Bulgaria foreigners still are welcomed, both by people in the street and by the employers, more eagerly than in many Western European countries. An easy explanation could be that in Bulgaria, differently from the older parts of the EU, there simply are less foreigners, and those who do come are not as often willing to settle in for the rest of their lives.

Bulgaria might indeed be a fertile land to sow one's career at, particularly if you like to explore and find your own ways rather than walking the paths that others have made. There is still a lot to be established and developed here. Finally, on your free time you have a nice climate, friendly locals and a beautiful nature to explore.   

Bulgaria may not be as fast as New York, as tall as Dubai, or as sophisticated as London. Perhaps, here exists a certain glass ceiling stopping you from advancing to the more remote stages of your career (after you've done everything that could have been done) - lack of financial resources, a somewhat conservative society.

However, it is a potentially good place to spend a few years, to get some real, hands-on experience that includes real work (rather than just making coffees and photocopies for your more senior colleagues). Especially to the youngsters coming from certain EU countries that have been heavily affected by unemployment Bulgaria's job market might prove to be a salvation.

For a foreigner, the easiest and most obvious jobs to find are positions at customer service (call) centres and language teaching. However, there exist more diverse opportunities. In some companies, the new employee is not even expected to speak fluent Bulgarian as his/her Bulgarian colleagues already speak fluent English.   

Why not, indeed. It does not hurt to try.

The fair, 12 September 2013.

12 September 2013.

Text and photos (c) Agne Drumelyte, 2013.

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