Moving to Panamá

My husband Gonzalo is still uncomfortable with the idea of leaving for 7 months to travel the world with job uncertainty awaiting us at home.

His anxiety is legit and I can’t fault him for it. 

I suppose I could accuse him of squashing my dreams or make him feel bad about lacking faith but he’s right.  What I am trying to accomplish is impractical and risky.  We’ve been poor before and now we’re doing really well.  Why would we mess with it when life is pretty darn good right now?

In the midst of all my travel sabbatical planning, he reminded me that he works for a multi-national company with a globally mobile workforce.

Why not check the international job postings at work and see if anything looks like a good fit?

Brilliant!  We can live as expatriates for a time and have an international adventure.   Our daughters will solidify their Spanish skills and I can start an online business.

Gonzalo will work and pay the bills and our savings account will remain intact.  If my business start-up flops, I can put on my big girl panties and go back to Corporate but to have a year off to take a shot at it?

Hmm…maybe he’s onto something.

He checked the job postings at work and found a position in Santiago, Chile.  It wasn’t the best fit but it was ok so he applied.  He received an email thanking him for his application but he did not get an interview and the position was quickly closed out.

Soon after, he found a position in Panamá.  It was two levels up from his current pay grade and was an excellent fit for his interests and skill set.

I took a break from blogging and went crazy researching Panama City.  We would have to adapt to the extreme heat and humidity and a noisy cosmopolitan city but honestly, it looked like a great opportunity.

His Human Resources contact assured him he would be getting an interview but a few weeks went by and nothing happened.  He followed up at appropriate intervals, then learned there would be no interview.

Quotas require that a certain percentage of jobs be filled by Panamanians and due to the high number of foreigners already working at that location, they couldn’t bring in another expatriate.  Thus, the position was filled by a Panamanian.

We were disappointed of course but remain hopeful that another door will open.  Meanwhile, we continue working, saving, and planning.

Perhaps it is an issue of timing and something else will present.

I have an MBA in International Management and have worked in financial services for 14 years so I could also apply for international positions.  However, my employer is US-based and does not offer international opportunities.

That makes it more of a challenge and honestly, I would rather take some time off anyway.  If I choose to work while on sabbatical, I would rather write and teach about personal financial planning, which is a passion of mine.

Life is uncertain.  How do we know which path to take if given a fork in the road?

Right now, there is no fork.  Both of the other doors are closed, so ruminating about it doesn’t really help.

For now, there is no move to Panamá or anywhere else.  We are still in Kansas City, working and raising our children.  Doing life in Normal mode.

This may not be the adventure we were seeking, but we choose to accept the goodness and wisdom of where we are.  For now, it’s ok and Panamá can wait.



Leave a Comment