I’ve been asked many times why I moved to back to Panama when I graduated. I had a job offer from a fantastic company and could have achieved financial and personal independence at the age of 23. Yet, I still decided to come back and take on a job opportunity at Ubiqua in Panama City.
In trying to answer this questions there are 3 main reasons that brought me back. First, was the work opportunity. Second, was that being back meant being close to family. And third, was the difference in lifestyle design.
- Work: Scope, Impact and Meaningfulness
Job opportunities in Canada are great and surely can provide a rewarding and fulfilling career. The opportunity I was offered panned out the next 25 years of my professional career, with clearly defined promotions and milestones. On the other hand, Ubiqua’s future is still yet to be determined and career projections can’t plan out more than 3 to 5 years.
What made the difference is that at Ubiqua I have the opportunity to help build something new, from a very early stage. Rather than follow well-defined processes, I have the opportunity to create and implement new processes that will allow us to scale. Additionally, well-established companies look for growth rates between 1 and 3% while at Ubiqua our growth targets are well above 500%. This provides a very unique opportunity to experience hyper-growth phase at Ubiqua and be a critical part to its success. At my age, this is exactly the bold and risky opportunities that will make a huge difference in my proffesional development.
- Family Matters
The last 5 years have taught me important lessons as to how important family can be. In high school, I spent time with both my families, mom and dad’s, at least once a week and hung out with my brother and cousins multiple times during the week. During my undergrad, I realized how important it was to me to be able to be there for the “family moments”. This means being there for my mom or dad’s birthday, or being able to enjoy my grandparents last couple years, and being able to play with my nephew and see him grow up. At the end of it all, being able to enjoy time with my family is incredibly important to me and being in Panama allows me to do exactly that.
- Lifestyle Design Flexibility
This last point is the least important and could equally happen in Canada or any other country for that matter. In my opinion, the reason it is still valid is due to the difference in options provided by various locations.
There are a lot of things that I’d love to do and that I can do in Panama in a unique way. I’d love to learn to cook with my mom, and play golf with my dad and grandpa on weekends. Perhaps I could pick up scuba diving or play the guitar again. On weekends, I’d love to either be in the valley relaxing and reading a good book or enjoying some beers with my friends at the beach. After work, I can either go for a run or a workout, or go home and enjoy time with my nephew and family. There are many things I’d love to do and that I can do anywhere around the world, but Panama offered me the greatest flexibility of all, and allowed me to do these things with my family as well.
Obviously, all of these come with sacrifices. I have my own family of friends in Toronto that I won’t be able to see every week. Nevertheless, this isn’t a forever goodbye. As we all begin exploring our preferences and tailoring our careers to our ambitions, many of us will spread apart. We will always keep the memories of the great times, and the excitement of the even greater times to come.
To all my friends I made in TO, I miss you all and I look forward to catching up with all of you soon! and hosting you someday in Panama!