There’s no getting around it. I live in the Bahamas and it’s about time I start accepting that fact. And one of the items that’s been on my to do list for a while now, nestled between "Lose ten pounds" and "Fix the hole in the drywall" is "Drag this country into the 21st century."
There is no software development industry in the Bahamas. And there should be one. It’s criminal the opportunity the country is wasting by not trying to create one. Not only do they have reliable high speed internet (I’ve heard tell they have a direct line to some main Internet thing-y in Miami via a big cable along the ocean floor), but there are at least three US cities that are less than an hour and a half from here by plane (although admittedly, they’re all in Florida). And there are other regular direct flights to New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Washington, Calgary, Toronto, and London, which are the cities I know off the top of my head.
These are only the advantages for companies that might be interested in investing in remote workers based in the Bahamas. For the worker himself/herself, I don’t think I need to dwell too much on why you should consider it. For the government, it means an influx of young professionals with lots of disposable income who won’t be stealing jobs from locals but will be spending money locally.
So, after getting a bit of a kick-start from someone who will remain nameless because the power cut out during our conversation before I asked permission to name-drop him, the wheels are in motion. The goal: work with the government to encourage IT professionals to move to the Bahamas to work remotely and to encourage companies to invest in said IT professionals.
What that entails, I’m not quite sure. I didn’t do that well in the "IT industry planning for third-world countries" course in university. Perhaps it means first upgrading the government’s systems (or, in some cases, installing them since a lot of them are still paper-based). Maybe it means streamlining the process for getting residency permits. Or setting up a network to help people get accustomed to a place where Starbucks closes at eight. Or creating a registry of qualified tradespeople that haven’t screwed people over in the past. Don’t rightly know, just thinking out loud.
Now to be sure, there are many reasons why the fantasy of living and working in the Bahamas is different than the reality. But given what I’ve seen of the weather in western Canada in the last two days, I have a feeling any arguments I make against working here will fall on deaf and/or frozen ears. If, after reading this post, you want to help me on my quest, contact me directly and I’ll give you an honest run-down.
In any case, a prospecting e-mail has been sent to the deputy prime minister who I’m fully expecting will ignore it. It’s more of a courtesy because I have a back-up plan that is more direct and more likely to get results. (Hint: The adage "it’s not what you know, it’s who you know" is practically baked into the constitution here.)
In the meantime, my task for each of you is to give a long, hard look at where you are living and working.
Take your time…
Kyle the Patient