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Moving to Bonaire: Bonaire culture advise
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Bonaire culture advise
| By Kay D. Holden (BonaireTalker - Post #34) on Saturday, July 2, 2005 - 12:41 pm: |
To make it brief, while on my third visit this past May, I made contact with Stephen at Cactus Accounting. I am an accountant by trade with most of my experience in US/IRS tax accounting. I spoke with Stephen and he was very positive on offering me a position. In fact, he offered half days while I was there. I explained I was on vacation and would like a full time position when available and would be able to relocate in under 8 weeks, depending on the timing of the work visa. I have spoke with Stephen every two weeks, 4 times, since I have returned. He is always positive and informs me he is composing a letter, that is positive, that he will be sending by the end of the week. That was two weeks ago.
Does anyone understand the culture enough to provide me information as to whether I should continue to contact him or sit and wait? I don't want to be a pushy American, I just need to understand. Do I wait patiently now? Do I continue my every 2 week check in, is this offensive? Is the culture in Bonaire not conducive to one full time position? On my visits I have identified most people have 2 or 3 part time jobs.
Additionally, I have sent my resume to Bonaire accounting office and was told it would be distributed. DEZA has been helpful with information however, they are very clear that they cannot distribute my information since I am not a resident.
Can anyone provide some Bonaire culture etiquette to help me in this process?
My next visit I will take resumes and a suit and attempt to schedule appointments. Stephen did provide me hope that an American could possibly obtain a job in Bonaire. He indicated that accounting positions were needed.
Whatever insight would be terrific.
Jake, Liz or anyone reading this, can you provide me any advise?
As I have avoided being an employee of anyone but my companies for the last 17 years (with the exception of a brief, and very regretful, lapse about 10 years ago), I can't comment on what the process of trying to become someone else's employee requires or entails, whether it be on Bonaire or elsewhere.
As far as folks having 2-3 part time jobs - I don't know about that (although I have about a half-dozen "jobs" or occupations that I run simultaneously, but I've always figured that was just me :-) )
Antillean culture however leans towards never explicitly saying "no" to someone. A "no" can come across as a non-commital "yes" or "maybe", typically delivered with a smile.
In terms of your background, it would seem you would be more likely to find something where your skills could be used with some of the more prominent and international known firms, e.g. something along the lines of an Deloitte & Touche or Price Waterhouse Cooper, both of which have offices on Bonaire.
Sorry I can't be of more help.
| By Kay D. Holden (BonaireTalker - Post #35) on Saturday, July 2, 2005 - 3:41 pm: |
Thank you Jake. Yes, I think Stephen was being positive because he was uncomfortable saying "no". I needed confirmation on that just to put my mind to rest.
However, I appreciate you comments on the multi job positions I witnessed while there.
I did try with PWC and D&T, however, I found out from Stephen that they actually contract their work to Cactus Accounting and the other accountants on the island and just visit to review, if necessary. I have tried through their websites and get dead ended. I am going to visit their offices in person next time I am there. However, it is even questionable that they have any one occupying their offices full time there in Bonaire.
Wish I was as courageous as you and your wife on starting my own business. My contribution to your independence will be to purchase the blooming Octopus print next visit.
I am currently aggressively looking in Florida. The next best thing for those of us that are land locked.
Once again, thank you for being so helpful. I must be patient and wait on retirement. Then I can get to Bonaire with less effort.
| By Tish (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #220) on Saturday, July 2, 2005 - 4:04 pm: |
in order for somebody to hire you, the employer would have to prove that no Antillean qualified for the job is available.
That does not mean you could not obtain a job here in your field, but it does complicate things.
If you are hired, your employer will take care of getting your work permit for you and get you residency.
As Jake has said, starting your own company is the other option, but I gather obtaining the necessary permits takes about a year.
There are several accountants on Bonaire, all familiar with Antillean/Dutch laws and accounting needs, such as taxes here. Without that background, you would have a great deal to master. You would also need to know Dutch. Are you already fluent in that language?
I would LOVE to see somebody move here who could do US taxes, but I'm afraid there are not enough of us here to keep you employed, much less solvent.
As for the situation with Stephen, you might as well contact him now and then and see what happens. Hard to read that. Do you have an e-mail address for him?
Bonaire time is flexible. People say they will do something on one day and then do it a month later. But they often do what they said they would--eventually.
| By Kay D. Holden (BonaireTalker - Post #36) on Saturday, July 2, 2005 - 8:44 pm: |
I did discuss at length with Stephen that my skills were not strong for Dutch accounting standards nor did I speak any other language. I asked him to be honest with me so I knew whether it was even possible for me to entertain the thought of working on Bonaire. I have done hours of research on Bonaire economy, and tried to obtain some information regarding Antillean/Dutch tax laws. I am familiar with International accounting standards. He still was very positive and said that he was in need of a skilled professional and that what I needed to gain knowledge of could be easily transferred due to my background. I did provide him a resume. I have done research on the work permit and understand basically that I have to be requested. I also discussed this with Stephen and he indicated that if his firm desired to hire me that DEZA or the work permit would not be an issue.
Stephen and I talked for about thirty minutes and I kept stressing that I did not want to be overly aggressive I just wanted a realistic view of the chances of an American (with my limited knowledge of the accounting standards and language barrier) obtaining a position in Bonaire. He was so positive I was on cloud nine. He gave me three of his partners to email, his own email and asked that I forward a resume. However, as Jake mentioned Bonaireans do not like to be negative so maybe that was that. I have spoke to Stephen once on the phone and sent three emails (over the past month). Stephen was positive on the last phone conversation stating that I was discussed at the last managers meeting and that he was selected to write me a letter addressing my skills. I asked before we hung up, could I consider this a positive response and he said yes. He said I would get a letter that day or by the next day. That was a week ago.
My plan is to contact him next week and just casually state that I would like to contact him quarterly just to keep contact in the event something were to come up.
I plan to retire in Bonaire. So if I must wait, I will. Maybe at that time I will attempt to hang a shingle out and provide reasonable or free services as a community contribution for any needing IRS/US assistance.
However, on my next few visits I plan to actually schedule a few interviews and bring resumes. I figure what is the worst that could happen, I end up where I am now.
Thank you for your advise and words of encouragement.
Did I notice that was you wanting a book store and Indian cafe in Bonaire? I will remember to make a post before I come next time and you tell me what you like to read and I'll bring a few books. I too love to read so I have quite a collection. Paperbacks I just take to goodwill once I finish just to keep clutter down. Or if there is something you just can't get maybe I can help. The internet is so amazing these days I don't think anything is impossible. I just know the shipping must be really $$.
Anyway, thank you!
Hi! I like Jake have only had my own business on Bonaire and do agree that Bonaireans don't like to say "no". I would however keep up with Stephen. I am noticing a trend that companies like Cactus would appreciate an American with American knowledge on their team as many Americans are moving or conducting business on Bonaire and when an American goes to hire an Antillean Company, they feel more comfortable with an American on board, IMHO. This is not to say you would be a "figurehead for Americans", you would still be doing accountant work, It would be an added perk for them to have an American on board.
Saying that, you also have to remember everything is on "Bonaire Time". He may really be interested, but it may take some time. I definitely agree to keep up with him. I would suggest saying something like, I'm looking to move onto the island 1 September, would you have anything for me then. I will need my working papers before I start, so I would like to start the process of getting the (that is a whole
'nother process which can take a bit), but I find if you pin them down to a more definite time period, you will probably get a better feel. Let me know if I can be of any further help.
| By Tish (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #221) on Sunday, July 3, 2005 - 6:40 am: |
I agree with Liz. Keep communicating with Stephen on the assumption that he is going to hire you. He might surprise you and do so!!
| By Kay D. Holden (BonaireTalker - Post #40) on Sunday, July 3, 2005 - 9:39 am: |
Thanks guys for the words of encouragement. I was pretty down last night. But decided what will happen will happen.
Liz, Stephen basically said what you did in our face to face conversation. I understand that it is a "good" reason to be an American in the group. I am hoping that maybe I can bring something new and helpful.
So many people fall in love with Bonaire and want to move and of course I understand. However, I have done soul searching, counseling, internet research because I do not want this to be an impulse thing. I have labored over this for 3 years now and decided each visit to try to do it the right way. I don't have to be there tomorrow but want to work in that direction and I want everyone comfortable with the time table. As you said Bonaire has it's own time table.
I am going to continue to keep contact in the most casual way so Stephen realizes I am very committed to this. I am more then willing to take a 70% pay cut because I am now learning quality is more important then quantity. And I want to enjoy where I am and what I am doing more then just make a living. Additionally, I want to add to a community. I can do that here but you get so lost in the volume.
Liz, I will be calling you again for our next visit. (I hope in Oct, or it may be next yr)
I know Stephen both personally and professionally. He is very busy but also very honest. If he was positive then I'm sure he felt so when speaking with you. I would definitely continue contacting him,,,,with his many business ventures and the load at his accounting office - he might appreciate the reminders. As far as reaching him next week, I'm pretty sure he will be off island on vacation.
Good luck !
| By Kay D. Holden (BonaireTalker - Post #46) on Monday, July 4, 2005 - 10:10 am: |
Thank you Annette, wonderful news. Not that I want to hear someone is just so very busy but that encourages me that one, he needs the help, and two, he just hasn't had time to work up "the letter". I truly hope it is an offer letter.
I hope he enjoys his well deserved vacation.
I will continue to send reminders every three to four weeks so I do not drive him insane but stay on his to do list.
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