Working in Mexico

articles Living, Working, Retiring

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Posted by Bruce Cobb on November 07, 1996

Hi, My name is Bruce and I live in NE Washington State in a solar powered house. I work for the US forest Service at a Job Corps Center for youth 16 to 24 years old. Next year I will be able to retire and we (wife Connie) have been considering Mexico. This is homework time right now. Any information or suggestions on who to contact would be greatly appreciated. One of the things I am interested in is “part time work”. I know that usually working in other countries is not possible or is difficult to do. Besides workingg with youth I am trained in mediation and wonder if that is something that might be possible within the American community. We are leaving for a vacation on November 12 and won’t be back until December 3. Am looking forward to some dialog and will answer immediately (except for the time we will be gone) We are planning on visiting in Guadaljara in March or April……. Regards, Bruce and Connie

 

Re: Moving to and maybe working in Mexico

Posted by jennifer j. rose on November 09, 1996

Think about volunteer work and not simply among the expatriate community. Your skills sound as though they might be appropriate in one of the DIF programs.

Re: Discussion on working in Mexico

Posted by David on November 10, 1996

The exchange between Marvin and Steve in the above message thread is a part of what the MXC Forum is all about.

It is often through discussion and exchange of opinions/viewpoints that people gain the insight and understanding they seek – whatever their journey.

The Forum is to ask for and receive advice and information – yes.

The Forum is also a place for people to understand some of the issues related to travelling, living and/or working/not working in Mexico.

Personally, I enjoyed the discussion, it gave me cause for thought. I hope it continues with more input from others as well.

Re: Moving to and maybe working in Mexico

Posted by Marvin Kemel on November 09, 1996

Bruce; i hope that you would as Jeniffer said work as a volunteer. The last thing Mexico needs is a gringo working for $. Unless a person is employed by a large corp. who is doing work in Mexico(maquilla,etc. ) it is reallly not fair to go to this poor country and take food out of
their mouths.

Re: Work? Why Not!

Posted by steve on November 09, 1996

I disagree with this thought. As long as you are doing a job that doesn’t infringe on a local then why not? There are many skills onecould bring to Mexico and use to make money. You could teach computer programming and English. Skills such as water pump repair and water
system design are two more. It doesn’t mean you are taking advantage it means you are bringing a new skill to an area and could also entail training people to learn the skill you possess. The education and training system in Mexico needs a lot of work so a skilled person can be very helpful and educational to the locals and at the same time be used for a monetary gain. If it is a symbiotic relationship then why not!

Re: Work? Why Not!

Posted by Marvin Kemel on November 10, 1996

The person who posted the original request mentioned working with the American Community. THIS IS WRONG!! If we set up our own economy in Mexico are we imparting any skills or knowledge to our Hosts? If a person is a skilled hydraulics( water) engineer then why cant he teach the locals some of these skills at no cost, or perhaps barter for his or her own needs(yard work, painting, cleaning, car washing, etc.) Obviously I am not referring to say a Teacher who is working full time. If a Mexican earns some pesos this money goes directly into the local economy. If a foreigner earns some pesos in all likelehood this will not put any more $ into the economy than if the foreigner was not working. Besides do you really need the money? No matter how limited your income might be it is still far greater than the average Mexican’s. Por ejemplo: you are receiving a pension or social security of $1000.00 per month. This is equivalent to the ANNUAL minimum wage in Mex. Is this fair for you to then draw money out of the local
economy. Of course I do realise that foreign residents do a lot for the economy. In many of the Gringo communities hundreds of people survive on the $ we inject. IMHO if your income is so limited that you have to work and take bread out of the mouths of Mexicans then you should stay home. This is not meant to be a “smart aleck” reply, I am simply stating my views: albeit a little more to the left than some others. Perhaps the compromise to these opposing views would be to “partner” with the Mexicans. In this way they would learn your skills and still earn some $.

 

Re: Not so

Posted by steve on November 10, 1996 :

If you are offering someone (and I don’t care who that someone is) something they cannot get in Mexico, then it is not wrong. If a person is a skilled hydraulics( water) engineer then why cant he
teach the locals some of these skills at no cost, or perhaps barter
for his or her own needs(yard work, painting, cleaning, car washing, etc.) What is the difference? If you trade services for services or for money? I guess it is easier to hide from the IRS eh? Here you say working is OK…

Obviously I am not referring to say a Teacher who is working full time. If a Mexican earns some pesos this money goes directly into the local economy. If a foreigner earns some pesos in all likelehood this will not put any more $ into the economy than if the foreigner was not
working.

I don’t understand this statement. If you make money in Mexico and live there, then why wouldn’t that money be spent there?

Besides do you really need the money?

Yes, some people may need the money and is there anything wrong with needing a little more money?

No matter how limited your income might be it is still far greater than the average Mexican’s. Por ejemplo: you are receiving a pension or social security of $1000.00 per month. This is equivalent to the ANNUAL minimum wage in Mex. Is this fair for you to then draw money out of the local economy.

You are not just drawing money out, you are putting something back with your expertise and skill. If you have such a large pension por ejemplo, why not just give some of it to charity then? Why not live on say $700 a month and support a whole family somewhere? If my pension is $500 a month and I make an additional $200 a month, and your pension is $1200 a month, who is the more “right” you and your extra $500 which you spend on your maids and gardeners or myself who does his own gardening? I can go more “left” than you anyday!

Of course I do realise that foreign residents do a lot for the economy. In many of the Gringo communities hundreds of people survive on the $ we inject. IMHO if your income is so limited that you have to work and take bread out of the mouths of Mexicans then you should stay
home.

Again, I repeat, if you have a skill to offer that is not infringing on the local populace, then go for it. I also question your statement (which is more to the far “right” than left) about “limited”
income restricting your life in Mexico. What income level should you have to have to live there? What criteria do you use?

This is not meant to be a “smart aleck” reply, I am simply stating my views: albeit a little more to the left than some others. Perhaps the compromise to these opposing views would be to “partner” with the Mexicans. In this way they would learn your skills and still earn some $.

You are waffling here. I guess what you mean is that it is ok under some circumstances. And I am saying the same thing. But you can’t make a blatant statement about how bad a person you will be if you work in Mexico.

Re: Not so

Posted by Marvin kemel on November 10, 1996

This forum is not meant for this kind of back and forth debating. I will not post any more to this subject after this last comment. Most of the people who post here seem to have a genuine interest in the people and the country of Mexico. I would hope that we all leave more in Mexico than we take out- be that $ or expertise. My concern is based on my observations in many of the “foreign” communities where many people are operating full fledged businesses(evading both the IRS and the Secretary of the Hacienda). This is not only morally wrong but illegal. I would also suggest to the person who posted the request for info that he inquire of the Mexican government whether he is permitted to work in Mexico. Mexico is a sovereign nation and has the right to impose their own regulations on foreign workers. We as visitors have a responsibility to obey these laws.

Re: discussion=learning=understanding

Posted by steve on November 10, 1996

> This forum is not meant for this kind of back and forth debating.

I disagree again. The reason for debate is to learn. And I find this
discussion merely an exchange of ideas and a good way to look at the
reality of life in Mexico.

If you think I do not care abut the people of Mexico and their struggle
then you have misinterpreted what I have said.

Just like the Mexicans who are illegal in America and working at jobs
the Americans will not take, Americans are working at jobs illegally
in Mexico because they have found a niche that fulfills a need. This
is simply the reality of the situation. I don’t believe these illegal
Americans are all taking advantage of the system and if you want to
compare them to the legal Americans who have moved factories to the
border and hire Mexicans to work under atrocious conditions, then we
have a definite moral difference whether it is legal or not.

Please do not be offended by what I am discussing here as I am trying
only to get a feel for the reality of the system down there. You can
read all the laws and books about living in Mexico you want but when
you get there it is entirely different.

Re: discussion=learning=understanding

Posted by Marvin Kemel on November 11, 1996:

Steve: I said I would not post any more on this subject because: 1.
I
thought maybe other people were not interested. 2. I was afraid our discussion could turn into the kind of garbage one see in many of the newsgroups. I guess i was wrong so here goes. Your comparison of Mexicans working in the US to Americans working in Mexico is really unbeleivable. On the one hand we have people who are without work and hungry, and with virtually no social safety net illegally entering acountry that has everything. Al reverso we have people of some means illegally working in a country that offers very little in support for those in need. Not the same thing. Your comment on the maquillas is both fact and fiction. I have visited some of these plants and those were modern, clean facilities. But I do know that many of them are
atrocious. I have often felt that the Mexican Gov’t sold their people into slavery by allowing maquilas. But even some Mexican social activists are supportive of this type of industry. At least these factories pay unemployment insurance, medical , etc. for their employees. Many wealthy Mexican factory owners pay “under the table”
.
This is also typical of many restaurants and other service industries. When these people are sick they are on their own( not that the “seguro” hospitals are much better). Most of the vendors that
we see in the streets are also without any social services. In Hermosillo some of the maquilas offer breast exams for all the women. Some sponser baseball teams,etc. Sure beats working for some fat wealthy cat who treats you like dirt. My comments on bartering still stands. Mexicans are a proud people and bartering some work for your skills is a way of not offending them .

I think our discussion emphasizes that it can be difficult living in a third world country where we bring our”wealth”(cars, motorhomes,clothing, etc.) and try and live amongst people who have
very little in material goods. They think we are all moy rico, and I suppose we are by their standards. That is why when I see other foreigners operating resaurants, auto repair shops, fishing
expeditions, bread and breakfasts, appliance repair shops, etc. I become outraged. Most of these people pay no Mexican or American taxes on this income. They do not pay seguro for their employees or do not employ any locals. They do not collect the 15% sales tax. They are also not imparting any skills to the people. They operate a sort of micro economy that does nothing for the country or the people. THIS IS WRONG.

It is too bad we can’t have this discussion tete a tete. It can be very hard to read the other parties in the net. I am sure it would be more interesting. Adios

Re: Working in Mexico

Posted by steve on November 11, 1996

*Nope Marvin that won’t happen here because this group is moderated. For myself, I am only into the discussion for my own interests and education. I may get heated up and excited but I won’t cross that line.

I guess i was wrong so here goes. Your comparison of Mexicans working in the US to Americans working in Mexico is really unbelievable. On the one hand we have people who are without work and hungry, and with virtually no social safety net illegally entering acountry that has everything.

There is obviously a problem with poverty in Mexico. Many Mexicans come to the US to work and return with the money to Mexico because they can make a years salary in a matter of months even picking strawberries or lemons. The question about social services is perplexing and the question of the day in California.

Some illegals from Mexico are getting services and services much better than they would get in Mexico.

Al reverso we have people of some means illegally working in a country that offers very little in support for those in need. Not the same thing. Your comment on the maquillas is both fact and fiction. I have visited some of these plants and those were modern, clean facilities. But I do know that many of them are atrocious. I have often felt that the Mexican Gov’t sold their people into slavery by allowing maquilas. But even some Mexican social activists are supportive of this type of industry. At least these factories pay unemployment insurance, medical, etc. for their employees. Many wealthy Mexican factory owners pay “under the table” . This is also typical of many restaurants and other service industries. When these people are sick they are on their own(
not that the “seguro” hospitals are much better). Most of the vendors that we see in the streets are also without any social services. In Hermosillo some of the maquilas offer breast exams for all the women. Some sponser baseball teams,etc. Sure beats working for some fat wealthy cat who treats you like dirt. My comments on bartering still stands. Mexicans are a proud people and bartering some work for your skills is a way of not offending them.

*The problem I see with American factories in Mexico is that typically
throughout history, in Latin America, the American business interests
have used the land and the people for profit and return nothing to the
community. This may not be so obvious now because they are much more
aware of public relations and take care to make an image. This image
may include minimal projects designed only for the press.

*On bartering: I think bartering is great but if you sell your
services or products for money whats the diff.? You aren’t selling to
the very poor only to those who can afford what you have to offer. If
what you have to offer is worth the money then you perform a good
service. I am not saying you are going to gouge and take advantage
which is wrong anywhere in the world. I’m sure there is a sector of
the populace that is taking advantage of the situation but this is
just a part of the whole. It is not a black and white situation but
rather one of all shades of grey.

*You have to realize that many of us do not have these signs of wealth
of which you speak. When you live with public transportation, you shop
at the market for food, and live a simple life this is not so true.
Also, I am not talking about living in a neighborhood made of
cardboard and sticks. Nor am I talking about living where everyone has
a maid and gardner. There is another world out there and maybe you
should check it out.

*The reality of your statement is hard to believe. Everywhere I have
traveled in Mexico the owners of such businesses have to either have a
Mexican partner whether it be family or associate,especially those
businesses you mention. I am not saying it doesn’t exist because there
are
ways around everything just like in the US (Simpson got away with murder
didn’t he?). Mexican business will bust you wide open if you try and
compete without going thru the proper channels.

*I won’t say it isn’t happening but it is such a small percentage that I don’t think it is worth examining.

Re: Working in Mexico

Posted by marvin Kemel on November 11, 1996

My comments on bartering still stands. Mexicans are a proud people and bartering some work for your skills is a way of not offending them.

I think our discussion emphasizes that it can be difficult living in a third world country where we bring our”wealth”(cars, motorhomes,clothing, etc.) and try and live amongst people who have
very little in material goods. They think we are all moy rico, and I suppose we are by their standards.

Signs of wealth of which you speak. When you live with public transportation, you shop at the market for food, and live a simple life this is not so true. Also, I am not talking about living in a
neighborhood made of cardboard and sticks. Nor am I talking about living where everyone has a maid and gardner. There is another world out there and maybe you should check it out.

That is why when I see other foreigners operating resaurants, auto repair shops, fishing expeditions, bread and breakfasts, appliance repair shops, etc. I become outraged.

Most of these people pay no Mexican or American taxes on this income. They do not pay seguro for their employees or do not employ any locals. They do not collect the 15% sales tax. They are also not imparting any skills to the people. They operate a sort of micro economy that does nothing for the country or the people. THIS IS WRONG.

Steve: If you want to see the underground foreign economy operating come to Sonora or other border states. You will also see a vast Mexican underground economy. Sometimes I wonder how the cxuntry exists.I read somewhere(Mexico Business?) where half of all income goes unreported. How is it possible ? You mentioned laws in one of your postings. My experience has been that Mexico has laws and regulations to cover almost all possibilities, BUT they are enforced haphazardly. If the tax inspector wants to do an audit -Mordida. Ditto the buildinginspector, health inspector, etc. How can the country get ahead with all this pulling them down?? Agoverment’s first responsibility is the protection of the people be it protection from invaders or the well being of the citizens. How is this possible when chaos infects the very government that is to protect the people? But I digress. Enough politics and philosophy. How about some other people in this group posting with some different angles on these subjects? From reading other postings many of you have a wealth of experience in Mexico. Later: marvin

Re: reply to working in Mexico

Posted by Bruce Cobb on November 11, 1996

I think I may have messed up the last message. Hope not. I think that when I posted my first message, no one (certainly not me) thought that this would be so thought provoking. My reponse, Great! My only problems at this time is that I will be gone for aprox. 3 weeks and will not be able to keep up with this. It is my intention for me and my lovely bride, Connie, to move to Mexico in a year or less. How exactly we are going to support ourselves is up in the air at this time but — we shall do it. We have both been in people serving positions for a long long time and I am sure that no matter what we do this won’t change. What has the Mexforum done for us? A Lot! The fact
that there are thinking people out there is always refreshing and “all” the comments from everyone has been extremely well taken by me. I look forward to much more on this and other equally important subjects and before too long I will be communicating from Mexico. Where? This I don’t know yet. Colima is a possibility but so far who knows? Everyone who has commented on this has made alot of sense. (how come we are not running the world?) Anyway, I am going to be packing for the next couple of hours but will check back to see if there are anymore responses. Regards……Bruce.


Re: We agree on one thing

Posted by steve on November 11, 1996

Steve: If you want to see the underground foreign economy operating come to Sonora or other border states.

I don’t know much about the broder states but it does sound logical that there would be more underground economies happening there.

Enough politics and philosophy. How about some other people in this group posting with some different angles on these subjects? From reading other postings many of you have a wealth of experience in Mexico.

Later: marvin

* This last paragraph I agree wholeheartedly with you.

We have gone far enough with this and need some more input. I have enjoyed the discussion and want to thank you for your ideas and thoughts. Steve

Published or Updated on: November 7, 1996 by Discussion Thread Forum © 2009
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