Is it worth it?

Warning: Angry Rant ahead

So this island is on the verge of making me ask myself the question that I fear the most, Is it worth it? Is it worth staying here any longer when neither the job prospects are getting better nor is my life quality gonna match those who come here with expat packages.

After four years of toiling around with Taiwanese managers and leaders, what I get offered is 70k with a minute bonus of one month. This is after I consider myself to be having good command in Mandarin , basic proficiency in Spanish and a native English speaker(or shall I say “was” since my English has gone downhill rapidly in the last couple of years).

Asking and discussing my new employment terms with locals , All what I hear is hao hao, which makes me even more petrified. Seems that the locals have literally no aspiration and are so easily to be content with peanuts thrown at them. This in turn makes me realize, there is no hope here and eventually, sooner or later I need to leave! And if it’s sooner or later, then what am I waiting for?

60k/70k/80k…I mean for a lot of Taiwanese, this figure might get you a lot of 翻白眼/rolling eyes or being called “the arrogant/greedy” 老外 who is making a mockery of nearly the 80% of Taiwanese population who can just dream to reach this figure. But again, all this rather than making me feel good about myself, puts me in a further dilemma regarding Taiwan. Will people ever get the fire in their belly to realize how little they’re earning or how far is the world already ahead?

My god, I am so frustrated as I write this, sitting next to me are people whom I can never talk on the same frequency/mental level , whom I can never even expect to have a mature headed conversation or even talk about anything else than K-Pop/Japan Travel/ What to buy from Europe/outlet and all that bull shit about which I do not give a flying penis!!

So let’s finish this off since I am still gonna join my new job and within 2-3 months, start castigating myself for still being here and earning shit when my friends are close to making six figure salaries back home and abroad.

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Did somebody tell you that if you hung around long enough, this place would turn into Des Moines or Melbourne or Leeds?
If so, you may want to find them and have some harsh words with them.

Otherwise, as Grandaddy Rocket used to say:
Don’t let the door hit ya
Where the Good Lord split ya

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At least you’re cognizant of the problem. Maybe it’s time to head home for a refresher course. On a more serious note, if you’re really that dissatisfied, it probably is time to move on.

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This is after four years… imagine after 20.

Follow your gut before you get married and can’t leave The Island AKA Hotel California. First, decide what you want, then go get it and do not rest until you get it the way you want it.

It is only worth it if it is what you want.

Spanish 成語: Sarna con gusto no pica, y si pica no mortifica
If you get the mange doing something you like, it won’t itch, but if it does, it won’t bother you

Leave man because it’s very unlikely to change fundamentally. Take the hit now.

The other problem is that if you manage to score yourself a sweet high paying gig the problem is that when you lose that gig it can be REALLY hard to find another one in Taiwan. That’s the stuff that really pisses me off. My colleagues in Singapore just across the street for a new job half the time.

And yes Taiwan really is a career dead end for most with shit pay and shit learning and work environment. It’s got pretty much NOTHING going for it in the work department (almost two decades in Taiwan…still here because of family and having worked out a good work situation for the job I do…not for the ‘friendly’ co workers).

I’m just intrigued by this ‘flying penises’ phenomenon. The things they’re inventing these days, I dunno, back in my day penises were pretty much land-based. But I guess that’s progress for you.

As Icon said, it depends what you want, innit? If you want to earn six figures then I guess you know how and where to get it.

Me, I’m seriously considering a similar move because (a) my salary is paid in a now-worthless currency and (b) I just don’t enjoy what I do anymore. I stay in Taiwan because I like it here, but sometimes we all need a change of scenery. No point whining about it: just get out there and do it.

It’s like marriage
If you ever lose your respect for your partner it’s time to go

The question is what you would do instead, and where. I see bubbles and fragility all over the world right now. There is a certain illusion of prosperity in the West, but it’s just that: an illusion. Many places haven’t solved any fundamental issues since 2008. The others that weren’t really affected then (e.g. my home country of Australia) pretended like 2008 never happened to anyone else and certainly won’t ever happen to them. Many people in the West are in for a very rude awakening when the rug gets pulled out from them. I think that’s going to be 2017, 2018 at the latest. There is going to be an absolute bloodbath (could be a literal one in some places, particularly in Europe!) when this happens.

All is not rosy in Taiwan by any stretch of the imagination, and I’d hate to be an employee here, but Taiwan does have some things going for it. The cost of living is still relatively low, there is pretty good social cohesion here, it’s safe, etc.

The problem in Taiwan is that everything has been on a slow and steady slide for ages with no prospect of change on the horizon. It feels like bleeding to death. Conversely, in the West, it is going to feel like blowing up (let’s hope not literally, though there has been plenty of that also). Sometimes, it’s worth bleeding a little but being the last man standing. I wouldn’t make my move to the West unless I felt pretty certain about my own prospects. I’m planning to make my own move back to the West in a few years when it’s all hit the fan and I can clean up, but I’m probably starting from a different position and have different objectives to you. Even still, I’d hate to be an employee in the West when this one goes off; as such, I think that if you can kind of grin and bear it, Taiwan is still a better option in the short term, though in the medium to long term, I have absolutely no hope for this country, which is why I intend to leave by then.

Not sure about other parts of Asia or the rest of the world.


it took you 4 years to figure out taiwan was a career dead end for foreigners? better late than never i guess.

Don’t you already have the answer?

I’m not saying that Taiwan’s money is good (well who would?) but a) a very large chunk of the Taiwanese population do not earn the shit money, they have their own business or stuff like that, There’s a reason why expensive things tend to have a large market here, and b) I really doubt the notion that “the rest of the world is ahead”. Those that are ahead were always ahead, those that were behind mostly stay behind.

And Idk about you but the shit money is all what people talk about in my circle, so I think most people know how pathetic the situation is, but what can we do? Other than leaving, I don’t see a solution.

I don’t think Taiwanese dollar was ever non-worthless, it’s always been a shite currency. If anything it is actually worth a bit more now as lots of major currencies have gotten so much weaker (EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD etc.), while NTD mostly stays the same.

I’m guessing Finley’s talking about GBP? I could be wrong though.
It could be something else like Mexican pesos or Zimabawean Dollars or Tortilla Chips?

We’ve repeated this thread for many years here. Some people have managed to score gigs where they’ve learned new industries and done well, either setting up those own businesses or moving on to work for better paying companies or organizations. So the OP should think about if the new job is getting him a foot in the door into something he likes. Otherwise move on.
You can always come back to the land of hope and opportunity. I know many people who left Taiwan moved back to the West (with partners or not), might have taken them a couple of years but they are doing very well back there now. Some came back again but most NEVER came back even for a visit.

The problem I have is that I could move other Asian countries but what benefit do I get from it in many cases?
China is just not a nice place to live.
Japan would be nice for a while but definitely a gaijin there.
Korea isn’t a bad option for younger folk but work may kill you. HOng Kong is pretty cool for some, just need the high pay to compensate. Also quite polluted these days.
Malaysia and Singapore are definitely options. Philippines is a disaster zone. Thailand is getting much better but also issues like transportation and decent jobs in particular hard to get.
Vietnam is pretty awesome in parts but still developing country.

Australia and New Zealand great countries but arse end of nowhere and relatively hard to get a visa to work there.
Taiwan is like a comfy chair that worn out but fits just right and I can’t think of a better place to park my butt in the region. Depends what you are into and your personal circumstances.

The problem many people forced to work a job for a living face in Taiwan is that there are international companies so it’s hard to get on a well paid career track. There are tonnes of ‘international’ Taiwanese companies but they don’t promote foreigners much and they pay shit compared to true multinationals and offer very few routes to advancement. They also don’t have the easy brand catchet on the CV.

I guess the last problem is there’s no buzz and hasn’t been for a long time. Everybody should get a chance to enjoy the $$$ and fun of an irrationally exuberant economy one time in their life!!!

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GBP, tortilla chips, what’s the difference? :slight_smile:

I would be quite happy to be paid in NTD, because I spend (and get taxed in) NTD.

I’m also quite happy that there’s no “buzz”. I’ve lived through a few “buzzes” in my lifetime and they’re not all they’re cracked up to be.


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Well GBP is still worth more than euro. I would hardly call that worthless.

Btw Idk why people here seem to know lots of people who only talk about KPOP and JPOP and stuff like that. I only know like 3 people who are like that.

Have you considered requesting payment in Bitcoin or precious metals, just for the kekz? (e.g.

I’m half serious, half not. At the very least, if you could get away with it, it might be fun to troll your boss and ask him to pay you in Chinese Silver Pandas. It might be even funnier to try to spend them in Taiwan.

Depending on what you do you can make more than that. Also after you do the math on the cost of living and tax on a relatively modest salary here it can be competitive with a bigger salary at home.

For example a take home salary of 100,000 NT in New Taipei has the same purchasing power as 165,000 NT in Dublin Ireland. (As per That is 58,000 Euro per annum take home. That would put you ahead of 2/3 of all households in Ireland.

^Eh I don’t buy numbeo at all. The statistics are fishy.

For example, it says that the average net salary in Taipei is about 67000, which is possible as it’s only Taipei City. The problem is that it says people in Seoul, Amsterdam, Vienna etc. make the same money, which sounds like bullshit.

[quote=“Gain, post:13, topic:157755, full:true”]
Well GBP is still worth more than euro. I would hardly call that worthless. [/quote]
The only exchange rate that matters to me is NTD:GBP. The pound now stands at 50% of its high in the mid-2000s. Since I’m only employed part-time, I’m now earning about the same as a 25-year-old Taiwanese blue-cubicle dweller. Plus, he gets to play with facebook all day and I don’t.

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[quote=“finley, post:17, topic:157755, full:true”]

On the plus side, you don’t have to sit in a cubicle for 8 or 9 hours a day looking at people’s pet and kid photos on Facebook and watching Korean dramas.

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You got the gig when it was 60 ntd to the GBP? Sweet times.
I worked for a British outfit for a few years and it was down to 52 and then 47. That hurt and I had to renegotiate my salary and still couldn’t get it all back.
Now it’s what, 39-49. That’s a big hit but you had those good times for many years while many of us were making NTD. This decade though the NTD has been an incredibly steady currency…while others have fluctuated hugely including yen and the won!
(I’m positive today cos I got my 13th month pay so looks especially good haha).

I sit in my cubicle and translate Taiwanese dramas. How’s that for a living? :runaway:

Honestly, I don’t know how they do it. I type my life away and I am not making much progress on the workload. I post here as a reward when I finish a pile. In my previous incarnation I had no time for Forumosa… if it existed at that time. :grandpa: