It was in the spring of 2006 that I came to the conclusion we were heading for an economic crisis.
I came to that conclusion on the basis of some readings from the US socialist movement, notably the Monthly Review magazine, which I had become acquainted with when living in Toronto in 2002.
I wasn’t exactly sure of when it would burst, or how severe.
Of course, there’s always more to the story, personal matters, reflections on where I was and where I wanted to be.
2007 Decision – 2008 Retooling
It was in 2007 that I decided I would leave Bermuda and go back to school for retraining. A couple of things happened rather simultaneously in that year, personally and politically, which, along with my belief in the coming economic crisis, led to such a decision.
One of the key political events was my attempt to become a candidate for the PLP, to contest constituency #8, Smith’s South. That constituency was/is an OBA stronghold (at the time a UBP stronghold), but it was the constituency I lived in, and I worked just across the constituency border.
I knew I was unlikely to win, but I believed strongly in a sort of localism, of representing the immediate community that I lived in, even if it was going to be a difficult contest. That’s one of the primary reasons I chose to run in constituency #20 for the 2012 election, as it is the constituency I currently consider myself to be resident in (when on-island).
I lost that opportunity, to be a PLP candidate there, under what I consider rather suspicious circumstances within the branch.
I don’t plan to go into specifics there, but it was this situation that was one of the two main catalysts in my decision to retool during the upcoming economic crisis.
I figured that I had exhausted attempts to be actively involved in local politics at that time, that at that moment there was little to keep me in Bermuda, and that, with the crisis coming, it would be wise to go back to university, to get new skills and position myself to emerge from the crisis better off than I was going in.
Underestimating the Crisis
Based on my readings, of the then coming crisis, I expected a two to three year crisis, from 2008 to 2010/2011.
I set out a three-year plan accordingly. I would go and get a Masters degree in Economics or Conservation Biology first, then a second Masters degree in Planning or Policy. I would also try and get a years experience in a new field (which these new skills would open up for me).
After that, I figured the crisis would be over and that my new skills and subsequent experience would have opened up global opportunities for me. I saw myself either returning to Bermuda, or getting further experience overseas, perhaps in Canada, the UK or south-east Asia.
I had little idea if I’d be able to do the above.
Financially speaking I had some savings, but not enough.
Armed with the vision of this three-year plan though, I was motivated to find a solution, and I was fortunate enough to receive funding through scholarships, without which I would not have been able to execute my plan.
The plan itself, once I had the financial help from the scholarships, went much better than I expected. I was able to get the two Masters degrees I set out to get, as well as gain a year of experience in between.
What didn’t go according to plan, however, was the continuation of the economic crisis.
I emerged from my three-year plan better-skilled, more experienced, but without the opportunities I had expected from a presumed economic recovery.
Like many others, be they newly graduated undergrads, or post-grads like myself (including those who sought to ride out the crisis retooling) I graduated onto an uncertain social and economic future.
In a follow-up post to this I will examine more the potential for a lost decade, prospects of recovery and prospects for further crisis, as well as looking at the possible social and economic consequences for Bermuda.