The curse of monkey island

The inspiration to the topic of the very first blog post after my revival of this site comes from one of my colleagues that yesterday in a temporary moment of frustration screamed out “how can I work on this monkey island?”. The exact reason to this outrage has disappeared from my memory, but I think that a guess not far away from the truth is somewhat related to the fact that Internet is not always very stable here. This made me start to think of Gibraltar as a place to live and work. This led to the conclusion that indeed there is a curse over this country.

In order to better understand the reference to the name “monkey island” one have to go back to the number one thing that people do know about this country, which is that there are wild monkeys living here. Related to that the number one thing people do not know here is that the country belongs to UK but for some reason the list of things people do not know are much more extensive. These monkeys are actually not only a positive thing that bring in tourists, but it can often be a real obstacle for the people living here. For instance my son is not always allowed to go out to play time in school as the monkeys are currently there raiding the school yard in hunt for the kid’s lunchboxes.

Apes enjoying the view of Gibraltar Bay from Charles V wall in March 2011.

The curse is that it is too easy to make friends down here. Even though the native Gibraltarians in general are a somewhat closed community the very international environment makes the social life very interesting. It is more of a rule than an exception for me to go out and meet other people here to an extent that never happened in Sweden, and it seems like you tend to become really close friends with many of the persons you meet here. It might be due to shared interests like poker or the whole relocation factor, but I have not even lived here a full year. Still I have managed to get to know some amazing people that I am proud to call my friends.

The reason to this being a curse is the simple reason that Gibraltar is not a life long destination for most people, not even those being born here. Those being born here seem to regularly move away for at least parts of their life. If not more far away so at least to Spain. For many others Gibraltar is a starting point for their career. Most often in any of the many customer service related roles that are available for people from most parts of the world. Still these people often goes on with their life after a couple of years.

For other, like myself and most of the senior managers at this company this is the next step in the career. A place where the experience we have previously gathered comes into the bigger picture and are used to improve some of the companies that are already existing here. Especially in the gaming industry there is a dramatic change currently with completely new market conditions where it is no longer enough to be able to say that you know how to play poker in order to run a company. For other Gibraltar is even the end destination. There are a lot of people living here after they have retired. Partly because of tax reasons, but more often to enjoy the last years in life in a much nicer climate.

However, this also means that all these friends you make, and these very skilled colleagues that you learn to respect and work together with at one point are very likely to move away to progress with their life and careers. And by doing so they slowly fades out from your life as you cannot meet often enough. Not many manages to keep their relation when being thousands of kilometers away from each other, even though I know some exceptions. So that my friends, is the true curse of Gibraltar, the monkey island.

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