Should I work in the US or the UK? - which pays best?

Kieren Diment diment at
Tue Dec 13 22:05:41 GMT 2011

On 14/12/2011, at 8:01 AM, Simon Wistow wrote:

> ---------------
> The Politics
> ---------------
> This is somewhat related to point below but, to be frank, the politics 
> out here scare the bejesus out of me. I realise that everything in the 
> UK and the rest of Europe aren't exactly peaches and ice cream at the 
> moment but watching the entire spectrum of poltical discourse and 
> manouvering out here makes we want to hide under the duvet until the bad 
> people go away. Neither of the political sides seems in anyway based in 
> anything I would casually refer to as "Reality".
> Part of this is because I can't vote. Disenfranchisement and the ensuing 
> sense of lack of control (yes, yes - believing that whether I vote for 
> the puppet on the left hand or the puppet on the right hand has any 
> control is an illusion that I cling to for succor) is unnerving. I'm 
> actually ok with not being able to vote unless I'm a citizen - I don't 
> think it's an unreasonable requirement - but it's still unnerving.

It annoyed me that before my wife was an australian citizen, she couldn't vote.  I on the other hand as a former permanent resident in the UK got to vote over there, and had the pleasure of voting for Alistair Darling, and against Michael Forsyth (back in the dark days of the post-Thatcher era).  Over here we have compulsory voting which is one of the few things that fills me with a glow of patriotic pride, especially as it's not terribly rigorously enforced (just enough to work reasonably well).

> ---------------
> Uncanny Valley
> ---------------
> I will never fit in here. I will never be an American. I don't have the 
> right base level of shared cultural memories and semiotics. The music 
> and toys and tv shows and memes and clothes and developmental 
> touchstones and rituals that my friends bathed in growing up are 
> profoundly different from mine. It would be slightly better, maybe, if 
> they were more different and completely alien but they seem oddly 
> familiar (perhaps from watching American movies and tv shows) but also 
> somehow unnervingly unfamiliar. 

I agree rather here.  I went to an American International School for a while, and compared to everyone else (the french, the australians, the kiwis, the dutch, the poles), the Americans were really odd and much more insular than the rest.  Maybe that's because rather than foreign aid workers they were generally oil company employees kept in gated communities.  But the British and French commercial operations didn't seem to enforce that lifestyle on their staff.

> Out here I will always be different. People will always ask about my 
> accent (which many seem to think is Australian for some reason).

As an australian who spent some of my childhood near london, I have trouble discriminating between some variants of london accents and australian accents.  On the other hand, I have a really good ear for british regional accents.  So anyway, given that australia and SF are relatively close, and there are a lot of 'straylians working in SF, I can see this is very plausible.

More disturbingly, in Australia there's a general tendency for people to mistake scottish accents for irish ones.  Having lived in scotland for 8 years, and being married to a scottish lady, I find it exceptionally disturbing that after 12 years back in australia, there are some variants of scottish and irish accent that I now have trouble discriminating between.

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