On Line Magazine Articles
WEBOOKS June 2008
So youre going to be Living the Dream? Youve managed to land a job in a far-flung hot spot where life is going to be a beach, literally! As the count down to your departure gets ever closer you imagine yourself working tropical hours, spending afternoons on the beach, enjoying the expat life style. Right? I know its hard not to get carried away but there are a few things that you need to think about very carefully before you go.
Most International companies taking on employees to work abroad are careful to give them all the information they need on local customs, dress codes and what they can buy from which supermarkets. Im going to offer a few things up that you may not have thought about.
The first is homesickness. Dont imagine that because you are going en famile that you wont suffer from it. You will. There will be that moment as you stand outside a dusty government building trying to get a driving licence, or when you would give anything just to see a cloud in the sky, or pop down to the pub with an old mate when you will feel homesick. Its an odd feeling and I can see why it was give its name. You will not be physically sick, or I hope you wont, but you will have a feeling in your stomach akin to nausea, or dread, or a combination of both with an overwhelming feeling of sadness. But worry not, it wont last. As time goes on it lessens, mainly because the norm becomes the life you are living as an expat and the life you were living and its routines fades a bit.
Air travel is a great way of getting around literally shrinking our planet. But that 8 hour flight that gets you to the Middle East will seem like an eternity if you ever have the misfortune to have to return for a family emergency. Make sure you know who in your company deals with booking flights and getting exit visas if required for compassionate trips. If it is up to you, make sure you have the numbers you need to hand, even down to the number of a reliable taxi to get you to the airport if necessary.
Remember the expat life tends to be transitory and friends you make may last, but just as likely fade away with their next posting. Its a different life style. Think carefully before you take on a pet, there will be strays looking for a good home, but the expense of shipping a little bundle of fun home along with quarantine if the pet comes in from outside the EU can make that tender hearted moment an expensive one.
Enjoy your new life as an ex-pat but remember you are not on holiday, youre there to work and possibly to take advantage of a tax-free salary. Dont do anything to jeopardise that. It can be a great experience if you approach it correctly and a nightmare if you dont. With a few common sense measures you can have the time of your life, enjoy it!
Keep it, Simple, Honest and Confident!
So youve got that interview, the one you didnt think you had a cats chance in hell of getting, for a job that you would love. You know you can do it, but you also know youre punching a bit above your weight. Stop right there! If your CV (provided it is not fabricated) has qualified you for an interview, then you deserve it. But to get on top of this, and really stand the best chance of landing that dream job you have to think yourself into the job itself.
· Spend time imagining the day-to-day realities of the work you would have to do and not just the glamorous side, the mundane day-to-day tasks, the likely progression you could make, the ideas for improvement and advancement you could suggest.
· Look up all you can about the company you have applied to, and keep gathering information right up to the day of the interview. Dont engineer the introduction of your knowledge into the interview, but be ready to answer any salient questions with concise and confident replies based on the knowledge you have gained. Perhaps ask a question about a recently reported event around the company or on the stock market. Be careful obviously not to pick on a negative point!
· Make sure that when you answer questions you dont waffle. Waffling makes you sound unsure or woolly in your answers. If you dont know an answer dont try to guess, say you are unsure but try to turn this gap in your knowledge into an intelligent question about the point being discussed to show your interest and awareness.
· If nerves are a problem for you and you are afraid that you wont show yourself at your best, take a step back. Realise that this is not a matter of life and death; compare the stress of the interview to another stressful time in your life. You survived that didnt you? Youll survive this too! Composure and a low clear voice will help a lot with how you are perceived.
Dont be afraid not to answer a question the minute it is out of the interviewers lips. A pause for reflection and evaluation, provided it is not too long, will further give the impression of confidence and a studied approach to the interview and to work in general.
Much has been written about deportment and presentation for interview but my tried and trusted standard is to sit with hands loosely folded on your lap. Wild gesticulation and extravagant posturing have no place in a business interview. Smile slightly and of course always maintain eye contact but try to keep all other gestures to a minimum.
If you prepare yourself in this way, as though you were already doing the job, your confidence will shine through in the same way as if you were answering questions about the job you are doing at the moment. Keep it simple, honest and confident and youll soon have that job under your belt.