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7 Things You Need to Keep in Mind Before Accepting a Job in Foreign Country

7 Things You Need to Keep in Mind Before Accepting a Job in Foreign Country
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If you are embarking on an international experience for the sake of your career, take a deep breath and fire up your thinking pistons. No matter how fantastic the new job sounds, the fact is that it is going to be a pick-and-shovel experience nonetheless.

In your mind, you may know that you have that dynamic personality that makes you ideal for the novel experience of working in another country. But be sure to evaluate all these factors before you commence this venture, as it will impact both you and your family as well.

Here are some useful ideas for those looking to pursue their future in foreign countries with an intention of leading much more fulfilling and stable lives.

1. Familiarize Yourself With Cultural And Social Differences

It is highly crucial to understand the cultural, economic and working mandates of the country in which you are intending to pursue your career. Aptly prepare yourself for living outside your comfort zone, as a long term experience fraught with challenges lies ahead.

Keep yourself open to the new environment and be alert at all times. Learning everything from how to greet locals to how you spend time on a local holiday, to respecting religious events, is going to be a demanding experience.

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However, it could get equally fascinating and enjoyable depending on how curious and motivated you are about this rewarding journey. To truly assimilate into the new surroundings, you will have to observe and understand the new culture and its customs, which may either be more conservative or more liberal compared to your own.

Despite the fact that you have done your homework regarding the climate and timings, there are many mechanics of the process to master such as visa policies, accommodations, passport validities etc. For such information, it is always beneficial to interact with other expats through social media, expat forums and taking full advantage of electronic media. However, the best way is still to actually go out into your new habitat and mingle, all the while taking in the cultural concoction, from its heritage to its traditions.

2. Combating the Communication Barrier

Expressing yourself is an immensely important part of the process. You will need to interact with the locals on a daily basis for things as small as asking directions and shopping for groceries. Learning the language of a foreign country – at least on a basic level – should be one of your prime goals.

Give it a shot using books, media or even through intensive courses being offered. Being able to communicate will make your life easier and less frustrating. It will also help to boost your confidence in general, as communication is one of the fundamental needs of any human.

Citing my own experience, learning a new language during my time abroad for higher studies made me truly believe that language should not be taken for granted, especially when planning to work where there exists a linguistic transition. This will also sit well with your new co-workers and maybe even your boss who will appreciate you going the extra mile.

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3. How Secure Are You In The New Country?

Definitely, your intentions behind this life-changing step are to lead a more cherished and prosperous life. You can not jeopardize your life for the sake of a higher income or a triumphant future. Be clear about the political situation and stability of the country where you are headed.

Gather all relevant information about the place, the city, where your residence is located and where your work area will be. Find out what kind of help your company offers regarding insurance, health benefits, employee security and what happens when you want to retire, to ensure that the organization truly cares for its employees. Other common tips to remain safe include being careful about keeping an eye on your bag while walking in public places and avoiding dark places after dark.

Remembering the time I went on an expedition for my science project to Romania last year, I decided not to take any valuable ornaments after hearing stories about jewelry snatchers on the streets. I think that kept me mentally relaxed and focused on my work.

4. Overall Impact On Your Career

Don’t get overly excited about being offered an overseas work opportunity. Hopefully, it will do wonders for your CV, expanding horizons for your ever-growing future. But, you need to get your homework done before making any rash decisions.

Talk to yourself about what you are getting into and why you are getting into it, especially if you are accepting the offer for the sake of money (as employers usually offer better pay and benefits packages for overseas assignments). Ask yourself whether it will truly all be worthwhile. Will it really enhance your skills as you imagine, are you simply risking everything for the sake of traveling or to add an overseas assignment to your LinkedIn profile to make it more eye-catching? Be sure to evaluate the risks and benefits involved.

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5. Work and Health Authorization

Be aware of the fact that not everyone can work in the host country. Your employer should be you in touch with HR or an advisory company to provide assistance and guidance with respect to obtaining a work permit. If your employer does not provide such assistance, search for a relevant consultant or attorney.

Find out whether your employer provides health insurance and how you would go about obtaining dental and medical care when working outside your native country. Knowing this and sharing that information with your family will become extremely critical in times of emergencies. Health can be unpredictable, so make sure your insurance policy is valid where you will be living and when you are traveling through other countries.

6. Employer-Sponsored Preparation and Acclimation Training

Primary reasons for the failure of an assignment abroad

    Good employer-sponsored preparation and acclimation programs offer essential training that employees and their families need to live successfully overseas. Customized training that focuses on local business practices and cultural norms begins prior to the employee being sent overseas. Frequently this training is supplied by experienced language translation services that provide first-hand knowledge of housing, shopping, healthcare, education and other information needed for general daily life.

    Once the family is located in the destination country, they receive more comprehensive training that helps them to assimilate. Most assimilation programs assign individual family members to mentors who provide counseling in specific areas of need.

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    6. Moving Back Home

    “Never forget your roots“ is a saying that seems to be tailor made in its context for the people seeking their future abroad. One day you may have to return to your country even though you may have become a citizen of the host country.

    Although you may adapt to the new cultural and working environment, one shouldn’t completely disconnect from his or her own ethical, cultural and working background, especially if he/she intends to return home. For this purpose, technology has proven to be more than a blessing. Use it to stay in touch with your friends, family, ex-colleagues, and employers. Maintain appreciation of what you have now, with a greater respect for what you left behind.

    7. You and Your Family’s Decision

    We humans are all connected with one another by one form of relationship or another. Your decisions impact those around you, especially your family members. You need to consider their opinion as they will also be affected by your choices.

    Think critically, carefully weighing the pros and cons of your decision – especially if you are the sole breadwinner of the family. If they plan to travel with you, see what flexibility the employer provides and see if you can manage within the budget you have planned.

    Featured photo credit: Do8y via c2.staticflickr.com

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    Ahmed Raza

    CEO of Samurais.co

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    Published on July 27, 2021

    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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    During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

    But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

    Put the Pro in Professional

    After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

    1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

    The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

    Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

    2. Dress the Part

    While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

    Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

    For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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    Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

    3. Stage Your Workspace

    Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

    Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

    4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

    Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

    Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

    Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

    Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

    5. Arrive on Time

    In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

    Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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    6. Turn on Your Video

    Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

    If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

    Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

    7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

    Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

    Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

    Attend to the Pesky Details

    8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

    With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

    Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

    9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

    Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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    Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

    10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

    As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

    Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

    Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

    Talking Has a Time and a Place

    11. Chat Appropriately

    Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

    At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

    12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

    The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

    Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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    13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

    In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

    Manage Yourself

    14. Minimize Distractions

    While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

    Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

    15. Save Snacking for Later

    Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

    However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

    Final Thoughts

    Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

    Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

    Reference

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