Category Archives: Off Topic

5 Reasons to Accept an Expat Assignment

Let’s face it, the West in the doldrums. High unemployment, high inflation, social and political unrest and ailing infrastructure are all common features and will be for the foreseeable future according to many analysts. Western governments won’t admit it but there is an analysis paralysis of what to do to turn economic fortunes around. In particular, the economic uncertainty in the UK is now an increasing factor why many British residents are opting to pack their bags in return for a brighter future overseas. Here are five reasons why you might choose to accept that overseas job offer:

The economy :

A lack of investment, stagnant job creation and an ailing industrial sector are causing alarm bells to ring in key government and business circles. The cost of doing business in the UK has gone up considerably with fuel costing companies a fortune and as a result many energy intensive industries are suffering substantially. Tata Steel for example has not made a profit in Europe for several years and SABIC Europe, backed by its Saudi parent is scaling back operations in the UK just to stay competitive.  Also, the UK has one of the highest levels of personal household debt in the world. If things don’t improve, many companies will disappear altogether.

Socio – political issues:

The immigration debate in the UK is fuelling multiple issues on both sides of the fence including an increased hostility towards immigrants and certain religious  groups , rise of far right groups, and a growing sentiment in public that immigration needs to be controlled. Some analysts have even linked immigration with the financial pressures facing the NHS and public services. Whilst that is anecdotal, a rising population has added to operational pressures on the NHS with the institution facing a staffing crisis and serious reputational damage due to a number of high profile failings across hospitals in the UK which continue to undermine confidence in the NHS. Education too is facing significant challenges with the cost of going to college/university rising and more and more school leavers thinking twice about whether to be saddled with a lifetime of debt or take up an apprenticeship or start their own business. The UK will fail to produce quality talent that companies in the UK so badly need if the rising cost of higher education is not addressed.

Creaking infrastructure:

A common question the UK tax payer is asking is “where is our money being spent?” Poor quality roads, ageing rail infrastructure and a lack of housing are putting pressure on the Government to reduce the deficit but at the same time making vital investment that is required to sustain thriving, modern cities. A report commissioned by housing charity Shelter stated that young people now need to save money for 30 years in order to put down a deposit for a house. This all does not bode well for future generations, and will lead to a disenfranchised electorate.

Better career opportunities:

Go east if you want better career opportunities and an improved quality of life. Ask many expats and that’s probably what they will tell you. The east is creating more jobs and at a faster rate, and governments are spending freely on infrastructure which has created stupendous levels of economic growth.  For example, it is believed that the GCC’s current rail infrastructure project will spawn a whole new railway services industry in the Middle East. Similarly, rising populations in the GCC region have spawned a growing healthcare industry in the region. If you choose to work in a tax free country like the UAE, Saudi Arabia or Qatar you have the opportunity to save money either through salary or bonuses (which still exists in the current climate), something that is otherwise a struggle in the UK.

The weather:

This year March was one of the coldest months in living memory and weather experts have recently declared that British summers are likely to be wet for the next decade.  British weather is and will be unpleasant for many years to come. This is not good news for people who like a bit of sunshine in their lives, and want to stay healthy.

Cultural exposure:

After spending several wonderful years in Dubai, the cultural experience was vast. What I learnt during my time living and working there is that now I have a better appreciation for and understanding of different cultures. Dubai is a melting pot of cultures where east and west co – exist peacefully. In a business, context, I have now become a more globally minded individual – having a better understanding of how business is conducted in a global hub like Dubai. Culture has certainly enriched my life.

The decision to accept an overseas job offer can be a daunting one for most. Some people like a sense of adventure and don’t think twice about making a move whilst others remain conservative about such a prospect. Whatever you decide to do though, make sure it makes financial sense for you and above all take your time to figure out whether or not you are comfortable living and being part of another country. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Holiday etiquette… before you leave the office

Reclama la Bounty: Mare, soare, cocotier

It’s surprising and disappointing that people do not know how to enjoy and relax on their holidays. They take their work mobiles with them, deliberately do not activate their out of office assistant yet tell their secretaries to tell anybody who asks for them that they are on holiday. Does that count as a holiday? It is acceptable that for some professions being available, 24-7 is unavoidable, but there should be limits. Holidays are for people to de-stress, and forget about the work. Your ‘me’ time is your own, with family, friends. Holidays are part of your employment contract, and they are for your benefit. There is no benefit to you if you are busy checking your work emails on the hotel sun lounger. But there are still ways you can both enjoy your holiday and keep up with work if you have to.

Use the Out of Office Assistant Properly – Do not just use the Out of Office to say that you are not going to be in the office. If you are going to a business meeting, say that you are going to a meeting, and tell others your schedule if need be so that they can call you at the appropriate time.

Specify Emergency Contact Details – If your company in a business emergency needs you and you are not carrying your work mobile with you, have a system in place that tells the company how to reach you should the worse happen.

Complete Pending Work – Try to complete any outstanding tasks before you go on your holiday. Do not leave any unfinished business. Even if you do, try to delegate to keep the momentum going so that projects stay on track. This way, your mind will be clear, and you will be safe in the knowledge that you have things under control.