Thursday, June 3, 2010

#0038 Working Abroad - The Contract

The Gateway of India
About working abroad, one piece of advice: be sure and ask lots of questions.  I found out after negotiations that the work week was six, not five days, and that taxes are taken out (to be claimed when filing US Federal taxes).  The taxes I should have expected, after all, there are always taxes.  Also, when negotiating, be sure and make clear if you expect fees for your VISA and traveler's innoculations to be compensated.  After all, these are not fees you incur otherwise.  This is much better than negotiating these fees after the job is done.    (By the way, if any of my friends in Mumbai read this, I  had a great experience and am not at all unhappy.... just saying one has to be savvy, savvy?)

Business Class
Other things to remember are your travel arrangements.  I did not give it any thought, but two of my fellow travelers asked for and got business class travel.  I wanted to work on the airplane, but
my laptop would not open all the way in economy class.  They however, had plenty of room to work.  It's important.  After all, this is time you should be working for them.  You might also ask to paid for travel days, something none of my fellow trainers did.  Because I was not in business class, I also could not spend any time talking with the other members of my party on the flight.  At the airport here and in Dubai where we had a layover, I had a few minutes with them before they ducked into the Business Class Passenger lounge.  When we arrived in Mumbai, they had bags checked as Business travelers, so they were all set to go while I spent another 30 minutes hunting for my bags with the crowd.  It's not a luxury -- it's a necessity.  The delay for my bags cost me time and my companions were inconvenienced.  Time I really could have used resting for work the next morning.

When we arrived in Mumbai, fortunately, both the other guys on my plane had limos.  The host company did not consider how I, a stranger to their country, would get to my hotel at 3 am.They decided to share one and sent me in the other.  The other guys asked for it and the airline provided it with the business class experience. 

Companions in India, from left:
Lawrence Littleton, Steve Wright,
Scott Dickson, and Ken Littleton.
Keep the Party Together
Fortunately, when our party of four left Mumbai together, the Littleton brothers, Ken and Lawrence, traveling in Business Class, made sure Scott Dickson and I  checked in with them. This turned out to be a great advantage and allowed us to spend time together while waiting for the Mumbai flight home.

If you must travel economy and anyone in your party  is in a higher class, arrange to check in with them.  Economy class passengers who check in with higher class passengers will be treated as part of the group.  To avoid inconveniencing their first or business class passengers, your bags will be checked into business class.  On top of that you get to go in the short lines with your higher class companions.  You still ride economy, but at the airport, you get the higher class service (you won't get into higher fare passengers' lounges however).

Other terms can be negotiated; be sure to consider them.  A great many websites offer advice for negotiating international working contracts.  Two you may like are this article by Amanda Coggin  at Divine Caroline and another by Achim Heuser at ExpatExchange.


Dan said...

Hi Isa,

Thanks for the great info. I wasn't sure the best way to contact you directly so I sent you a message on linkedin. Great blog!