The Insider's Guide To Job Search
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And Cultural Expectations
by Kevin T.
Newcomers to the industry who have experience overseas
discover quickly that corporate expectations can
conflict with cultural values and expectations. In some
cultures there is great emphasis placed on returning to
the home country for extended visits as a sign of
respect to one's elders. The desire and need to make
these visits can run up against corporate performance
expectations and realities.
As recruiters we see people who are accustomed to making
visits of 3 or more weeks overseas and sometimes
expecting employers to honour these requirements as a
condition of accepting an employment offer. Very few
employers will extend themselves in this regard and so
good career opportunities are lost as individuals seek
that one employer who will agree to the arrangement.
The corporate reality is that employers consider these
requests to be unreasonable. In freight forwarding,
extended vacation times are usually broken up into 2
week segments at most due to the need for coverage in a
dept. or of one's duties or desk. It creates an
imbalance in the dept when one person is gone for 3
weeks or more especially in a critical area.
There tends to be a more relaxed approach to taking
vacations in foreign countries than there is in North
America. Here, the emphasis is on establishing relations
with an employer through creating value for them over
time before special requests are made.
It is important to remember this in negotiating with a
potential employer. Employers sometimes have corporate
policies set by management in order to create fairness
for all employees. If you have specific vacation plans,
it is very important to bring this to the attention of a
potential employer before you get to an offer being
made. Otherwise, your assuming that an employer will
agree to your request can result in wasting your time
and effort in pursuing the opportunity.
One option is to negotiate an agreement whereby you take
time off before you start with the new employer ( an
extended resignation ) to attend to family travel
obligations. The other option is to seek a compromise
with the employer by asking about time-off without pay
within the time frame that you need for your extended
Above all, do not make this sort of request for an
extended vacation to happen within say the first
six-months of employment with the company. That will
very likely be a deal breaker for the employer.
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