Starting a new job can be stressful in itself, what with dealing with unfamiliar situations, getting to know new people, as well as learning how to navigate office politics. Overseas contract workers (OCWs) will have it doubly so. Being in a new country is special, but it’s easy when you’re a tourist who knows that you will be home in just a short while. OCWs need to stay the length of their contracts. And to add to that, you have to deal with new (or several) cultures, learn how to respect new customs, and steer your way within potentially perilous workers’ cliques.
How to Survive a New Job Overseas
1. Read up and listen to advise
You won’t know how different your world is from the rest of it until after you’ve travelled and have been immersed in a different culture. Not knowing what to expect beforehand can be hard on you and may worsen any homesickness you will feel. Read up on local customs and culture so that you will know how to act in certain situations. Talk to others who have had work experiences in that country and ask for their advice.
2. Keep your wits about you
In the wild, animals survive by being constantly aware of their surroundings. There are a lot of things that you can learn just by observing people’s interactions. Take your cue from them, but proceed with caution. One of my friends didn’t know that the group she joined had a reputation of being Mean Girls. She became a part of that group and was consequently labelled as such. It’s something that you want to avoid for sure.
3. Always be respectful of others
Discords can’t be avoided as they are part of being human. We can disagree but we should always be respectful. An easy way of accepting another person’s point is looking at where he is coming from. What are his underlying needs? What does he want to hear from you or see you do? Can you meet him at least halfway? Compromising doesn’t mean that you are surrendering, it just means that you are the bigger person.