Is Working Abroad The Traveler's Dream? Not Always

If you want to see the world but you don’t always have enough cash to make those dreams a reality, then looking overseas for work can look like the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. Many people enjoy a happy experience working in a new land for a little while, and some even find their careers abroad. But before you buy into the hype of it being a golden opportunity, let’s take a look at the real potential negatives of traveling halfway across the world for a job.

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You might not know the culture and etiquette
This is most usually the case if you’re taking a job with a larger corporation overseas. For instance, if you’re following a promotion in your existing job and it takes you to a new country. You might have some help getting acclimated by working with someone from the same part of the world as you, but in most cases, you are going to be working with and for people who are from the country that you’re in. Failing to understand proper social norms and business etiquette, in particular, can lead to some particularly nasty understandings. This is especially true of working in countries like India, where an innocuous gesture, like a woman offering to shake a man’s hand, can be seen as a mark of disrespect. You don’t have to agree with the culture and etiquette of the country you’re in, but if you want to impress your boss and get on with your coworkers, you should go along with it.

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The laws can differ wildly
As a citizen of one country working abroad, you are protected by some of the labor laws you are used to, but not all of them. Laws regarding wages and hours regulated by the FLSA, for instance, don’t apply to people working overseas. This includes gender discrimination as it relates to wages. But more worryingly for some, the process of ensuring you’re not paying for workplace accidents and injuries can differ depending not just on how you work or who you work for. For instance, if you’re working for the federal state overseas, you need to get in touch with a DBA for injury while working abroad. It’s a good idea to seek a little legal advice before taking any overseas jobs. Otherwise, you could find out you don’t have the protections you thought you did.

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There are plenty of scams
Not every opportunity is as legitimate as it might seem. There are some “potential employers” who front as a business, often for the purposes of identity theft. Some of the most common scams are in teaching English as a second language, business and management positions, and the hospitality industry. As these are also some of the most common opportunities to work abroad, you should know how to avoid them.
Before you make any decision regarding your career or your finances, make sure you’re fully informed on the issue. Hopefully, the points above give you something to think about but, more importantly, help you choose a safer, happier overseas career.

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