What to learn before taking up jobs abroad
Words by Francis Kahihu
The opening up of the cyberspace continues to revolutionize many sectors in the country. This is no surprise as it had been predicted that the arrival of the fiber optic caber for instance will lead to the availability of many opportunities for those savvy enough to take advantage of the emerging opportunities. One of the greatest doors that have opened up is the access to international jobs. At a time when the Kenyan economy is struggling to absorb the many graduates from the institutions of higher learning, opportunities are opening up in the neighbouring countries and in those far away. Thanks to the increasing internet access, many Kenyans can now compete for job opportunities at the global stage.
When talking about taking up jobs abroad, I basically mean taking up jobs out of Kenya. This could either be within or without Africa. As you surf the internet in search of jobs, you would realize that the stage is set for anyone across the globe to take up opportunities in virtually all sectors. We can no longer talk of job saturation in this country as the world has opened up for us to pursue our dream careers. As more people take up positions out of this country, it is helpful to mention few issues they would want to consider as they make their all important decisions.
One of the major concerns people have when seeking to take up any job is the salary applicable to the position they apply for. For overseas jobs, seek to know the salary and all accompanying benefits. These could include the housing, medical and any educational benefits. As much as the salary could be enticing, you will need to check out the cost of living in the work station where you will be located. This is helpful as you could be taking up a salary that would barely meet your most basic needs. Many people are tempted to take up jobs in foreign lands by the mere calculation of the salary in the Kenyan local currency.
You could be making much more when you convert what you will be earning in Kenya Shillings but the accompanying expenditure might make you unable to meet your obligations. Seek for advice from people living in that particular area on the average cost of living before packing your suitcase to depart to the pasture, which may not greener after all. This could include the cost of housing, medical care, transport, insurance, education and food. You will also want to be sure about the level of taxation to determine the take home salary. These have a way of sweeping the pay slip clean leaving you with only the fantasies of working in a foreign land with no monetary gains to show.
The other critical consideration that you would want to make before taking up the job abroad is the cultural orientation of the hosts. As much as humans are made to adjust to varying cultures, there are cultural practices that exert stress on human systems unless you are fully integrated. Culture includes the food, the language, the religious beliefs and practices and the dressing. Depending on a person’s level of flexibility, these can be strenuous. There are cases when people have had to travel with their food stuffs since they have found the meals in the host culture incompatible with their body systems. How great for instance would you find eating raw meat, chewing snakes for dinner, or drinking wine as part of the meal? These are critical issues that would need to be addressed before you depart.
John Mbiti in his book on African religions indicated that Africans are notoriously religious. Depending on how true this statement applies to you, it would be great for you to consider your tolerance levels on other religious beliefs so that you can psychologically prepare yourself for the experiences abroad. Cultural conflicts have been registered among the greatest challenges employees face in foreign lands.