Corporate Values  And Cultural E

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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Corporate Values  And Cultural Expectations

by Kevin T. Buckley, CPC


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 travel plans.

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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