Courting Employers from afar

I gotta say, applying to jobs abroad kind of sucks. I don’t have much experience with online dating, due to the fact that it also sucks, but from the limited amount I’ve gathered from friends and by browsing tinder nightmares, I’ve come to the conclusion that they suck quite similarly and I’m prepared to back it up. If you were one of over 10,000 eHarmony members that met your spouse through their website this year alone, my bad.

No standardization whatsoever

Some profiles are just better put together; they’ve provided good information about themselves, were written interestingly, and have plenty of pictures that aren’t just selfies. Then you’ve got profiles that only have a sentence each and force you to judge the person solely off of their looks, as well as ones written so terribly that you’re unable to even make it past the second run-on sentence.

Employment ads for international jobs end up having the same downfalls. If you have to scour through paragraphs of varying fonts to find relevant job information, they’re probably not an organized employer with streamlined management experience. If the ad is in broken English with ridiculous pragmatic errors, read through it because that shit is hilarious, although this is also an indicator of inexperience working with foreigners… despite promising a Fortune 500 sunny everyday worker living. And then, some ads have been formatted and structured to give you everything you need to know upfront and a clear view of what life will be like there, while others read professionally enough to make you confident about buying a plane ticket with your own money to wherever it is that they are. Although when it all comes down to it, writing structure really isn’t going to be what you look at if you’re going to judge a book by its cover…

First impressions boil down to a single detail

Shallow as it might be, there’s a necessary first step for each of these, regardless of whether or not most people would admit it this openly… physical and fiscal attractiveness. How do they look? Are they attractive enough to meet my friends? What’s the pay? Can I live well and save here? If these requirements aren’t met, then it won’t matter how cool they’d seemed or how cushy the job would’ve been; the offer is simply no longer on the table. Only once this initial barrier has been crossed can personalities/job details start to be explored, with concessions being made based off of just how good they look. To avoid appearing as anything but a gentleman, I’ll keep it only about jobs for the rest of this.

Well, I definitely wasn’t looking to work that much, but damn could I hammer away at my debt there

You want me to work in the desert?! Staying on an alcohol-free compound of only men?!! Wait, how much did you just say? …Oh, yea, ok, when can I start?

Teaching kindergarten students makes me want to do somersaults down stairwells, but damnnnnn look at what they’re paying.

The I’ve got personality flaws/baggage warning

Dating websites give their users full reign to express what they’re looking for, which I guess is exactly what they should be doing. How this goes wrong though comes from the fact that people are people, and some of those people have crazy shit orbiting around them that they’ve chosen to type out in a paragraphical red flag. Employment ads generally aren’t as obvious as and if you’re this type of person, don’t even bother messaging me, although depending on where you’re looking white candidates only isn’t uncommon at all.

The way employers try to not make the same mistake twice is instead within their policies. The contract clause “payment for winter holiday will be withheld/staggered until Party B has re-attended their duties at their school for X amount of time” should have a face next to it, with a big ‘ole this guy ruined it for everybody else caption underneath it. Foreigners can come and go as they please, and the more financial controls and penalties that a contract has written into it, the more previous employees of theirs had probably dipped out unexpectedly. Or this place is managed by jerks. Either way, red flag.

Safety concerns are another one, like how this one job in Indonesia I’d looked at suggested getting daily malaria medication before coming, and how an international school in Brazil had promised to put us in a very safe, gated community. Why do they emphasize that they’ll routinely rotate vehicles when driving us to and from the school? The worst by far though had come up during a phone interview with a job I’d actually almost chosen to accept; Oh, and before we proceed further, I’m legally required to inform you that in 2003, a suicide bomber had managed to gain access to our compound and kill 9 people. Don’t worry though, since then we’ve upgraded our security with Jersey gates and a second guard checkpoint. A lot of guys will tell you crazy girls are fun, and since this article is all about drawing parallels, dangerous jobs are lucrative.


“Just keep your head down and you’ll be debt free in no time, Mr. Collins”

Sending out large amounts of messages and waiting for responses

Did they get my message? Did I say the wrong thing? Am I just ugly? Did he manage to get back with that ex he couldn’t ever get over? There’s no way of reading the person you’re contacting, and communication is limited to typing alone. Applying to job ads feels the same, and I haven’t always gotten responses. Maybe they’d already found somebody, or maybe on paper I just wasn’t right for them. Perhaps that recruiter had recently quit and nobody will never even know I’d applied. A headhunter who’d been enthusiastically up my ass for several days unexpectedly dropped off the map for a week… Did he fill the spot with somebody more preferable? Did he lose the contract? Did he skim my email while driving and then forget to get back to me once he was actually free to respond? Applying from abroad has this feeling of always being kept at arm’s length, and until you’ve received a contract to potentially sign, it’s hard to count on anything. Juggling so much with preparing to move to another country, buying reasonably-priced plane tickets as far in advance as possible, and settling up your affairs wherever you currently are… it can get really stressful without a tangible offer. There is one thing to be said though, being clingy when applying internationally will get you a whole lot further than it will on tinder.

You’ll never know if you’re being cat-fished until it’s too late

Just outside the city center, assuming you’re commuting by helicopter

Enter on a tourist visa and work illegally while we attempt to process your working visa in-country.

Of course accommodation is provided, or you’re free to get your own place if you wouldn’t like living in a closet or with 7 other teachers.

Our license to legally hire foreigners is on its way, don’t you worry! Just don’t mention you work for us in the meantime if anybody asks.

Only 20 classes per week, unless we can get more students to sign up, in which you’ll need to work like a dog six days a week, because our profit matter more than your happiness

Nobody will ever be this straightforward about these unfortunately realistic and very possible scenarios. You’re at the mercy of these people’s honesty, and unless you’re able to contact current employees or find a scathing blog post forewarning any would-be applicants, then you’ll just need to have faith that you’ll be flying into a good situation. Nothing’s worse than showing up at a cafe and realizing that photo was from 3 years ago when they had actually exercised. But don’t you worry, that’s just winter weight, and living so far outside of the city that you’ll never have a social life is a great way to pay off your student loans. Perhaps this is the biggest similarity, some just want to screw you. Best of luck in your search.

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