This week finds me in New York and away from my family–twice. NYC for three days, home for three days, and then back to NYC again. Why didn’t I just stay put for the whole week? (Indeed, after multiple travel delays, I’ve been asking myself the same question…)
However, I wanted to see my family. Staying in touch on the road is always a challenge. And so, I was glad to run across this article–albeit a very short one–from About.com with tips on communicating with family members while traveling. As How to Stay in Touch with Family explains, tech tools like Skype and webcams make it a lot easier to feel connected.
One international lawyer supposedly raced back to her hotel every night to read her children bedtime stories via webcam. A perfect solution it is not, but it certainly helps.
International business travel doesn’t have to be 100% business, as discussed by Owen Wild in a recent Inc.com post. Taking the time to see some sites (even if you have to tack on a day at the beginning or end) can make any business trip less burdensome. When I practiced law, I tried to arrive at my destination in advance of my meetings–unless I attended a closing, in which case I tacked on a day at the end of the trip.
If you are traveling with colleagues and/or clients, use the trip to build rapport. Owen Wild notes, ”working in a strange city can be a real team-building experience.” Realize that although you are probably very comfortable spending time in another culture, the same may not be true of your colleagues and clients. Use your international savvy to make their trip more comfortable, “translating” and managing cultural differences for them. For example, prepare them in advance for any cultural nuances in negotiation styles that may occur during upcoming meetings.
Be sure to ease your clients’ and colleagues’ concerns with some cultural hand holding. After a day’s meetings, discuss the cultural differences over dinner. This will increase their comfort level, build rapport and again highlight your value as a culturally savvy attorney.
Did you prick up your ears this week when fellow lawyer Andrew Speaker was caught traveling internationally with drug resistant TB? (He was a personal injury lawyer; I like to think that an international lawyer wouldn’t have done that!) Speaker’s trip contravened the World Health Organization’s Guidelines for Prevention and Control: Tuberculosis and Air Travel.
Before you travel abroad, minimize your risk of infection. Check the World Health Organization’s website for the latest information on communicable diseases throughout the world, and tips for reducing your exposure risk.
International lawyers know the pros and cons of international travel. There’s not much glamour or comfort in flying all night on a full plane, even if you fly first class. However, savvy travelers sometimes opt to buy three or four adjoining economy class seats, enabling them to stretch out and sleep much better than the first or business class travelers. Yesterday’s Financial Times discusses this topic in “The ups and downs of flying lateral class”.
The internet can be deceptively effective. Many lawyers wanting new jobs, including international law jobs, rely on the internet (or remote head hunters) to find new positions.
However, if you’re having trouble finding a job abroad, or if you are interested in a non-traditional law job abroad, buy a plane ticket and get going. A Trip Abroad Can Help You Win a Job by The Wall Street Journal’s CareerJournal.com points out many advantages of job hunting in person in a foreign location including: the kindness of strangers, more powerful networking, understanding local markets (and acceptable salaries), and even “dumb luck”.
And, don’t give up easily. As the article points out, patience–and perhaps multiple trips abroad–are often required.