I Interviewed my grandmother, Betty Townsend, about her experiences working overseas, and how she felt about them. Much like I have done before, I will let the interview speak for itself.
1: What was your official job position?
For the last 10 years I owned my own company.
I worked as a J. /D. Edwards consultant.
2: How often did you travel for work?
I usually left for the airport every Sunday afternoon and returned late on Thursday night.
I would work 40 hours at the client site in 4 days. On Friday mornings I would do conference calls and expense reports from my home office. Occasionally, I would sign into the client’s computer system via VPN and work from home. This did not allow interaction with the client’s personnel and they would not learn the new system, as well as if I were on site with them.
3: How did you end up traveling so much for work? Did you need any special training?
The J. D. Edwards system needed to be modified for the Fortune 500 companies’ needs. A team of us would be assembled to install the system in a test environment first. I usually was responsible for a finance (AP. AR, GL or FA) or distribution (SO, PO, IV) application(s). I would modify the standard settings as the client required. If not possible, I would write the program specifications for the change and test the change. Once the system was set up I would train the new users to use the system to achieve their needs.
I had a history of various office jobs. I also have a MBA and CPA certificates. I first learned the J./d. Edwards applications at three of their clients. After that I went to work for different consulting firms that installed that system.
4: Which country was your favorite to visit and why?
Singapore was my favorite country,
The country is so clean and English is on signs and spoken most places.
The people are very friendly.
5: Which was your least favorite and why?
I did not like the Netherlands. The people were not welcoming to foreigners.
Men were disrespectful of women,
6: Did you ever have to deal with language barriers or culture shock? If so, how did you overcome it?
I worked with many programmers from India.
Yes does not always mean yes.. They may say yes and shake their head no.
7: Were you ever treated differently in foreign countries just because you were a woman?
Yes in Holland.. The project manager was a woman in the USA. When she would telephone they would tell the secretary to tell her that they were not there. They were so nasty that they ran off 7 women IBM consultants from the project.
8: Would you recommend traveling professionally to other people?
Yes. I was fortunate that my job allowed me to stay in one place for 6 to 18 months. So, I could leave a suitcase at the hotel over the weekends.
Some people cannot adjust to sleeping in a different bed and with different background sounds. Also, sometimes you have to go to the job with little sleep because the plane was late.
Travel for work allows you to see other parts of the world if you can stay over weekends. Otherwise, all airports look pretty much the same. For example, I was able to see the “Lion Dance” in Singapore, that is done for the Chinese New Year.