IT travel abroad

  jz 20:19 05 May 06
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I often see FE mention that he's on a trip to some distant place, eg the US, on IT business. Surely there must be loads of US IT specialist in high-tech US, which would save the company that's paying to fly IT consultants in lots of money (travel costs and flight time). Is there a skills shortage out there?

I'm not trying to do you out of a job FE, just curious.

  Totally-braindead 20:28 05 May 06

I always assummed he was travelling on behalf of the magazine to see some software promoted or something of that sort. ie not travelling as an IT specialist but as an IT journalist. I will be interested to see what he says.

A friend of mine used to travel the world a bit on business and when he came back I would ask, well whats Switzerland like then? His reply I've no idea I never got out of the hotel/conference centre.

  jz 20:32 05 May 06

Thanks Totally-braindead,

Although I'm interested in FE's thought on this, my posting was intended to be general, and I'd be interested in comments from anyone who does world-wide IT consulting, etc, especially to the US.

  Forum Editor 03:03 06 May 06

I've been involved with IT consulting for many years, and quite a few of my clients are now based in countries other than the one in which we first met. The world being what it is, senior people in corporate situations tend to move around a fair bit, and often they like to work with the same consultants - so I'm asked to go where they go.

My Hong Kong client is the regional director of a major European bank. He's English, and we originally met here, in the UK. When he moved to Hong Kong he needed a lot of IT advice, and he preferred to work with someone he knew, so....

In America I worked originally with some British people who were setting up a New York Office. I set up their IT operation there, and when they opened more offices in San Francisco I handled the same work there. Various recommendations followed, and I now work with several American companies who also have European operations. It suits them to have someone with experience of working on both continents.

Look in the business class section of any long-haul flight and you'll see consultants going to work away from their 'home' territory - it's not uncommon for UK companies to employ consultants from abroad when they want specific skill-sets/fields of experience etc.

I don't travel for the magazine at all - other people do that - and frankly I wouldn't want to take it on, I'm away from home too much as it is, and although you get used to it in some ways it can be extremely tiring, and at times quite a lonely existence.

  namtas 10:29 06 May 06

So from that descripion your employment status is freelance consultant, working for PCA as a journlist technical advisor.

  Forum Editor 10:49 06 May 06

Yes, I suppose so.

I'm certainly a freelance consultant, I certainly work for PCA as a journalist, and I certainly provide them with consulting services, so you've more or less summed it up, namtas.

The forum side of it has sort of grown on me over the past five years - I definitely had no ambition to become the forum editor. PCA simply invited me to do the job, and I accepted. I'm still wondering if it was a good career move - it has certainly been a great life experience, as the leadership gurus say. I've probably learned more about human nature in the past five years than in the whole of my prior working life.

  DrSpock 15:16 06 May 06

FE enjoy it while you can. A friend from Uni who trained with me in Medicine is now in IT, he loves the travelling & setting up large networks, but also writes for a few highbrow IT publications, he loves the work, mainly as he gets to stay in once place for more than a few weeks. He seems to do it in blocks worked round his other work.

  Totally-braindead 15:27 06 May 06

Well thats certainly interesting, I was totally wrong assumming the trips were magazine related. A man of many talents is our FE.

You see what happens when you assume something. I was wrong again. As usual I might add.

  Forum Editor 18:13 06 May 06

I also loved the travelling at first, but that was many years ago, and after a while it can become a bit of a pain, I assure you. Not all countries are as friendly as the UK, and not all clients are a pleasure to work for - it's roundabouts and swings. The worst thing is arriving home from one trip, only to be told that you're leaving again in two days for another destination. That doesn't happen so much now, but years ago, when I was saying yes to everything in order to get the work it became almost unbearable - tearful children at the door, etc., etc.

  jz 22:19 06 May 06

That's very interesting FE. Thanks for your comments.

  rmcqua 23:12 06 May 06

When my daughter was tiny (she was born in 1986) I used to travel to the USA about 8 times per year and East Asia about 6 times per year, usually for periods of between 1 and 3 weeks. In between that were lots of 1 or 2 night European trips. The tearful farewells with the little one and her brother, born 5 years later, were the worst part. They now say that the bit they hated most was being woken at 4 o'clock or so to go with my wife to meet me from Heathrow at about 05.30, when the long hauls from Asia arrive. I did the same type of job for about 20 years and can't say that I miss it. However, it would be nice to see the inside of a 'plane now, just occasionally. That type of working life sort of grows on you, and it feels very strange when it ceases suddenly. No complaints from the family, though!

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