Keeping a “Plan A”, B, and C:
Contract “flexibility” and other routine problems.
Should I keep a “Plan B” in my back pocket?
In the developed Western world, we tend to think of things like contacts as being written in “stone” – but in many countries, contracts can be quite – uh . . . “flexible”.
This can mean that your employer may not do the things they said they would do. You may not like that. It may be time to move on. Or it may just be that you don’t like your new job, new culture, new city or new . . .
Plan B and Plan C
When you do your research about countries and jobs, keep a second and third choice in your mind, just in case things don’t work out for Plan A. Keep these in the back of your mind, keep your resume up to date, and fish to see what is out there from time to time. With a decent Plan B and Plan C you won’t have to worry about a surprise.
There is also the possibility that you just won’t like the job you took, or the country you moved to, or some other unforeseen problem may sour you on the whole deal.
Your First Country – Your First Job
Keep open the possibility of going back home. Don’t burn your bridges to anywhere, ever. You just never know when you might need to head back where you were last year. I’ve never had to back track, but I do try to keep my options open. I try to leave every employer on good terms, with them ready for my return. I try to maintain and network with people from previous employment. And, it all works both ways – you might need to help a friend come to where you are some day.
You may never need them . . .
I am just cautious by nature, and the TEFL world is just a little less stable than other types of employment. I’ve never needed my Plan B or C, but they are there, just in case. It helps me sleep at night.
My first year in Saudi Arabia was quite a difficult adjustment for me. Though I didn’t bail out, it was nice to have my options already mapped out. It took a little pressure off the situation, allowed me to adapt and adjust – and succeed.
TED’s Tips™ #1: Having a back up plan gives you some extra confidence when things get rough. You don’t have to panic or wonder what you might do next – you already know.
TED’s Tips™ #2: Having to bail out on a contract is never something to be proud of, but a good percentage of people who have spent 20 years or more overseas have brought an early end to a contract at one time or another.