The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager – Lockdown Diary

by Gina Tonic

Expat Academy The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager - Lockdown Diary Dear Diary,

Who else thinks January feels like a lifetime ago? I recall sitting at the Huddle hearing about others deep in the Iran crisis and evacuating their assignees. We all nodded sympathetically at each other at the trials and tribulations of Posted Workers, business visitors and the Brexit beast. We knew then that it was going to be a big year for GM. And then WHAM! Out of left-field, comes Coronavirus. What the….?

Great expectations

As the situation unfolded and I set up office at home, a rather glorious Spring decided to emerge round about the same time.  This could be good, I thought!  An opportunity in fact. Show my face on the odd Zoom call, (lie out in the garden), send a few emails, (bake a cake), call my boss, (get a paintbrush out), check in on a stakeholder or two (check in with my kids). Most definitely in that order. IF ONLY!!!

Be careful what you wish for.

It’s now June and I can honestly say I’ve never been so challenged. I sit at my home desk well before 8 most days, door closed with a big sign taped on it daring the Fam not to interrupt, lunch on the go, occasionally rubbing shoulders with a sulky teenager in the kitchen or a bearded man on the stairs. That must be my husband. Not a Victoria Sponge in sight. The early days were all about keeping the team motivated, figuring out together where in the world our people are, dealing with their woes, getting them home (or not). From remote workers in Ghana to working from home requests in Timbuctoo and tax questions galore. Assignments ending early, assignments starting at home, what to do with allowances. Call after call from the business.  I said…CALL after CALL from the business. At last! They see us!  Hours and hours, days and days of calls later, be careful for what you wish for I say.  Latter weeks have been about getting going again, which moves to prioritise, which to rethink entirely, still busy busy. Still no Victoria Sponge.

Holiday on the horizon?

With the holidays looming and the world starting to reopen, I’m glued to all developments around air bridges and quarantine rules. Forget business travellers. I need a vacation! Don’t get me wrong, there have been some good things about this lockdown and I am all for thinking positively. I might be feeling a little Zoomed out at the moment but I mustn’t forget that little gem has enabled me to eyeball my team everyday, chat to my family, look forward to my weekly pub quiz with friends and “hang-out” with Expat Academy, racking up a few GMPD points along the way.  I’m lucky not to have lost any of my team to furlough and I might grumble about being overworked but I know there have been others with minimal work and bigger problems. Hormonal teenagers are a pain but hats off to all those who have had to homeschool little ones on top of everything else.  I’m missing the office now, not least the pub after work on a Friday night. Don’t feel too sorry for me though – I’ve still managed to guzzle my way through a whole vineyard in the confines of my home (after work hours of course). I can heartily recommend Aldi’s Cremant D’Alsace.

Looking to the future

I’m pleased to report that I’m feeling calm and getting ready for the future, having signed up for the Expat Academy Conference. I love this event every year and am about to get my teeth into the 90 day challenge which leads up to the big day itself. Looks fun and just what I need right now. I think I might encourage some of my Expat Academy buddies to join me and register now.

I can’t wait for a little time off now, before getting back to some kind of normal, far away from COVID. Funny how the Brexit beast suddenly feels like a sorely missed friend!

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