The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager – when the agenda goes out the window

by Gina Tonic

Expat Academy The Secret Diary of a Global Mobility Manager - when the agenda goes out the window Dear Diary,

I am so happy to be able to update you, you always listen and don’t mess things up, unlike my agenda!

Last week my agenda was stuffed with Annual Performance meetings with my team members, all scores were administered, and talks were finished. The only thing I needed to do this week, was to nominate two team members for promotion and change a temporary contract to a fixed contract. All positive so should have been fun.

Before I could open Workday on Monday, there was someone at my desk. “We have a problem”. I always wonder where the ‘we’ comes from.

It reminded me of the time when the police pulled me over while ‘I’ was having a great time flying down the road. The officer started with:

“Are ‘we’ in a hurry?”

No, ‘I’ just prefer my right pedal from the middle one!

Anyway, I digress, apparently something was going on and ‘we’ needed to discuss this. Promotions needed to wait. There was an assignee coming on a STA to Amsterdam from Israel. The mobility advisor booked the flight tickets for a Saturday, so the assignee could have the weekend in Amsterdam before starting on Monday. Sounded all good to me. It wasn’t.

The assignee is Jewish and religious and can therefore not fly on Saturday. The Jewish Shabbat lasts from sunset on Friday to the fall of full darkness on Saturday. It was Thursday afternoon, we needed to act quickly to get in contact and change the tickets. Thankfully my (Jewish) colleague then said, “She also needs kosher food, where is her temporary housing?” Of course, not in the neighbourhood of any kosher shops. Call our vendor and change the apartment!

“Hi, which paper have you chosen?” Sorry, paper? “Yes, from the University competition, I sent you 3 papers and you need to decide which one is best, before lunch.” I was just about to go for lunch. Okay, promotions postponed again, Israeli assignee in control, lunch postponed, need to read 3 papers.

“Hi, are you coming?” Huh, where to? I need to read these papers. “It’s 1pm we are meeting with the Head of Comp & Ben to go through the equity for our assignees.” Oh right, yes I am coming. Promotions postponed, lunch cancelled, papers postponed.

Back at my desk, right yes, the papers. The telephone rings.

“Hi, I am calling from Singapore and I need your help. My family and I are on a 3-year assignment, I just confirmed a year extension, but my wife and I are divorcing.”

Deep breath …. “okay how can I help you?”

“Well, my wife is pregnant with our third and she can’t fly straight to the UK in her condition. Can we get approval of a stop in Dubai with a 2 day stay in an hotel?”

Now that will need exception approval.

“Yes, we can arrange that.”

We discussed details and I went back to my papers.

Someone at my desk.

“Hi, we have a problem…….” Here we go again!

Anyway, by the end of the day, the promotions were sent through, papers read and winner chosen, equity meeting will need a follow up and new assignees with unique circumstances kept on coming. That’s why a day in Global Mobility is never the same, which can be both challenging and fun at the same time.

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