Today, a computer programmer is no longer limited to their place of work – that is, the stuffy corporate office that they used to work from. With a growing number of today’s professionals choosing to work from home – and, amazingly, receiving some degree of support from head office rather than scorn and contempt – there’s been a revolution in the way that work is done.
But while working from home certainly sounds appealing, many of the world’s top professionals, expatriates, and retirees have one question in common: why is it okay to work from home, but not to work from another country? Given that the internet is truly a global technology and there is really no limit on international communication today, why is work from home possible, but not ‘work from Asia?’
The amazing reality is that working from across the world, whether for an employer or for your own private clients, is very much possible. Every day, tens of thousands of international employees, freelancers, and business owners log onto their PCs and carry out their work online.
From web designers to writers, managing directors to data entry employees, a wide variety of work positions are moving away from the ‘work at home’ model and towards the ‘work from anywhere’ model.
It’s one thing to read this, and another to live it. To many expatriates and retirees, an online job – a source of income that isn’t tied to any one location – seems like a crazy pipe dream. It’s an understandable view to have. After all, we’ve been told for many years that work only happens at the office, and that all the hours spent at your desk are the only real metric for an employer to assess your performance.
But that simply isn’t true today. With the power of the internet and applications like Skype, Google Drive, and VOIP, keeping in touch with head office is a simple process. If you’re a retiree in a foreign country – perhaps somewhere in East Asia with a good internet connection – you are just as viable as an employee as a local hire would be.
Let’s think about how you could make this work start to happen. There’s a massive amount of demand for English speaking skills in many Asian countries, so much that many top universities and high schools are specializing in teaching children English in classes. Given that you’re an English speaker, you can capitalize on this skill by an online lessons program aimed at local children.
In fact, you wouldn’t even have to meet many of your students. By offering simple English tuition and conversation practice via Skype and other messengers, you’re able to carry out an entire lesson from the comfort of your living room. Now that’s work and life balance – never even leaving the house to produce your income.
Many other retirees have advanced skills that are equally as useful. For example, if you speak more than one language, you can easily find work online as a translator. Even better, if you speak more than one language and have specific skills in a certain industry – qualifications in programming or engineering, for example – you can earn a great deal of money as a specialized translator for that particular industry.
The demand for these skills is immense, and there are many employers out there looking for employees – whether part-time or full-time – that fit the bill. If you’re able to do that job, there’s work out there. For opportunities, it’s worth checking the big job and employment websites – places like Monster.com and Craigslist.org.
Are you growing tired of your current job, yet you feel like you aren’t yet able to pack it all up and retire overseas? Many employers, particularly forward-thinking companies and start-ups, are willing to work remotely with employees that have a track record of good performance and work output.
In some cases, this means working from home. In others, it could mean working as a remote consultant from halfway across the world. If you have special skills that have real demand – the type of skills and experience that improve a bottom line – you can easily negotiate with employers and clients to work for them from around the globe.
Now, it’s worth tempering expectations here somewhat. While working remotely, especially from another country, is a rewarding and flexible experience, it’s not as easy as working from an office. The hardest part of it, bar none, is getting your foot in the door and finding the work in the first place. Despite the growing number of forward-thinking companies out there, many employers are still strictly traditional and won’t even entertain the idea of working with someone in another country.
Getting around this barrier can be difficult, but once you manage it, you’ll open up a whole new lifestyle. While retirement in another country is fulfilling and affordable on its own, particularly if you live in a country with a low cost of living, retiring to another country and continuing to earn money offers a truly fantastic experience.
So rather than searching for jobs locally, consider searching for jobs on the only truly international marketplace: the internet. Given the low cost of applying for most jobs out there – all you’re really spending is time, after all – it’s absolutely worth it to try your luck and see how marketable your skills are.
It’s a small gamble and a new experience for many, and one that can take quite some preparation time. But after all, that preparation is well spent when you find a great job that you can work on from anywhere.