(despite the phrasing, this isn’t criminally inclined) And only 5 days left to get ready!
The View from the Middle. Pathway up Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland. Summer, 2013.
So I know I said I’d be covering banking around this week and that was the plan… until we went to the bank and hit a snag (and a pretty large one at that).
So the plan, based on the talks the day before with a lovely account manager at the bank (and yes, a bank that works both overseas and locally), was to go in and set up national account and then meet with a branch in London to set up corresponding account there. This supposedly meant there wouldn’t be certain fees and wait times if money was put into my US account and used in London.
However, the minimums for either the possible accounts offered were much higher than what a student could ever afford, even with the help of well-to-do parents, and the monthly fee for being below the minimum is 50 USD.
If you plan a bit earlier (about a month before you head out but I’d give it an extra week or two for wiggle room), there are apparently student accounts that have smaller money requirements, but you need the extra time to do it and then work through the international department.
All in all, it’s simpler—in most ways—to bring all your documentation to a bank in your new city (usually with documented reasoning for having a foreign account—you can’t just have one because you are there, so this isn’t for the average traveler) and open a basic account there. You may need a local contact to speak/vouch for you so remember what I talked about these past few weeks, work your contacts and make the best connections you can manage.
What I did manage this week, was one such connection.
Major connections come through a man I edit for and this week—as the bank stuff fell to pieces—he had me call a friend of his—an ex-pat of 20 years—who would know more than either of us. But this meant one more introduction and first impression over a phone line.
I’m from a generation that doesn’t talk on the phone regularly—we text, we email, we post on blogs and web chats… systems that we can reread over everything we are going to “say” and then send hopefully errorless into the world. A phone call is a bit more tricky and something I’ve had to deal with a lot recently in my at home work setting—after all, I don’t have an office besides my bedroom so I’m always working remotely.
SO how do you make the impression you need to make when it’s not the outfit you put together to meticulously say that you are the person they should help and /or hire?
All you have in these circumstances is your vocal poise and your communication skills. Most people understand that phone calls are awkward and people get flustered on them, so most will give you wiggle room for blank or spaz moment, but you still want to put you best foot forward (even if they can see those perfect interview shoes you invested in—at least I wish!).
Sometimes you need some help. For me, this seems to be a nice layer of lipstick… usually a nice matte red shade. Something you can do to give you a boost. I can sit there in an overly large ()stolen from my mother plaid top and leggings, hair in need of a wash, but as long as I have my red courage, I’m much more likely to go in with my best foot forward…. Even if it is just a call to a contact and possible work contact I’ve never exchanged words with be for…
It’s also about going in prepared. At least half an hour before any call, I put together a talking sheet—who am I calling? What is it about? Who am I to them? What might they ask and what answers can I have at the ready? If I get a message machine, what is the basic information to leave (though I regularly forget this part the closer to the call I get and therefore I end up scrambling a bit!)?
I was prepared and the phone call went well, including an offer to help with my banking as well as another set of ears to the ground in my job and connection search.
One large step forward and one small move back (or maybe just a pause)… so it’s been a good week.
Well, that’s it for this progress report and next week I’ll talk about my current troubles trying to figure out packing and what I need to bring. One preview is that shipping is hugely expensive.
This is Leave on the Wind, Helping you soar.