Overseas employment can be very financially rewarding for many people. The order of preference for operations staff in an operation that has American interests is, locals first, Americans second, Canadians third, Europeans and Asians. Generally the order of preference for operations staff for a foreign owned operations is Europeans first, Canadians second and Americans third. Some times they prefer Canadians only. It depends on their politics and educational levels in that country.
Opportunities for working overseas usually comes with at least eight years of experience, unless you happen to be a resident of that country, or lucky enough to be there at the moment. Most of the opportunities will be in the Oil & Gas or petrochemical field. Power and co-generation of power is another but, not as pronounced. As time goes on and technology develops co-generation will become more popular so will the need for operating expertise. This is a newly developing world trend and is a good area to be involved in.
An example of co-generation is using a gas turbine to produce electrical energy. Take the hot exhaust gases from the gas turbine and feed them into a combustion chamber for a steam generator. Add a little more air and burn some fuel in the steam generator's combustion chamber to produce steam to drive a steam turbine to generate more electricity. This way the waist heat from the gas turbine containing energy is recuperated rather than discharging it to the atmosphere. This creates an increase in energy or fuel efficiency by 30% or more. When you consider the fuel bill for some operations to be in the hundreds of millions, 30% translates to a significant dollar figure.
When looking at overseas employment, the single most significant consideration any one should have and do good research on is, how the company in question treats itís employees. You will be in a position to ask them for references, so do it. You will also want to know how safe it is to travel and work in that particular country.
Keep in mind that all overseas employers are not bound by any North American labor laws and are guided only by their own views of what is a safe and fair work environment. Your prioritized list of loyalties should start with yourself first, your team mates second, the dollar third and your employer last. You can always find another employer or job to go to in this business but, you will never find another life once its been taken away. That goes for any job no matter where or who for.
There are some countries where you will be risking life and limb by working for the all mighty dollar. If the stakes are high so can be the pay. Its always your judgment call. Most often it pays off. Some times it doesn't. You be the judge.
Many places in the Middle East, Africa and Southern Russia are probably the most dangerous. But most of us know this from just listening to the news every day. These places can be a scary places to be. Make sure your employer has made provisions for possible conflict by having special transportation and living accommodations as well maintained security around employees living quarters and the work sites. This is the way it is done in many countries. Where there is big money for you, there will be big money spent to ensure your safety. What ever keeps you alive keeps their business alive too. Remember to ask all the right questions as it relates to YOUR safety and security as it relates to violence as well as the standards associated with the day to day operations safety. Each country will have it's own flavour of safety. Educate yourself and know what you are in for. You are always the one who is totally responsible for your success or failure. Operating in a third world country or emerging nation has it's serious risk factors that can result in your death. The availability and immediacy of medical care after a significant injury is also a consideration. Don't take this stuff lightly.
Malaysia, other Pacific rim
Northern Russia are safer and more easily traveled but still not
risk. It is still advisable to ensure there are special provisions for
travel and accommodation by your employer, otherwise tell them to
Inquire with your country's travel consolet and ask if there is a travel advisory for the area you may choose to work in.
Some living accommodations are premium, others mediocre and others are pour. Do your best to know what you are in for. Up front employers will have a photo album on hand and provide it to you at an interview before you even ask. If not, ask for one. The pictures typically show your living quarters, eating areas, transportation vehicles and boats etc. as well as some of the equipment you will work with. This way there are few if any unpleasant surprises. A good employer knows this and if they are smart they also know what it takes to entice and keep the skilled people they need to run their equipment. If they are unwilling to provide you with photos and you are willing to take the risk, prepare for the worst. The odd time you may luck out and have a good work situation. Most of us North Americans and many Europeans are spoiled with our standard of living, so don't be too surprised with the few sacrifices you make to make some huge dollars.
Once you have done all of the previously mentioned items, you should have a clear picture in your mind as to what the possibilities are and can make an informed and well educated decision as to whether the job offer is acceptable or not. There are good offers and bad ones. Even so, you need not be fearful of taking a low paying job as it may very well be your spring board to a lucrative offer shortly there after. One job you should always turn down is one where there bullets are flying. And no, I'm not talking about rural Texas. Better to be safe than sorry.
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My P.E.T. Career
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