Ajoy Kumar Singha

Official:
1. Passport validity date.
2. Visa Expiry date.
3. Invitation letter from the company for which you will be working.
4. Buy some dollars or euros (check out the conversion rate with respect to Indian Rupee).
5. Air Tickets (Both ways, if applicable), keep photo copy of all papers in a separate folder in case you misplace something, this will become handy.
6. Note down the address for Indian Embassy offices for that particular country. You will find this in any tourist guide books. Note down the telephone numbers.

Personal:
1. Determine how long you will stay in that country.
2. Study about the weather changes.
3. Take clothes suitable for that weather. I suggest taking clothes from India unless they are cheaper in that country.
4. Make sure that your baggage weight is less than the limit allowed by the airlines. There will be some fine if your baggage is heavier than allowed limit. Check out with local airlines authorities.
5. Take commonly used medicines with you. Most of foreign countries require a doctor prescription for buying any common medicine.
6. If you are interested in Photography, buy rolls from India only. Rolls will be costlier there (I am talking about Europe/UK/US).
7. Buy a prepaid tele-calling card as soon as you arrive at that country, unless you have international roaming mobile. For most the countries if you need to make ISD calls you have to use prepaid calling cards. You can insert those calling cards in any public call booths and make calls to anywhere.
8. Know about the food habit of that particular country/City. Prepare yourself according to the local norms. Lots of people find it difficult in first few days to adjust food habits. For example you will find difficulty in finding daal rice/chapati in Europe city unless you are familiar with the city whereabouts first. Take help of local guys. Vegetarian guys take special attention of this.
9. Don't forget to adjust your watch to the local time as soon as you reach there.
10. Also you have to take care of the sleeping time cycle. It generally takes 48 hours to adjust to local time.

At the airport:
1. Try to arrive at the airport 3 hours before departure time. Keep your tickets, passport with visa, and any other relevant documents with you. Don't keep these things in your luggage. Once you check in you will get a boarding pass which will also mention your seat number and gate number through which you have to board the flight. You have to fill a migration form and submit to the customs before boarding the flight.
2. Don't take heavy lunch/dinner before the flight. Drink lots of water. It will save you from dehydration during the flight.
3. Don't leave your baggage and walk away. Submit the baggage at designated airline baggage handling department. Take proper receipt for it. Generally they will give a barcode sticker once you submit the baggage. You can take a small hand bag with you inside the flight.
4. After reaching your destination airport, don't forget to collect the baggage. Perform all necessary activities particular for that country for visa stamping and migration check.
5. Ask your friend/company to send someone to pick you up from the airport itself. Otherwise take a prepaid cab to the destination/your hotel.
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Ajoy Kumar Singha


Recently I came across a good email which was forwarded to me by my colleague. It is about staying late at office, specially in IT organisations. I have seen, in my small career in IT industry, that lots of people stay back in office after normal office hours (9am to 6pm). Why do these people stay back in office after normal office hours?

I can list down some of the reasons:


1. 45 hours a week: Most of IT companies work 5 days a week. So you need to spend 9 hours a working day. People come late to office at 10am or beyond that. So to compensate 9 hours they have to stay back in office.
2. Personal Work: Lots of people indulge in personal work while in office. It is done better when most of the employees leave after 6pm. With no managers and colleagues around, it is fun to surf internet, chat over the office telephone keeping aside free coffees and Air conditioned rooms.
3. False Impression to Manager: Most of the managers think who stays back at office after office hours put extra effort to project. They misinterpret sitting late as working late. People leaving the office at late hours are considered as hardworking and dedicated.
4. And lots more..

So is it a good practice?

I don't think so. Let me tell you why.

1. Sitting late should not be confused with working late.
2. People who stay late do not know how to manage their work, finish work in time. If you cannot finish your work within normal office hours, you are a slow worker or your manager does not have good estimation skill.
3. People who come to office late are late risers. Late rising is not a good habit.
4. Flexi hour does not mean coming late to office and staying back without any reason. Flexi hour gives you flexibility to compensate missing hours when you have some urgent personal work in the office hours that you cannot avoid.
5. Staying late at office will cost your oraganisation with extra energy spent for office lighting. USA has Daylight Saving Time (US Energy Saving Act). They work one hour ahead during summer so that they can save energy. Give earth a chance !
6. I don't know how ethical it is to do personal work in office hours. When internet is so cheap, internet cafes are available at every corner of your locality, why do we need to spend so much time in checking gmail, orkut, yahoo and youtube in office and doing ALT+TAB when project manager is around? Oh yeh, I forgot to mention, internet cafes do not have firewalls and IT Administrator watching your browsing behavior.

I had a manager who used to come to office at 8am and leave office at 5.30pm. I have always appreciated this habit. This gives a lot of advantages. You come to office with no one around, less traffic in road, perform the important tasks quickly. If you find any problem there are plenty of time remaining within the day. Leave office early before the peak traffic rush hour. Go home quickly; spend time with your family. Watch your favourite TV programs.

So please complete your work within time. Don't make a habit of staying late unnecessarily. Once you do this and make it a habit, your manager will take it for granted and expect you to do this every time. And think when you get family life and leaving office early (on time) your manager will think that you are no longer dedicated as earlier. You are a looser then.

Vinit Nayar, President, HCL Technologies, says, "Big is not equal to Best." Let me say - "Sitting late is not equal to Working late. Working late is not hard working, it is hardly working." It is a myth just as Ram Setu.

OK, now you can throw on me flower pots, chairs, rotten eggs and chappals.
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