Singapore - Working for free for 6 weeks

A senior design position is being offered to me in Singapore. I have already attended an interview in their UK office & had a few phone interviews also. Now they just want to meet me and see how I fit in.

The company is offering to fly me over from UK for 6 weeks to get a flavour of the country & work culture. They will cover costs for flight / hotel / food / transport. It both parties are happy, I will be given a permanent contract in January. I have never been to Asia so they want me to experience the place before committing to a contract

Since I will not be officially working ( maybe this is a visa thing )I will therefore not be paid any design consultancy fee. The company is very large.

What is the best way of getting a fee for my time there since I am interested in the job but cannot support working for free at this stage of my career ?

If they are going to cover stay, food, travel etc, what else do you need money for? Not saying that you have to live like a monk, but 6 months fly pretty fast.

Perhaps you can look into getting those money you would have missed back when they do offer you the contract. Then you are getting paid, just 6 months late.

Or, can’t they bill you from UK?

A friend of mine is working for a company in Singapore now as an intern. The VISA is pretty simple to obtain and he’s paid. So perhaps you can go there as an “intern” first.

I would do it anyways. They’re covering all your essentials. Aside from entertainment your room and board are covered. If this is a direct connection to a job, then you should do it and if you don’t have enough saved, then be willing to take out a loan or rake up some credit card debt.

I’ve had a professor who did something similar where he went for 2 weeks to work at a transportation design studio. They didn’t cover anything of his, and there was no promise (or intention) of giving him a job. But he loved the idea of getting to design motorcycles for 2 weeks and used it as a learning experience and to gain contacts (which later benefitted our school).

So suck it up and rake up some debt if you need to. Unless you have a family to support I don’t see it being unmanagable. Especially if theres a direct offer on the table for employment.

6 weeks goes by VERY quickly.

Also, rent in Singapore sky rocked in recent years. It’s now comparable to major cities in the west, so them paying for your stay cost them a lot too.

Food and transport is much cheaper over there, and is extremely convenient. Sometimes I really want to be there instead.

This is an unbelievable opportunity. What are you waiting for? I dont see why you should not take it unless you are still employed in UK?

The most expensive thing in Singapore would be the housing, and if that is covered you are set. BTW if you have not already checked 1 GBP is almost 3 SDG. You will live like a king.

Consider you self very lucky for this offer, as my feeling is that it’s once in a life time, or you are extremely good. My guess its the latter so Good Luck and do drop me a line if you ever get in.

Now I get a better picture of Chaos.
You are very lucky, so why do you sound as though you are exploited ?
The opportunity is rare. You hardly need to spend much at all.

Wonder how ‘chaos’ made out?
I hope he/she had a return ticket before they left UK!
“indentured servant” anyone!

Maybe you could explain a little bit about your circumstances. You don’t seem to want to go without getting money, but in my situation I would be there in a snap. There’s obviously a difference in circumstances.

if there was a problem you could always voiced it out.
you could go to the ministry of manpower
you could write to the Straits Times/DesignSingapore Council
you could write here and thrash it out

but don’t keep quiet
if the reasoning is clear, then i cannot see why you should not voice it out.
no one will sue you if you state it reasonably.

I would definately go. Its not everyday that you get such opportunities. But yeah, 6 months !!! Isnt it a hellova lot of time to know asian culture?

Hi Chaos,

You’ll have to work out the contract details with them …

Perhaps find out how to trade off some of your benefits so that they can give you some spending cash?

Cheaper to make your accomodation in the heart lands … i.e. HDB government town 3 or 4 room flats will be cheaper than a condominum or full apartment. Rental can range from S$500 mthly to 2000 depending on type, Size and Location? Utlities could range from S$100 to 350 pending on water, gas, air conditioning usage … it’s HOT over here haha oh … find out if you are going to live in a FURNISHED accomodation or you’ll end up shopping at IKEA and the electronics stores.

IF you live frugally, you’ll do okie monthly with S$400-500 for grocery (perhaps you should pick up something from the Naked Chef), S$400-500 for entertainment with the mates, movies, clubbing & eating out, S$500 for public transport (less if you are a walker, do not wave at the cabbie and don’t drive a vehicle)

Juz my rough estimate on Cost of living in Singapore.

Yes … Singapore is getting progressively more expensive even if you ply around in sterling pounds. 6mths w/o pay is rather harsh …

  • crazy folks those designers . . . *

nobody reaching for a "senior"position in engineering, law, or business would go abroad for 6 Weeks on a contract like that.

Even IF it costs the company a lot also. Don´t you have to pay for kids, cars and a shelter at the same time?

I hope -chaos- was able to negotiate something better. Like being paid a bonus, if anything works out and a rather low compensation if everything falters.

Ever thougth about the pay scheme of high ranking experts in other fields?

  • crazy folks those designers . . .* let´s scam them some more

hmmm … didn’t see the date the post originated … nov 07 … he’s probably either taken it or moved on