An interview: Rian de Jong, Mobility Manager
Hi Rian, welcome. Can you introduce yourself?
I am Rian and an HR professional since 1975 and most of that, by now built up 20 years experience, in international mobility.
That is a considerable background in Global mobility and HR!
What gets you out of bed in the mornings?
An excellent fresh Italian coffee. 🙂
Haha, Honest answer!
I’m a fan of Italy.
What is your most significant achievement? Whether it be personal or professional.
In my opinion, my most notable achievement was that I finished two studies at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, at the age of 59. Firstly, International Mobility and the secondly International Competition and Benefits.
Great! So you know that life is about constant learning.
Absolutely. You should be learning all the time.
Now that you can compare the learning process from younger versus a more mature age. Which one did you enjoy more?
I found that the learning process at an older age is more desirable. The reason for this is that I could use my build up experience over the last 20 years for a better understanding of all subjects. So it was not only about theoretical perspective but also drawn from my own experience. And that makes the topics of study far more lively.
Can you tell what a typical day looks like for you? Plus, what are you currently working on?
It’s different every day. I don’t know what will be coming to my desk that morning. Of course, I have several subjects. I do quite a lot of payrolling and deal with, what we call in the Netherlands 30% ruling, Dutch tax benefits for expats or companies. Next, to that, I’m massively involved in the application for outbound visas. These applications are for people from the Netherlands that are going to work abroad for a shorter or longer period. These are the three main requests I ‘m dealing with.
If I ask you to focus on three words that describe your role, what would they be?
People, Complexity and Variation.
Why did you put People in the first place?
I mentioned people first because we should never forget that we are working for people that are sent by their employer from a familiar environment to an unfamiliar working environment and country.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
That means that you are feeling perfectly in place, correct?
Yes, I had a period where I was two years in unemployment, and this is the period of reflection and questioning yourself what to do next, how to deal with the future. I had some tests and talks. Though in the end, my conclusion was that international mobility is my job, and I don’t want to do anything else.
Nowadays it is fashionable to have a wishlist. If you have one, can you tell me what is on your list for the next five years?
I’ve reached the age of 64. So essentially, here in the Netherlands, I can retire by 2021. That is something which I want to arrive at in good health.
What can you tell me about your professional challenges? What are the biggest ones?
The biggest professional challenge is that I need to deal with the world of international mobility that is expanding and accelerating in complexity. Complexity grows each day, and if you look at the world as it is now, you’ll see that more and more countries are protecting their labour market both for people going out and coming in. Legislation, rulings and procedures are more and more complex and demand a lot of time.
That sounds challenging. What do you like most about your job?
What I like about my job is to help and coach people as much as I can — guiding people who are coming from a known and trusted environment into an entirely new, sometimes hostile, setting with a completely different culture.
So you like this feeling of guiding and helping people.
Yes. Of course, you need to arrange all sorts of things. Though being in contact with people who are facing these challenges, preparing them to have a safe landing in the country of employment – that is what I like most.
And now the most exciting part for our readers; about giving advice. What advice would you give to recent new expats?
I want to refer to EMG statement: Broaden Your Horizons! Do this as much as you can! If you get such an opportunity – take it with both hands and make the best of it. Despite all kinds of problems you face. The things that you should do even though perhaps you don’t want to do. That is my advice. The experience that you’ll get out of this is precious for the rest of your life.
And as for conclusion, what is your motto or personal mantra?
I think the main motto is “Use your energy only for things that you can change”. Because trying to change things that are out of your control is energy lost.
Learn more about our Relocation Services