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I work as full-time programmer and also study, masters of computer science. There is a good opportunity for me to go to South Korea and study there for one semester.

What I hope to do:

  • keep my job, work remotely, perhaps with reduced load (70-80% time instead of full-time).
  • study hard in Korea, show that I can perform well not only in my current University, but can do the same in a much more competitive, English-speaking environment in a more prestigious University.
  • expand my views, get invaluable life experience and something different on my CV.

Other things:

  • The company is old and traditional. I expect it to be hard to convince the management.
  • I feel confident about finding an equal or better job if the company doesn't want me to go abroad.

I would need to go to South Korea in 5 months if my application is accepted. Letter of notice has to be sent in 1 month before quitting.

I could only do what I want if management saw benefit. What possible points could I provide to increase my chances?

  • You can only justify your claim of being underpaid by 40% if you can find a job that pays that much more. What are you waiting for? Even if you don't work for 5 months, getting the next job that pays this much more means you'd break even. – user8365 Sep 24 '14 at 12:24
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  • @JeffO I want to study abroad while keeping my current job. Question is - how do I approach this subject with my management, how do I convince them it would be mutually beneficial? Is it even possible in an old and traditional IT company? I also see I have got a few down votes and 5 put-on-hold votes because of the question being "unclear". I would have liked to see more comments. The question JeffO linked talks about how to change the development culture at work. I don't want to change the culture. I want to take it into account when approaching the subject of my studies in South Korea. – MoustacheMan Sep 25 '14 at 6:02
  • I agree that my question contained too much unrelated information initially. Apologies about that. – MoustacheMan Sep 25 '14 at 6:07
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I could only pull this off if management saw benefit. What possible points could I provide to increase my chances?

In your question you spent a lot of words explaining why this arrangement would be good for you, but none about why it will be good for the company. Focus on the company when you ask for an accommodation. While they may be happy for you, and supportive of your motives, from the business/management side they still must consider "what's in it for us?", "how will this impact us?" and "what do we do about it?"

First, point out the benefit to the company of your having an additional half-year of education. Explain what you will be learning that you don't already know, and how those subjects will make you a better employee, more productive, and more effective.

Second, point out how you can continue to be very productive in your current job - even while working remotely, and even at a reduced workload. Point out where your past work demonstrates how you can be trusted to work remotely, explain your plan for how you intend to stay in the loop on all necessary information, talk about how you will effectively attend meetings remotely, and how you will update your boss on your status despite being remote and despite any time differences.

If it's true, explain how the time difference will work to their advantage. Explain the kinds of things you will be able to handle in your time zone, that will help others in the home office be more effective.

Hint (but don't directly state) that you will have to leave if your accommodation isn't accepted. You don't want to blatantly threaten here, but just want to indicate that you definitely intend to study abroad one way or the other. Explain how this accommodation will keep you around as a loyal employee for the long term.

Avoid bringing up the "I consider myself to be underpaid" angle. It's not relevant to this accommodation, and could easily derail your discussion. Focus on your 1/2 year plan. Deal with your pay in a year or so, once your education is complete.

As JeffO astutely suggests, you could even offer to work a few days remotely now, in order to demonstrate to the company that you can be trusted and effective working remotely. Doing it now gives them a chance to experience what it will be like during your studies - perhaps even before they commit to your accommodation.

If they are as shocked as you think they will be, you may have to talk with several folks and be very convincing. Think this through ahead of time from their point of view so that you can have as strong discussion topics as possible.

And of course be prepared to leave gracefully if it doesn't work out as you hope. Or as The Wandering Dev Manager correctly suggests, you could ask for a 6-month sabbatical. If you are currently an excellent employee, your company may be willing to grant that concession.

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    +1 - and maybe work a few days a week away from the office to prove you can still get things done. – user8365 Sep 24 '14 at 12:26
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    Good suggestions, only thing I'd add would be if they don't buy into the remote work scenario, suggest a 6 month unpaid sabbatical, you wouldn't be worse off than leaving, and would have a job to go back to at the end of the course. Of course if something new came up while away you can still resign then.. – The Wandering Dev Manager Sep 24 '14 at 12:32
  • And most professions do expect you to undergo continuous professional development I recall when I worked for a top 5 consultants they where arranging a secondment to Italy for one of our team members so she could get experience of being on site for her CENG – Pepone Sep 30 '14 at 20:24

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