Friday, November 28, 2008

But We're Okay

Last week, I was a call with a work colleague from Nanjing, China. He's a young man who's been with our company for almost six months. Shortly after starting he spent six weeks in the US for training and has traveled to Singapore for meetings as well.

A while ago, we decided that it would be good for him to visit an engineering center that we have in Mumbai, possibly in December. During our conversation last week I asked if he had a chance to firm up his plans for that trip yet.

He explained that he was quite busy on a project right now and probably wouldn't be able to travel until January. I told him that was fine as long as he got meet with the team in India at some point in the near future.

He paused and I could tell that something was on his mind. Slowly, with some hesitation he explained that he was worried about the security situation in Mumbai and wasn't sure if it was safe to travel there.

I assured him it was and checked off a long list of mutual acquaintances--both Chinese and American--who had traveled to Mumbai without incident (at least of the terrorist variety--gastrointestinal, perhaps...). "Sure, there have been some attacks, but it's not like going to Pakistan," I explained hoping to ease his worries. To provide additional reassurance, I promised to contact an Indian gentleman whom we both work with on a regular basis to confirm that there no reason he should be afraid of traveling to India.

I didn't have a chance to make that contact yet and after this week's attacks it's probably pointless anyway. If this guy was concerned about security and safety in Mumbai before, his fears have now only been heightened and validated. Maybe we can just have them do a web conference instead.

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