The Cubicle Entrepreneur: But What Country Are You In?
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Being a Cubicle Engineer is like being a spy, you live a double life.
People outside work know you as one thing, while people at work know you as another … but only a few know your true identity.
But being an international cubicle engineer is even more complex, its like being an “international spy.” Think Bourne Identity with a plethora of passports to travel to any country at anytime.
That’s my dilemma.
The only problem is that I am a broke version of Jason Bourne. I have a Nigerian passport and a US permanent residence card … that’s it! I can’t get up in the middle of the night and decide to travel to any country I want.
I mean I can travel to Ghana or Mauritius and some Islands (thanks to my Green Card), but that’s about it. For the most part I am restricted to Texas (USA) and Lagos (Nigeria). Meaning that I have addresses in both places, as well as a bank account.
It’s hard juggling both locations.
To keep up I employ tools like earthclassmail.com (awesome product) which helps me keep up with my physical mails from Texas by scanning them for me and emailing them to me. And skype.com, which allows me to have a US phone number and make international calls for cheap.
But inevitably when you do business from 2 international locations with one of them being Nigeria … identities clash and accounts get flagged for suspicious activity. This can prove to be problematic sometimes …
Like Yesterday … I called google adwords customer support due to a technical issue with an ad I was
running attempting to run.
Remember this is a technical issue.
I call the customer service number, first guy couldn’t figure it out, so he escalates me to a second person, she couldn’t figure it out … so she escalates me to yet another person.
The 3rd guy proceeds to ask me very silly and obvious questions … like “did you click the question mark when you had an issue” or “are you sure you pressed saved?”
I remind the guy that I have been running ads for a while now … basically my way of saying “please stop asking me stupid questions!”
He then proceeds to escalate me to yet another level of help, but just as he does that he says “your billing address is US, but you are calling from Nigeria? How come?” in that kind of suspicious this-guy-must-be-419 tone.
He had a point, I was
trying to get rid of the million dollar inheritance that I got from Aso Rock while sweeping Abacha’s bedroom making a Skype call with a US number even though my IP address showed I was clearly in Lagos.
I was not ready to go into details of how I technically live in 2 cities and all that stuff that I described in the above paragraphs so I just said “I travel a lot.”
That seemed to pacify him or so I thought …
So we continue our waiting as he keeps tinkering around my account trying to see if he can solve the problem before the escalation happens. But then he asks yet again … from a different angle, like some CSI interrogation cop.
“Where are you calling from?” I am like “Lagos, Nigeria.”
Then he says “but why do you have a US billing address?”
At this point I see where this is going.
So I ask “please does my location have anything to do with this technical issue?”
Taken aback he is like “o no no.”
“But why do you keep asking about it?” I respond.
“I mean is my calling from Nigeria causing the technical issues with my google ads?”
Embarrassed he goes into full recovery mode …
“No no no. Google is an international company, blah blah, you can use it anywhere, more blah blah.”
And I am just like …
Sadly he can’t see or hear what my face thinks over Skype, but I am sure he can tell I am irritated.
Unfortunately this is the inevitability of being a broke Jason Bourne operating from a so-called rogue state in Nigeria. You have to deal with people suspecting your every move.
You have to deal with AliBaba.com merchants not responding to you because your address says one thing but your IP says another or stores not accepting your US credit card because you tried to use it for a transaction from Nigeria.
I wish there was a simple solution I could share, but there is none.
Its just one of those things that you have to anticipate is going to happen. And by anticipating, it gives you a better chance to counter the effects. For example on Alibaba.com I go out of my way to ensure my address and IP locationare aligned, I find out it gives me better responses from sellers. That’s all we can do for now …
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