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Occasionally I get emails from people asking for some work advice.
Putting aside that would be like asking Lindsey Lohan for acting tips, I always try and help.
That said, I never tell people what to do because, let’s be honest, I have no right to make that decision for someone plus they need to take responsibility for their own actions.
Saying that, I know they’re times when you need to talk to someone, which is why in those situations, I tend to do nothing more than ask them a bunch of questions in the hope they’ll be able to determine what they really want versus what other people are telling them to want.
One question that seems to be coming up more and more is ‘what’s it like to work overseas?’
For once, I think this is a subject I’m quite qualified to respond to given the amount of countries I’ve happily ended up living in over the past 15 years … however I also know there’s plenty of other people who have had a completely different experience.
In my view, the enjoyment of living and working in another country is as much down to the individuals mindset as it is the country and job they go to.
If you want to try and ‘recreate’ the life you had before, you’re almost doomed before you begin because the reality is, it will never happen … especially if you’re going to a wildly foreign land. Not only that, but by adopting that ‘what I’m used to’ stance, you’re basically ensuring you’ll miss out on a whole breadth of experiences because you’re moving forward with your blinkers on.
Without doubt there’s downsides to moving overseas … with missing family and friends topping off the list. However to only focus on that, in my mind, is wrong because there’s incredible amounts of wonderfulness that can come from it too.
I literally thank my Mum, Dad and Paul every day for encouraging me to go on this journey. They could so easily of dissuaded me, especially given my Dad was experiencing failing health at the time, but they wanted me to live a life of fulfillment not contentment and so I feel it is my duty to try and do that so the pain of not being located so close anymore is in some way justified.
I say this because I recently received an email from someone who was going through this very scenario.
They had a number of job offers and wanted to know what they should do.
As I said, I wasn’t going to answer their specific question for them, but what I did do was tell them how my experience had been and based on that, gave them some questions to consider when making their decision.
A week or so ago I received this: [Edited to protect the innocent, ha]
We spoke 8 month or so ago – I was a planner in XXXXXX, and reached out for your advice on moving to work in a different language/Brazil/your thoughts on the agencies I had opportunities with at the time.
I just want to say thank you.
You were 100% spot on with all your advice.
I wanted to wait until I had enough time under my Brazilian belt to let you know (in case it all went tits up) – but it’s the best decision Ive ever made and just the most insane place to live and work.
You were the only “pro brazil” voice I heard at the time and you gave me the rational advice and confidence to take the jump.
That note is definitely one of the best things that has happened to me in 2013 so far.
And it’s been a good year so far.
Of course, in reality, I had absolutely nothing to do with their decision – I simply asked them to think about a few things – but knowing this individual had the courage to ‘see what would happen’ and is currently enjoying every second of it, makes me very happy indeed.
I appreciate not everyone wants to live overseas – that’s cool – but when I meet people who do but end up staying where they are simply because they’ve let people who’ve never done it make their decision for them, I feel a bit sad because in my mind they should stop focusing on what they will miss out on and start thinking about what they will gain.
I know everyone’s different, but nothing great happens if you don’t put yourself out there.
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