The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


If You’re Looking For A Kick To Work Overseas …
April 10, 2013, 6:17 am
Filed under: Comment

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]

_______________________________________________________________________________

Hey Rob,

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.


48 Comments so far
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So you won’t tell people what to do at career crossroads, but you think it’s OK to tell people exactly what to do when you’re working with them. Go figure.

Comment by DH

Of course 2013 has been a good year for you so far, you’ve had 5 holidays and its only april.

Comment by DH

My aim is to have one holiday per month. Of course, if I achieve that then I have to [1] put up with all your abuse and [2] find a new job when W+K sack me.

Comment by Rob

you have to be present to be sacked

Comment by northern

Boom Tish.

Comment by Rob

You must think of better put downs

Comment by Northern

Decent advice though. Asking people who have never done something about trying something is stupid in all directions.

Comment by DH

I like that complicated explanation Dave. I’m going to steal that for myself. As usual.

Comment by Rob

Dear Rob.

I want to move to the playboy mansion. Do you think I should?

Thanks.

Billy.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Cleaners don’t get to see the playmates.

Comment by DH

But they get to put up secret cameras in their bedrooms.

Comment by Billy Whizz

telling someone to move to brazil before the world cup youre wetting your fucking pants to go to starts. coincidence or more cunning campbell planning?

Comment by andy@cynic

And the next Olympics.

Comment by John

and the fucking olympics. nike might give him man utd shirts to hand out to random fucking taxi drivers in london but they sure as fucking shit wouldnt give him tickets to events where they are actually part of the fucking circus. smart swooshy bastards.

Comment by andy@cynic

+ like

Comment by DH

Sherlock Boucher strikes again.

Would you mind awfully answering your phone, I am trying to get through but it’s constantly busy. Unless you’ve forgotten to pay your bill again.

Comment by Rob

and stop with this bollocks about not telling people what to do. i distinctly fucking remember you telling me i would be a fuckwit if i didnt move to the us. you were right, but then you fucked me over again by starting the journey to owning a fucking moneypit in vanfuckingcouver which i swear to fucking god you somehow knew about as part of your deal with satan.

the end.

Comment by andy@cynic

Moving overseas was the best thing I did. I never had any great desire to do it before I left, but when the opportunity came, I knew I’d always wonder what I’d be missing out on if I didn’t try.

I think your point about treating it like a new chapter, not replicating the old is a really good and important point. There are definitely downsides but the implication of only focusing on those is you never do anything different in your life. Some people are fine with that, I’m glad I’m not one of them.

Comment by Pete

What is the thing called opportunity that everybody keeps mentioning?

Comment by John

for campbell it was to marry so far out of his fucking league its like nottingham forest winning the european cup. twice. for me it was the chance to be financially raped by divorce lawyers. much higher standard of flesh ripping scum over here.

Comment by andy@cynic

Seems Bonnie is doing well given your level – and quantity – of vitriol. That makes me happy.

Comment by Rob

Nothing as dramatic as Rob or Andy, mine was simply a work transfer to Singapore in 1998. From there, the thought of moving country didn’t seem so daunting anymore so when I was offered a job in the states rather than go back home, I took it and have been here ever since.

Comment by Pete

Mine was less profound. It was simply the chance to see the sun every day.

Comment by George

You undersell the value of the advice you give Robert. While you rightly stop short of telling people what to do, you are still generous and encouraging with your views, as the email in this post, testifies.

Comment by George

You’re only saying that because my words are basically what I heard you say to others and then copied.

So in short, you’re complimenting yourself. Egotist.

Comment by Rob

I once told someone to follow their dreams, throw in the towel with recruitment and go back to art school and pursue a career in advertising, she later wrote to say she moved to BJ and became a planner at Saatchi, what went wrong?

Comment by Jean-Michel

Planners are bloody fools.

Comment by Rob

Takes one to know one.

Comment by DH

You are definitely a very good person to ask advice from. I imagine that probably gives you more email requests than you know how to deal with, but it’s nice to see it’s appreciated.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Hahaha … I can’t answer that really can I. Not just because it would make me a bigger egotist than Bono but because the judge of whether I give good advice is the poor sod who asked me in the first place.

Comment by Rob

Thanks for this Rob – found it really relatable.

I left my job recently and have been looking for a new gig (which makes this comment slightly ironic), but deciding to live/work abroad in London was one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made. My family and friends thought I was nuts at the time, for logical reasons: not knowing a single soul there, no job offer yet, plus the ‘flailing UK economy’ at the time. In hindsight, maybe I was crazy and just got lucky enough to survive.

With the help of Timehop, reading past journal entries and plenty of time to reflect on things, I’ve slowly come to realize how much I’ve grown as a person over the past year and a half, and how it’s broadened my thoughts and world view. Some pretty tough times along the way, but definitely worth it overall. It’s taught me to trust my intuition when it comes to making the ‘bigger’ choices in life.

Comment by nik poon (@nQuo)

Hello Nik … thank you so much for this comment, it’s made me really happy. Obviously I’m not talking about the hardship aspect of your decision, but the excitement and learning. I’d love to know how you go but the most important thing is to try and take in all that’s going on because quite often, you only get to do that way, way past the event and it never quite captures what you are feeling – and living through – at the time.

Comment by Rob

(It also seems quite addictive. If addiction could ever be a good thing.)

Comment by nik poon (@nQuo)

Addiction can be a great thing, it just depends what it is, why you have it and what you do with it.

Comment by Rob

Queen, hookers and Diet Coke are not good addictions.

Comment by John

Unless you are one of the members of Queen … a soft drink manufacture in Atlanta or a pimp.

Sadly, I’m none of those so your point is relevant.

Comment by Rob

Does the advice embrargo stretch to music and football teams? I hope so, for their sakes

Comment by northern

Funnily enough, no one has ever bothered to ask for my point of view on those subjects.

Comment by Rob

It’s touching that you think they’re asking for your advice when really they’re hoping to access your network.

Comment by John

Yes it is a lovely morning here.

Comment by John

Who the hell would want to be part of my network except the socially inept, social outcasts or losers.

Did you see what I did there?

Comment by Rob

Subtlety is your middle name.

Comment by John

By the way my adorable kids have given me a virus
Therefore I’m typing this on my comfy sofa with a pot of tea and the guardian
In fact why am I wasting time here I’ve endless thatcher attacks to read
She would probably be pleased that even in death she’s more effective that Cameron- no ones talking about benefits or economic disaster or rich tax cuts
Evil genius to the end

Comment by Northern

Yep … and the other thing she would be happy about is that she still has the ability to make the country care/talk more about politics than anyone post her leadership.

Actually, that’s quite a worthy achievement – or an incredibly bad indicement on all who followed her, from Tory to “New” Labour.

Comment by Rob

It’s true that you give good advice Rob. Thanks again.

Comment by Rafik

I honestly wasn’t fishing for compliments … but thank you. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t actually tell anyone what to do that ensures I can’t be blamed when they fuck things up that makes people think I’m better than I – and the rest of you – know I really am.

Comment by Rob

Don’t be shy Rob, you give great advice. (If you do the opposite of what you say)

Comment by DH

[…] Obviously they know no one reads my blog because I’ve written a lot about this, including a rant only last week. […]

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