"Should I take the overseas assignment?"
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Posted by: Barbara Francella
I have an
opportunity to work outside the country for two years, a role that would lead
to significant advancement. How do I weigh the pros and cons of accepting, but
uprooting my family?
If you are being afforded this opportunity and
can do it — take it! The business world is global. The best business leaders
are going to have global experience. Some progressive organizations are now
discounting employees for senior leadership positions until they have global
experience. So, if you are interested in advancing your career to the c-suite
level, this is a must.
When I was in a corporate role, I was asked to
consider an assignment in Japan. Well, I have a special needs son and that just
would not have worked for us. This is not just a "you” decision; this is a family decision. You and your spouse
or mate really need to have a heart-to-heart talk. The last thing you want is
to arrive overseas and one (or both) of you becomes depressed because you don’t
like the ways things are shaking out.
Put together a realistic plan. For example, if
needed, is your spouse willing to stay home for six months to get the kids
situated into the new environment while you are off to work?
The pros, to me, outweigh the cons, if it works
for your family. You and your family will be exposed to the rest of the world. This
will give you all a competitive advantage in the way that you see and
experience life. Granted, you will be farther away from your extended families,
but there’s always Skype! Make sure you
negotiate at least one paid trip per year back to the States for you and your
The one caution I would offer is to be very
intentional about maintaining relationships across the waters. "Out of sight,
out of mind” is not something that you want to be a part of your story. And
don’t forget to market your achievements and your ability to add greater value
to the organization.
If you take the opportunity, you need to knock
it out of the park to demonstrate leadership capacity. Just as important as
that, though, is ensuring that your sponsors are intact and advocating for you.
Trudy Bourgeois is happy to answer your career
questions. Please email them to NEW Communications Manager Barbara Grondin Francella.
Trudy Bourgeois is founder and CEO of The Center for
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