When your International Assignment Feels Like a Career Side Step – Five Tips to get Back on your Performance Track

Have you ever wondered what you are doing there in Shanghai, Pune or Moscow? Is this international assignment really a career step for you or do you feel that the tasks you have are less challenging than in your previous role? Have you felt a bit downgraded even though you might earn more money than ever?

It could be that you are a victim of a corporate strategy that does not really work out the international assignment business case but just sends “talents” abroad to give them “international exposure” or you were sent abroad to fill a gap, to replace a critical key person on a short notice. It was easier to send an assignee than to hire from the local market. Maybe your knowledge, skills and experience also justify that you were selected for the role but still…

You feel you are not working up to your full potential.

Here are five tips how you can improve such a situation:

  • Draft your international assignment business case by showing the business value of your assignment. Show facts and figures about how you can improve sales, research or processes in the new location. Discuss quarterly targets with your host sponsor. Ensure that these are filed and reported back to your home location.
  • Address the issue with your home sponsor on your next home leave. Discuss what you think is lacking for your career development. Make sure that the sponsor sees your development as a responsibility and regularly connect with her or him.
  • Journal your experience as it might be a perception error due to culture shock. Speak with an intercultural career advisor about critical incidents in the host location that give you the feeling that you are “an outsider” or “off track” or “performing badly”.
  • Ensure that your training and development history is updated in your home location regularly and that you keep your profile updated on any skill sites (internally and externally). Update LinkedIn at least every three months.
  • Build your professional network in the host location by attending business networks, industry group events and seminars. You will profit from your connections even when you move to another location.Reizigers 4


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