by Brooke Faulkner

Whether on a short- or long-term assignment, expatriates should take advantage of all that
global mobility has to offer. Being appointed to new locations can further your professional
development, help bring the best professional practices to new places, and help your company expand its global network. This is all not to mention that on a personal fulfillment note, global mobility is a perfect opportunity to experience new cultures, meet new people, and learn new languages.

Businesses who appoint expats may know of the business advantages, and they may even
know of the benefits of global mobility. However, there are side effects of global mobility, and a significant drawback of an appointed expat is that they may become lonely in their selected location.

An expat can alleviate this sense of loneliness by giving back to their new community. An expat is in a very unique position to experience not only new cultures intimately, but potentially better business operations for their company. Giving back to your new community can make an expat feel less like a tourist and more of local.

Volunteering
Being an expat can be especially tough on families. Sometimes, duty stations will require you to leave your family behind and as a result, expats can become very lonely. However, things such as Skype and other video conferencing apps can alleviate some of these feelings of loneliness. In instances of an expat feeling isolated in a new region, volunteering can help you connect to your new community while helping to improve it.

Especially if you are an expat in a developing nation, there are many nonprofit organizations and social enterprises you can sign up with to make a difference in your area. While volunteering, you will meet new people, and may even make new friends from another culture. In fact, just by spending your downtime toward something productive and alongside other like-minded people, you can root yourself in the community and become more sociable — removing that sense of reclusiveness.

Not sure where to start? Many hospitals may be looking for help to facilitate their population-based health services, and if you live in a region where people are suffering from noncommunicable diseases, you can lend your services to make a difference in your new community. Volunteering is not only a great way of encouraging a positive global community, but you will meet new people and make new friends.

Spend Money in the Community
You may understand that small mom-and-pop stores benefit enormously from your business. Especially in developing nations, a vendor will appreciate you purchasing from them, as your money will go directly to them and their family. Buying locally not only supports local vendors, but will improve the local economy overall. It is essential in these instances to remember that no matter what amount of money you spend in your area, it will make a profound impact — especially to those in developing nations.

It is not hard to imagine that you will be a welcomed face if you have a reputation for spending money and time with local vendors and businesses. Spending locally is also an opportunity to make new friends, as local vendors and shops provide a more personalized service, and these businessmen and women will likely set aside time to converse with someone they appreciate. Get to know the local vendors in your new community and become a friendly face around town.

Help Your Fellow Expats
As an expat — now hopefully treated as a local resident as a result of your community contributions — you have the opportunity to help other expats feel at home in their new location. You know that a new expat may feel isolated just as you may have when starting out, so wouldn’t you want to make them feel included?

Show an expat who is new to the area the ropes and pay it forward by including them in your volunteer efforts. Make sure they understand the importance of local spending, and introduce them to vendors who you have become friends with by doing the same. With more and more people volunteering and spending locally, you’ll see improvements in the surrounding community.

It is easy to feel like you stick out like a sore thumb as an expat. You can also feel like you don’t belong in your new community — but local spending and volunteering can quickly take you from feeling like an outsider to being a friendly neighborhood face.


When clients ask me how they can fit more into their day I tell them to forget time management. We manage our time when we have enough. When we are stressed and under pressure of delivery we forget all of the methods and act like crazy headless chicken or chucks.

Over the years of my early career having worked with bankers I learnt that time is money and efficiency was considered a must. Responsiveness meant that I would call back immediately and respond to emails as fast as possible. Today I feel this paradigm has shifted to social media, what’s app and text messages. Anyhow, when you are constantly in response mode it is hard to get any work done. Moving into more managerial roles I had to re-learn how I prioritized and as a company owner it was again different. If you also struggle with being productive I have five tips for you to claim back your diary. You want to have more time with family and friends? You want to start a new hobby or continue one you started years ago and then dropped? You want to go running regularly? If your answer is “Yes, but I don’t have time.” Practice one or two of the methods given below.

diary 2

►Have-Done Diary

In consulting firms you have to maintain a timesheet in which you document daily how you use your time. This can be great to give you an understanding of where you are focused. You can increase the value of this exercise by maintaining a daily diary in which you document your accomplished tasks (Have-Done-Diary). I recommend a notebook and handwriting for this exercise.

►Time blocks with pomodoro-clocks

Find your most productive time in the day and block 90 minutes for creative and conceptual work. Set a kitchen timer for the task to 25 minutes. Work without picking up the phone or checking emails or Social Media. Then take a five minutes break.

Then work for another 25 minutes and take another 5 minutes break and a third junk. See how much you accomplish with this method. This is called Pomodoro-Method and you can even get a timer on your browser.

http://tomato-timer.com/

 

For many professionals the most important brain time is the early morning but I hear there is the other camp of night owls as well. So it is up to you to find your best 90 minutes in a day.

►Use an easy categorizer to determine where to start

Our most important tasks will have 80% of impact on our success only take 20% of our time according to the Pareto principle. 80% or our time we usually spend on important but less urgent and urgent but less important tasks which will only contribute 20% to our success. When you are overwhelmed use an easy categorizer. Work with an A, B, C categorization whenever you add a task to your diary or task list. Use your time block for A tasks.

►The Island

In your day build one island of peace. The island can be lunch with a good friend, a massage, running or sitting outside watching birds. The island of peace needs to fulfil two criteria:

1) You cannot take your smartphone or it has to be switched off.

2) You are not allowed to take away tasks from this place.

►Repetition, Routine, Checklists

Repetition, routine and checklists are great ways to take the stress out of tasks that need to be accomplished but should not require a lot of focus. I prefer to work on such tasks in the late afternoon or evening. Examples are packing for an event, preparing your travel cost claim. Color-coding, tagging, printing and filing

If you feel that you are constantly looking for documents, try color-coding folders according to topic, tag documents, put descriptors on paper files, file papers weekly, throw out junk, advertising and ask yourself before printing: What will be the added value of having this document on paper? Will I read it? Will it end up in a pile? Will I review it?

In my experience we print a lot of documents, magazines, whitepapers without looking at them ever. Do you also have 50 books and only started to read them? When you are like me you probably should stop yourself from buying more books until you are at least through 25 of them (and have written reviews on Amazon).

►Outsourcing housework

Finally I encourage you to outsource your housework from grocery shopping to cleaning. Most of the housework you might still be stuck with but at least you can win about three hours per week if your house is cleaned by another person. You will also notice that you keep the house tidier if you have regular external help. I also sublet my office so that I have to keep the space relatively clean. If I did not have regular client contact I would probably have post-it’s everywhere and drafts in progress on the floor.

Now practice one tip per week and let me know what happened.

 

►Read more:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229772

 

http://acuff.me/do-over/

 

http://www.briantracy.com/blog/leadership-success/practice-the-abc-method/

 

http://blog.idonethis.com/franklin-focus-on-daily-progress/

 

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/3367/10-Management-Lessons-From-Donald-Trump.aspx

 

http://fourhourworkweek.com/2014/06/16/not-to-do-lists-drugs-and-other-productivity-tricks/

 

 

►Related:

http://globalpeopletransitions.com/how-to-get-rid-of-clutter-in-five-steps-spring-cleaning-for-more-productivity/


high seatMost of my clients have to learn 101 new little details every day. Moving to another country is among the top 10 stress factors globally and often that stress shows in your body.

 

Ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Did you have to take care of several family members?
  2. Did you manage most of the move and are you still dealing with most of the housework?
  3. Do you take care of the child or children?
  4. Have your own needs fallen behind?
  5. Are you tense and do you feel a lack of sleep?
  6. Have you changed your nutritional habits?
  7. Have you gained or lost a lot of weight since moving here?

What you can do to help your body adjust to the new environment?

  1. Go for a 30-minute walk outside every day.
  2. Book a relaxation massage
  3. Practice mindfulness
  4. Listen to quiet music
  5. Practice active meditation
  6. Practice a relaxation method regularly such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
  7. Eat more vegetables and protein, reduce alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a guided exercise where you tense and release muscles in your body either sitting or lying down. It is proven to have a relaxing effect on the body and helps you into deep relaxation. It is best practiced daily at the same time of day (for example after lunch).

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFwCKKa–18

 

CD in English

http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Muscle-Relaxation-Minutes-%20Total/dp/B000YOZKRK

 

Active Meditation

http://www.osho.com/meditate/active-meditations/why-active-meditations

Airport

by Brooke Faulkner

Retraining into a different career or opening a small business isn’t easy under the best of circumstances. When you’ve decided to start over completely in a new country, the circumstances are rarely ideal. The pressure is on for so many reasons — moving is expensive, and you may only have one chance to make it. There may not be family and friends close by to pick you up if you fall. You’re likely being inundated with new experiences and culture shock, and maybe learning new skills is the last thing on your mind.

If you’re looking to take a new step in your career, however, or at starting a business in a new place, spending extra time on acquiring a business degree could be well worth it. Let’s go over the pros and cons.

As so many other people have proven, it’s very possible to thrive in a new country, and all that pressure might just be the motivation you need to start on a path that truly makes you happy.

The big questions are:

Should You Retrain With a Degree?

The short answer to this question is: it depends. In countries like America, where student debt is skyrocketing, it can be a difficult question and dependent on the resources available. In other countries like Germany, where tuition fees are subsidized, it’s a much easier proposition.

It’s impossible to say “yes, absolutely” or “no, definitely not,” because the world is full of different types of success. Some college dropouts go on to become extremely successful, while many jobs with high salaries won’t consider candidates without relevant degrees. Especially in the business world, roles and job titles are becoming more specialized, and companies hiring for management, finance, and other demanding roles like to see a strong background like a business degree.

As someone new to the country, you won’t have a local job history, and so a degree can provide the proof that you’re knowledgeable and skilled enough for the job.

Does the Type of Degree and Location Matter?

In a word, yes. One of the big questions to ask is where to get a degree to support a career transition. If you’re moving to somewhere where education is cheaper, you may want to wait. If you’re moving to somewhere that education is more expensive, it might be better to plan ahead and work on evening classes or online courses before you move.

Another angle to consider is how the country you’re moving to views the schools in the country you’re moving from. Some degrees are transferable from country to country, but many are not. If that’s the case, you might be wasting your time investing in higher education before you move, only to find out it’s not usable! Different countries will have different professional standards, and different demands in the job market. It may very well be that the country you’re moving from has more prestigious institutions. If the country you’re moving to doesn’t offer courses in a language you’re familiar with, that’s another reason to seek higher education before you move.

Online courses are a potential solution to this problem. You may be able to start studying abroad before you move. Or it might be in your best interests just to wait and plan on deciding what kind of new skills and education you need after you move.

Financing Options

Financial aid differs from country to country. The availability and amount of financial aid, and whether you qualify, should have a large impact on your decision. The amount of financial aid from government programs might be better in your home country, or the country you’re moving to might have specific grants and loans for immigrants or international students. Going to a country on a student visa first can often be a stepping stone toward future residence. Germany, for example, has abolished all tuition fees — even for international students.

Starting a Business in Another Country?

Some countries, such as Canada give preference to immigrants who are looking to start a business. Merit-based visa applications can be helped along greatly if you can prove that you’re going to create jobs. Do you need a business degree for that? Not necessarily! Canada, for example, just requires that you acquire support from designated Canadian investors. But you might need a degree to convince investors in your capabilities.

Bill Gates famously dropped out of school. He went on to build one of the biggest companies in the world. Steve Jobs dropped out too. In fact, there are plenty of stories of dropouts who made it big. As inspiring as it is, though, don’t let the hype cloud your judgement. For every famous dropout, there are so many more dropouts who don’t make it. Since we see the famous ones talked about a lot, it’s easy to buy into the dropout myth — that higher education is not necessary.

While it’s absolutely possible to succeed as a business owner without a business degree, getting the right degree can help reduce the risk of failure immensely — and in the business world, the risk of failure is very high. According to Investopedia: “The SBA states that only 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10. The SBA goes on to state that only 25% make it to 15 years or more.”

Getting the right education gives you the knowledge to start up successfully and future-proof your business against mistakes made early on, that become disastrous later. You’ll learn a lot of the details about running a small business that you might otherwise not know or learn without training and mentorship. You’ll learn lessons the easy way, in a safe environment, instead of learning them during business failure.

So, is a business degree worth it? Honestly, that’s up to you. Like everything in life, a degree’s worth is in how it’s used. The wrong degree could be a waste or a hindrance, but the right one could set you up for success in a way nothing else can.

In many cases what you’ll want is good information. That could come in the form of a career or academic advisor based in the country you’re interested in moving to.

Need further guidance?

Check out Angie Weinberger’s Global Career Workbook or sign up to our website as a Reader of the Global People Club Sandwich.

Degrees in Global Mobility:

MasterCourse Human Resources and Global Mobility

Please mention AngieWeinberger for a discount

Brooke Faulkner

Brooke Faulkner is a writer in the Pacific Northwest who has conducted business all over the world. You can find more of her writing on Twitter via @faulknercreek

#digitalnomads #knowledgeworkers #globalmobility

 

In the series “Seven Principles of Intercultural Effectiveness” I would like to introduce you to seven way of being more effective in intercultural communication. We have covered principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 in previous posts. Principle 7 is called
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I speak slow and use simple language.

English is a global language. However, if we are speaking as non-native speakers to other non-native speakers there could be a lot of misunderstanding. Even if English native speakers with different accents speak to each other there are miscommunications. In order to become more effective across cultures it is important to speak slow and use simple language. There is no point in showing off your rich, academic vocabulary or your eloquence in inventing words if no one understands you. You can use your eloquence in communication addressed to native speakers but even then you want to be understood. Check in with your counterparts and make sure that your language is appropriate.