Career-oriented expat partners might fret over their future job prospects when going on assignment or, looking ahead, when repatriated. If so, they should think positively and keep active. They’re on their way to becoming a highly-employable ‘Global Cosmopolitan’.
What is a global cosmopolitan? Linda Brimm, author of The Global Cosmopolitan Mindset sees them as “highly-educated and multilingual professionals who have already lived, worked, and studied for extensive periods outside their home regions.” In the eyes of large organisations with global operations, they’re also highly-prized candidates. From our perspective at Global Connection, we’d like to stress that expat partners don’t have to be working while on assignment to be bolstering their credentials as a ‘Global Cosmopolitan’.
There are many variables in play with each and every assignment. Once on location, expat partners might have discovered there are scant job opportunities. There may be other reasons why they can’t work (e.g. work permits) or choose not to work (low salaries). But they need to keep a positive mindset. Their assignment should be used to take on new challenges. No matter how partners keep themselves occupied they will be picking up skills that Brimm believes will leave them better equipped to tackle complex challenges than their less-global peers.
Five significant advantages
According to her, there are five advantages that Global Cosmopolitans bring to the table for companies operating internationally: 1) they consider change as normal, positive, and a source of opportunity; 2) they rely on creative, outsider thinking and adaptation to confront new situations; 3) they are able to reinvent themselves and experiment with new identities as they move into new settings; 4) they become experts at the subtle and emotional aspects of transition; 5) they easily learn and use new ways of thinking, taking risks that lead to self-efficacy.
Being abroad brings a gilt-edged opportunity for partners to enhance cross-cultural competency and broaden their worldview. Having a positive attitude towards cultural differences, knowledge of different cultural practices and the ability to understand and communicate with people whose backgrounds differ from their own. These are the skills that large organisations with global operations covet. So even if a partner cannot directly transplant their career to another country, they can develop important skills for their future career. Partners should discuss their ideas on keeping occupied and staying fulfilled as they undergo their transformation to a Global Cosmopolitan. And Global Connection’s consultants are always on hand to facilitate this discussion.