You and Your Career

A sound evaluation of your personality and your career opportunities is absolutely crucial. Sit down and brainstorm the pros and cons with your partner and a good friend, who knows you well and will discuss things with you. These are some important questions:   Your Personality  Certain personality traits are more favorably suited for overseas assignments in the Asian region.  Adaptability means being able to adjust your style to new and different circumstances. It suggests a naturally strong learning orientation at the personal level, not just work related learning.  Conscientiousness requires that you match your words to your actions. You follow through your promises. People can learn to trust you.  Optimism enables you to overcome adversity and be successful despite difficulties in your environment.  Decide how you rate in your personality. Find out how well suited you are to an assignment in Asia by testing yourself using some assessment tools on the Internet such as 'What Colour is Your Parachute'.   Situational Assessment Ask yourself if this period in your life is suitable for relocating to Southeast Asia. Assess your situation with the following questions:  Is there anything at home that needs my special attention?A lawsuit/economic difficulties.A marriage/divorce/birth/death in the family.A property sale/renovation/conversion.Aged/junior relatives.A chronic illness (in the family). • Does any member of the family or the partner have special medical, physical, psychological or educational needs? • Does my partner have to put on hold a promising or lucrative career?  Do we have any financial problems that cannot be met by one income?  Is it wise to uproot our children?  Do I have a stable partnership to carry through the length and difficulties of the assignment?   Are You Fit For the Job? Ask yourself the following questions:  Are you technically qualified for the assignment?  Are there any gaps that can be addressed by training seminars? Be honest!  Will you be able to communicate in the local or any other language spoken on assignment? It is important to know standard business and technical expressions of your trade, in the local language.  Are you ready to conduct business in a culturally adapted way?   Expatriate Qualities for Asia In harmony with the Chinese Philosophy of Confucianism your daily life in Southeast Asia will be ruled by one of his famous maxims: Never do to others, what you would not like them to do to you. In this context it is vital to have, maintain and give face. Face can be compared to having personal dignity, prestige and a high status and is a prized commodity in all aspects of social and business life.   To maintain the fragile balance of nature and man Asians submit to natural law and aspire to attain harmony what ever happens. As this behavior is in contrast to Western philosophy you need to question yourself about the following important traits. Are you:
Tolerant for ambiguity and differences? Self-reliant?
Open-minded? Self-motivated?
Stress proven? Humorous?
Show empathy and warmth? Patient?
Not cynical? Flexible?
Curious? Able to communicate well?
Highly goal-oriented? Adapt socially?
  Cross-Cultural Competence When working in an unfamiliar environment and culture, expatriate managers need to have the potential to adapt and succeed in the new culture within a specific time and to show the ability to apply their technical competence in high-risk situations.   Career Assessment Important career issues for you to consider:  Brainstorm the pros and cons with your partner.  Seek advice from a good friend, who knows you well and will help you.  What is your current career status?  What would be the next step on your career ladder?  Does the transfer to Southeast Asia allow you to jump steps on the career ladder?  When you complete this assignment, what will your company offer you when you return?  Are there any guarantees of promotion when you finish the assignment successfully?  How does the company repatriate expatriate employees into the job structure of headquarters?  Would you consider an international career, staying outside headquarters and the country more permanently?   The Company in the Host Country Important concerns about you and your company:  Status of your company: representative office, branch, regional headquarters, local subsidiary?  What will be your status in the host country?  Whom will you report to in your company locally,regionally?  Will you have an Southeast Asian boss and can you cope with this?  Are there clear set targets for your assignment and can you meet these?  Will there be a mentor in headquarters to monitor your development?     Back Next