Monday, June 11, 2007

My Reasons For Taking An Expat Assignment

During my career, I have done one expatriate (expat, for short) assignment in Japan. Prior to that, I had done extended stay assignments in Europe. The difference is that an expat assignment requires relocation, while an extended stay assignment is a long business trip with occasional travel home. As background, we originally turned down the first offer of an expat assignment for personal reasons. On the second offer, which was exactly the same, we decided to accept when we determined the personal reasons were not going to be issues. (More on the personal reasons in another post.)

Here are the reasons we decided to take the expat assignment offer, in order of importance:

Promotion. The assignment was an increase in responsibility and level. In addition, the assignment accelerated the promotion by at least 3-5 years. There was also a reasonable possibility that I might not have gotten promoted without the move.If it had not been an advancement, I would not have accepted. At the time, we did not have any children but I did not feel it was worth a family upheaval for only an international, lateral move.

Broadening Experience. I had spent my entire career in the US, where our company is very strong. In the eighties, we began expanding internationally. For many of those new countries, we were not a major competitor. In fact, there often was strong local competition. In addition, it was an opportunity to learn about different market needs and how to address them effectively.

Location. While we had not originally considered Japan as a potential work location, conversations with several people who had been in Japan and Europe convinced us that Japan was a great option, in spite of the distance. We had never traveled to Asia and Japan was one of the safest locations in which to live.

At the time of our assignment, we did not have children yet. Children would have increased the number of factors we would have considered.

For more on Strategies and Plans, check back every Monday for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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