Why You Need to Accept that International Assignment (Part 1)

Relocation Decision MakingThe decision to take an International Assignment is a difficult one. The excitement of international travel and a new challenge in a different country definitely have their appeal. However, the obstacles associated with an International Assignment can certainly be high as well. You have to move away from a familiar life at home and at work, change is never easy, and the fear of the unknown always looms large. In light of this, should you take an International Assignment? In most cases the answer should still be Yes and we are going to tell you why.

First you may want to consider if you are an ideal candidate for an International Assignment by visiting our recent post on the topic, but like with most major decisions in life you won’t know if it was the right decision until you decide to make it. In addition, there are certainly some risks to taking an International Assignment but the risk of missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity may be much greater. You can live the rest of your life in your home country but you may never be offered the opportunity to take an International Assignment ever again. That is why if you are fortunate enough to given the opportunity you should take it. If it turns out that you don’t enjoy your assignment, you can simply return to your home country after it is done but if you don’t take the opportunity you will never know what you would have missed.

We are breaking this post up into two parts to focus on two different sets of reasons why you should take an International Assignment. In today’s post we will talk about why you need to accept that International Assignment for your career, and then in Part Two we will talk about why you need to accept an International Assignment from a life experience/family perspective.

Why should I take an International Assignment?

Builds the Resume. When you are invited to take an International Relocation you should take it because there may be no other experience that adds to your resume more. Inherent in the opportunity is most likely a promotion which instantly builds the resume but more than that a recent study has shown that 7 of 10 Fortune 100 C-Level Executives have had International Assignment experience in their past. Taking an International Relocation can only help you rise up the corporate ladder.

Become a Multi-Cultural Pro. When you take an International Assignment it gives you an opportunity to add to your multi-cultural tool belt. Everyday you will be challenged by cultures different from your own in the workplace. Learning to manage people of different cultures than your own is an increasingly valuable asset today. In addition to this there is no better way to learn a foreign language than immersion, you can use the opportunity of your international relocation to pick up a foreign language in a relatively short amount of time.

Work with Clear Objectives. An International Assignment in the strictest terms is a temporary relocation with the assumption that you would either relocate back to your departure country or take a rotational international assignment to your next location once the goal of your project is done. As a result of the assignment being a big investment by your company and because of how assignments are project oriented the goals of your International Assignment should be very clear. In a well-managed Relocation Program you should know what you are sent to do and how much time you have to carry out your tasks.

International Relocation Opportunities are Rare. The opportunity to have to secure a stable job overseas is very rare because of the costs to the corporation involved with relocating an individual (and their families) overseas. Often times the cost of the International Relocation costs three times as much (or more) as employee’s annual salary over the course of the assignment. If you were trying to take an International Relocation without the help of your company (and their Relocation Management Company) it might be prohibitively expensive to do on your own so take the opportunity to relocate when the option is available.

Expands Your Network. As we said above, taking an International Assignment builds your resume and puts you on the fast track to executive leadership but it is also an opportunity to significantly expand your network to people from all over the world. This will broaden your perspective and give you access to more job opportunities and career resources that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t take the assignment in the first place.

When the opportunity presents itself to take an International Assignment take some time to think about all the benefits to your career before you close the door. Even some things that seem like impossible barriers to taking the International Assignment can be overcome with the help of your HR department and your Relocation Company. Before saying No, look for ways to say Yes to the great opportunity of an International Assignment.

What are some other reasons someone should take an International Assignment? Let us know in the comments below, or on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter!

Update: To read the second part of our two-part series on Why You Need to Accept that International Assignment, please click here: Why You Need to Accept that International Assignment (Part 2).

This was posted by

Mike Morabito

Mike Morabito – who has written 210 posts on The Paragon Relocation Blog.

Mike has over 10 years of relocation experience working for Paragon Relocation. Mike is recognized by Worldwide ERC as a Certified Relocation Professional (CRP) and a Global Mobility Specialist (GMS).

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