Is Accepting An International Assignment Always The Right Choice?
You’ve worked hard, climbed the career ladder successfully and are now being offered an international assignment. Whilst it sounds like an amazing opportunity, is it right for you?
There are many factors to consider, including some that may not immediately jump to mind. The natural first question is, is it right for you and your family? For example:
- Have you always wanted to expose your kids to other countries, cultures and languages?
- Do you feel that your family could benefit from a change of scenery, that an international assignment could provide?
- If your kids are a year away from graduating high school and going to college, you may decide that it is a bad time to uproot your family and move half way around the World.
- If your spouse has a successful career as well, moving your family to a country where spouses are not permitted work visas could be a deal breaker.
- Do you have extended family that currently relies on you?
Once you’ve analyzed every aspect of your personal lives, think about your career and your current employer:
- How have international assignments affected your colleagues’ career paths?
- What will happen at the end of the assignment when you are repatriated?
- Is this assignment a one off, or might there be a second one to follow?
- What would happen if you decide not to accept the assignment?
There are lots of issues to consider. If you have concerns or aren’t sure about the ins and outs of living overseas, find someone who does, and seek their advice. A colleague or friend with experience, or seek the advice of a professional. This will allay some of your fears; you may discover that you are making a mountains out of a molehill. It may also raise issues you hadn’t fully considered yet; maybe they are mountains, and not molehills!
After talking it through, some people decide an international assignment isn’t the right choice for them. Don’t be afraid to say so. It is better to discover that now than 6 months in. For those who decide it’s right, you will be all the more confident going into the assignment knowing that you have done your research and considered everything.