Looking through an expatriate’s eyes.

Posted by Δημήτρης Τιμοθεάτος on Κυριακή, Μαΐου 31, 2015 with No comments



By Haris Bailas

Being an expatriate is completely different to working abroad. 
Even when you spend all your working days in another country, arrive on Monday morning and leave on Friday evening, still it is completely different to actually live in another country. It is completely different to take along your wife or family, spend weekends and pay another country utilities’ bills... Every expatriate previously working on exports, which is in most cases the previous step, can assure you on this.

It is obviously a big decision for anyone and I am not going to trouble you by analyzing the advantages or disadvantages. Neither going to debate on the decision criteria or criticize the working environment of each country.

After all, the above vary from one country to another and are different from one individual to another.

(Despite, everyone agrees that in order to decide to leave your country, the financial benefits should be at a “good’ level and the job perspectives optimistic.)

Having discussed with several other expatriates, I am going to emphasize on my conclusions about the common primary positive aspects, being an expatriate plays to your business mentality and future character - regardless of which country you decide to re-allocate or which job offer you decide to accept.

Focus only on business and family

Priorities are always hard to keep. Everyone may understand the importance of been dedicated to his daily tasks and his overall objectives (either personal or within an organization). Despite, it is not always easy not to be distracted by everyday additional “attractions”. Meeting and socializing with friends and acquaintances, additional hobbies – which you just do not want to give up -, political and financial discussions or updates are only a few of the things that may keep you occupied within a day.

Of course, free time is essential for each individual to keep his/her mental and inner balance. Who can set the boundary and limits though? Who can say that enough is enough of attractions in one day? When you are working as an expatriate you will definitely have less “attractions”.

As a result, you may see your personal performance growing at work and the time spend with your family being more qualitative. You will not change your character from one day to another, but you will learn to recognize and categorize any distraction and how much they used to affect your daily time management. You will see your productivity levels growing and you will be able to deal with difficult subjects much easier than before.

Change your perspective on living standards

Although I have lived abroad as a student and I was working during the time of my studies as much as possible, I always knew that I had an alternative, considering that situation as temporarily.

Being obligated to compromise, change or learn - in general - how to cope with a new permanent situation, will help you to see things through a different perspective.

These new periences will increase your adjustability and response time to all situations, helping you to cope with unexpected incidents either in your personal or business life.

A very good example is the personal relationships and I am not referring specifically to becoming somebody’s friend. You will need to build everyday relationships with someone that has a different nationality than yours, thus different mentality in general. All nations have gone through different maturing processes, so either they are on a higher or lower level you will need to understand their way of thinking and reacting. What is more, in case you will have the curiosity to understand the reasons behind another way of thinking, you will start to recognize how different character patterns may be treated. Most importantly though you will realize how you should react upon this process.

Thus, either you will appreciate or not your new living standards, you will have gained a very strong “inner know-how” on your character and the true things you personally esteem the most.

Opportunities

Travelling, on the whole, helps you identify business opportunities, living abroad though, will not only reveal such opportunities, will help you also to realize them. After all, the reality is that a good business opportunity is far away from a realized one.

Very commonly, during business travels, everyone has come across such a notion. Despite, everyday tasks and “routine” will allow very little time to put an idea in place and start its realization. As time goes by the idea faints. When you are living abroad though, you have a stable, everyday interaction with the “opportunity”, it will not faint so easily. Most importantly, you may have far more time to plan and organize its realization. Since “distractions”, as per above paragraph, will also be less, the realization of such an opportunity will have much more possibilities to become real.

Business opportunities may vary and be either for your personal or your organization’s benefit. Regardless of who they benefit, they will help you grow in the business world and develop your entrepreneurship skills. Hence, you will develop the ability to identify “actual” business opportunities – the ones that have an actual potential of being realized - much easier than before.

Recognize the ones who truly care about you
Last but not least is not something that will happen to you or your character during your stay in another country, but something connected with the past and your “home”. Except family members, who will always accept you as what you are to them (brother, son, cousin etc.), you will certainly notice a difference in the behavior of so call “friends” and acquaintances.

It is true that people that want to be in contact with you, will be in contact no matter how far you are. These people will think about you and will show it one way or another. On the contrary, people you may thought of as best friends will “disappear” with the distance as an excuse.

You may be truly surprised on how things may be completely different to what you though initially. Accordingly, you will build experience on people’s behavior, which is too precious to be evaluated.

Are you living abroad or considering it? I would appreciate to receive your thoughts or opinion on my article. Please contact me at harisisbailas@hotmail.com