Wavemaker encourages employees to work abroad

A beach in Bermuda

In a popular LinkedIn post, UK Marketing Director Loren Penney-Thomas described working abroad as the best career decision you’ll make. I believe she’s right.

She explains that her company Wavemaker, a London-based media agency, gives its staff opportunities to work overseas under its Globaltrotters programme:

which gives staff the opportunity to be immersed into another global market for a 2-3 week cultural and learning experience. With destinations such as Lisbon and Singapore, Sydney and Dubai, the beauty is that you don’t know where you’re going to go; it’s the ultimate work roulette for nomadic souls.

Wavemaker announced last month on its Facebook page that eight ‘Wavemakers’ were selected to experience a destination that included Dubai, Sydney, Dusseldorf, Hong Kong, Warsaw, Singapore, Istanbul or London.

It’s a great initiative that more companies should be offering, while 2-3 weeks of course is a mere teaser (it takes years to get to know a culture properly). Also, people should experience an overseas culture and work environment first before fully committing to a long-term overseas assignment, which is fraught with risk.

Working abroad is not only a great career decision – in many cases it’s a great life decision. There is a gargantuan difference between travel to a foreign location on holiday and fully immersing yourself in it (the good, the bad, and the ugly).

I remember visiting places like Malaysia for the first time as a tourist, and while fun and ‘exotic’, unravelling them like an onion took years. But with that came things like deep and meaningful friendships, the acquisition of new skills and knowledge, empathy, experiencing cultural celebrations, and travel to destinations recommended by locals rather than foreigners.

Professional leaves Brexit Britain – and tells world on LinkedIn

Hong Kong skyline

A while back I suggested that it’s better to be bold amidst so much Brexit confusion, and it looks as if a Millennial worker from the UK is being precisely that – making his own way, whether PM May has a full Brexit mandate or none.

In an engaging LinkedIn piece that has racked up 7,500 views, Jon Davies (who like me went to school in Berkshire, though that’s where the similarities end) described how he packed his belongings into a 30kg case and left for Hong Kong – without a new job lined up.

At 8:10 tonight the wheels of Cathay Pacific flight CX256 to Hong Kong will leave the tarmac of Heathrow airport and my own Brexit will be complete. Now that Article 50 has been triggered it feels there is little upside for a young person with ambition to stay in a country that will be embroiled in great uncertainty for the next 2 years at least.

In the first Brexit postcard from Hong Kong of what might become several LinkedIn Pulse posts on his settling in as an expat, Jon, a City professional, shared his diligent approaches towards finding opportunities (I’m not convinced personally that life is better with Excel, Jon, but I admire your efficiency!):

Create a master contacts/opportunities spreadsheet. A CRM tool if you will. Let’s face it life is just better with a master spreadsheet. That is already done. Fire out emails to all existing contacts on the ground in Hong Kong to get the networking ball rolling.

Is there anyone out there planning a similar move? I’d be interested in hearing from you!

Young Brits encouraged to acquire China work experience

Great Wall of China

Big advertising boss Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and CEO of WPP, has posted a rousing article on LinkedIn, To Move Upward, Move Outward, about the importance of acquiring overseas work experience, China specifically, explaining that:

In a world becoming smaller every day through globalisation and digital connectivity, we need people who can demonstrate they have what it takes to succeed in this environment. Increasingly, employers are looking for knowledge of markets beyond the West, an international outlook and the willingness to be mobile.

Sir Martin was writing as a “Leading Light”, or influential figure who has benefited from China, championing the British Council’s Generation UK: China Network, which recently celebrated its first birthday. The initiative aims to connect all UK nationals with China experience so that they continue and deepen their engagement with China. Specifically, it supports student employability and skills development, and provides a platform for Brits to further their business, academic and entrepreneurial connections to China.

As part of the campaign, the British Council will be hosting an event this Thursday on opportunities to study, work, teach or complete research in China. If you are flirting with the idea of moving to the Middle Kingdom, head on down to the British Council’s London HQ on 13 October. The two-hour event will start at 11am (full details and registration here). Who knows where a stint in this extraordinary country might take you?

British nationals with China experience already, meanwhile, can apply to join the Generation UK: China Network on LinkedIn, now numbering almost 2,500 members, to connect with other China alumni. Joining the network also provides access to high-profile speaker events, Alumni Awards and career opportunities. Sounds hen hao to me!