Working Abroad

Back to discussing something actually related to The University of Melbourne for once.

I come across so many students or new graduates that are obsessed with making the move abroad. I get it, I did it myself as a good opportunity came up. But there’s always a few considerations that I’d recommend people to explore before jumping on the bandwagon.

  • Where does it fit in with your overall plan?

So going abroad to work is beneficial, it’s exciting, you work with different people from different cultures and you get exposure to so many new areas that you may not have gotten back in Australia.

Consider these:

Are you taking a big pay cut for this?

  • We all work for money, taking a pay cut for a year or two isn’t the worst thing if you’re enriching yourself through experiences and exposure, but longer term, if you have aspirations to buy property, invest, start a family one day, it might be worthwhile to remember there is an end point to all this.

Are you potentially hurting your prospects back home once you return?

  • Big one, Australia being a migration hot spot values local experience over overseas experience, since every Tom, Dinh and Habib has worked in random gigs in bottom tier shitholes before finding a better life in Australia, you don’t want to be classed alongside them once you’re back

Will you gain skills and experience that you’ll be able to market later or is this just an extended vacation?

  • Working in Silicon Valley, New York and Hong Kong is incredible, working in expat hot spots with similar like-minded folk that are at the tip of their industry is probably more likely to be a CV-boost or neutraliser, but working in Mexico City or some other random exotic place will definitely give you a lot of experiences and skills, but marketing them is another concern. If you’re just after having fun and partying, then maybe go to those exotic places on a sabbatical rather than take a trash gig and doing multiple years undoing the hard work you’ve done building yourself up in your own country.

 

  • What stage are of life are you in?

Basically, how old are you. If you’re 24, with a few years of experience under your belt, a couple of years doing a mundane gig in South East Asia whilst you slay puss, travel and party won’t do you too much harm, just re-build for a year or so once you’re back in Australia and then you’ll be OK.

However, if you’re in your 30’s and doing the same, with the level of commitments that you’ll have then in the prime of your working life it just doesn’t add up. The opportunity cost will be high and recovering from those types of career hits are a lot harder the deeper in you are.

  • What comes after?

Do you plan to come back and pick up where you left off? Change paths? Although even for me, the plans changed so much over the years, at least have a hazy end goal in mind so you have some direction.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of being so deep into the hedonistic pleasures experienced abroad that you just lose yourself, and then if/when the party ends, you’re washed up without much hope once you’re back.

I would say living overseas is and continues to be one of the best things that ever happened to me, it relaxed me from the poison of Melbourne and gave me perspectives that allowed me to mature and gain independence by leaving my comfort zone.

Definitely something I would recommend.

One thought on “Working Abroad

  1. Christine says:

    You can also choose to volunteer overseas. Volunteering can be a meaningful way to learn and help others while you travel! I did this and it worked out really well for me.

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