Michele Bar-Pereg investigates ways in which global mobility professionals can assist this group in making their assignments successful.
Transferees on their first assignments abroad— especially young, single expatriates—often are unaware of some of the more challenging effects of life without a support network of friends, family, and colleagues.
I have discovered a general feeling among global mobility professionals that, back in the 1980s and even 1990s, ambitious executives clearly did not discuss or influence their career prospects by talking about the separation of work and personal life. It was a far more macho society, where ambition was all that seemed to matter. Today, most singles on the global mobility career path have a far more balanced view of the segregation of work and personal life.
Single transferees often assume that they have a trouble-free paradise in front of them. They not only have their youth, but they are on the first step of the career ladder—often without some of the physical and emotional baggage of their counterparts—and appear to be able to function without the network of home, family, and other social associations.
On the surface, it sometimes appears that it is relatively easy for young people to recognise country cultures and deal with life accordingly. Younger people seem to be able to capitalise on similarities without being too bothered by the differences. This is, of course, to the good; however, our younger transferees often are caught off-guard when cultural differences emerge and suddenly get in the way of doing business.
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