If (Job) Opportunity Knocked…

…would you hear it?

Like many others around the world, I’ve been following the international coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement in America. I’ve also read many of the personal stories people are sharing about their struggles in the face of the current economy. While lighting a spark to re-think (and hopefully re-create) the structures that have America’s economy in a choke-hold is a high priority, for many the more immediate need is to – finally – find suitable and sustainable employment.

This is true for many Americans, of course, but as a group African-Americans (and other minorities) are especially hard hit!

For some people the global marketplace can offer the advantage of  qualified employment opportunities. That’s why I would recommend that any job-seekers who are able to look beyond their local employment listings actively seek  the challenge of a position abroad. In addition to insuring a much-needed regular pay check,  working outside the U.S.  can provide you with other career-related benefits:

  • a unique perspective on your particular field
  • an opportunity to increase your intercultural acumen
  • contact, contact, contacts

Add to that the turbo-boost to your personal development, and it can be a very enticing package!

The most recent edition of blackexpat.com paints an extremely vivid portrait of one woman’s sojourn into the world of international employment. Although Dr. Andrea Stith visited France during high school

She got her first chance as a freshman in high school where she went on a school trip to France and was (horrors!) able to drink wine as a minor. She visited Paris, Nice, and the Swiss border and loved it.

she missed out on the opportunity to study abroad during university

she never took advantage of her college’s summer abroad program to her regret. Having missed that experience, she vowed to compensate later. “My undergrad university had a fantastic study abroad program, which I didn’t pause to take part in. I regretted it always, and really made travel a personal priority…but I finally decided in my mid-30’s that it was time to move abroad.

By the time she was 30, however, she wanted to make good on her commitment to live and work abroad. Now an assistant professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University, Dr. Stith is among the growing number of African-Americans enhancing their CVs and enriching their lives by accepting the challenge of living abroad.

Click to read more about Dr. Stith and her take on living and working in China.

Obviously, working abroad isn’t the answer for everyone. Other countries are also suffering from the fall-out of the current global crisis, and in order to take advantage of available international opportunities, you must have a skill set that is both relevant and transferable.

However, if you’re willing to think creatively when it comes to defining your areas of expertise, as well as defining the geography of your search, you may just find a door to opportunity opening that you never knew existed!

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