Some mornings I wake up and think I am still dreaming.
I look around my room and remember that I am in my London flat, not my New York apartment.
What am I doing here?
Though New York is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most exciting cities, I jumped at the opportunity to transfer to Interbrand’s London office
from our NYC headquarters.
Ever since I studied abroad in London during college, I had always wanted to come back and live here again. I love English culture: Sunday roasts and afternoon tea, the cozy pubs, the tube, the tiny mews streets (where rows of stables had been built to accommodate horse-drawn carriages in the 17th and 18th centuries).
Since arriving, I have learned to use a Bialetti to make my coffee; I can successfully manage climbing and descending the staircase on a swaying double decker bus; I know that there is a secret, quicker way to transfer between the Piccadilly and Northern lines at King’s Cross, and I have figured out the correct time to use the word “pissed” (i.e., drunk, not angry).
In my role at Interbrand, I work with members of our Human Resources team from all over our network. With my central placement in London, I can have a 9am call with our Shanghai team, a mid-morning meeting here in London, and a late afternoon call with New York or our Midwest offices. I love the global aspect of my work and the fact that the programmes I manage touch all of our employees. But mostly, I love coming to work because of our team. My co-workers come from all over the world, speak numerous languages, have great senses of humour, and are some of the most brilliant minds I’ve ever encountered. Every day is different and, as the branding world continues to evolve, our work continues to change as well, which always keeps things fresh and interesting.
Living and working abroad is not always easy, but I would recommend it for anyone who has the opportunity. Not only do you learn a lot about yourself very quickly, but you also become generally more adaptable, able to think “outside the box”, and learn to collaborate with others who come from a culture and background that is different—sometimes very different—from your own. It’s a tremendous way to grow, both personally and professionally.
Fortunately, today’s professionals are getting to experience more of the world as globalisation continues to push organisations across time zones and change the way we work. Having the opportunity to live abroad is priceless and learning about markets outside one’s home country is incredibly valuable. I am truly thankful to be working for a company that encourages global mobility, and that I get to oversee this programme—we average 19 office transfers a year!
Our transferees, when asked about their experiences abroad, have reported so many positive things. Nearly everyone says they’ve benefitted from being pushed outside their comfort zones and having the opportunity to meet new people, all of which has fostered personal growth, and also strengthened the ties among our offices. The relationships that we form abroad, and the skills that we learn, will be invaluable in our careers.
Are you interested in a life-changing role at a world-changing company? Take a look at the open roles around our network and let us know if you’d like to join us.
Sarah Kornblum is a Global Human Resource Manager at Interbrand.