Matt Nobles on Working Abroad [Podcast]

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By Adam Turteltaub

A lot of people, myself included, have wondered what it would be like to live and work, abroad. Matt Nobles, Chief Compliance Officer – Middle East & Africa for GE Gas Power has lived the life, even as a child. As he shares in this podcast he spent his childhood as an ex-patriot kid living in Southeast Asia, and for many years now he has lived in Dubai.

It’s a life he has enjoyed greatly, meeting people from all over the world, and experiencing a wide range of cultures, food, music and art. It has also enabled him to expand his network and count friends all over the world.

His family has benefitted too, with his children enjoying an experience they would not otherwise have had.

In terms of one’s career, time spent in another country can have many benefits. A short-term assignment in a difficult region could leave to promotions when returning home. Alternatively, one assignment abroad could to another and another, and a life of living all over the world.

So what should you do if you have the desire to live and work abroad? First, he recommends considering the unique aspects of the region you are contemplating, the cost of being far away from family and the opportunities in that region versus others.

When you get to your new posting, he recommends spending the first 90 days listening as much as possible. Connect with your local team, learn their compliance challenges and the local dynamics. These include cultural, geopolitical, and legal factors.

Next dig into legacy issues to understand what has gone wrong in the past, and how it has been fixed, or still needs to be.

On the personal side, the first thing, of course, is getting yourself and family settled in. Then build out a local community for yourself to make the experience more enjoyable for you and your family. Be sure to take advantage of local experiences. Expat blogs and even books can be very helpful in helping you understand the region and the local mindset.

One mistake to avoid, he warns, is trying to focus on the American or Western way of doing things. Don’t go charging in with a fixed view. Instead, listen carefully to learn how things are done locally.

Listen in to learn more, and then, maybe, start packing your bags.