I have reached the three-month mark into my Global Fellowship. I was warned that this could be a critical period – it is when the initial excitement dwindles, homesickness kicks in and challenges of navigating a different market overwhelms you. I agree that, work-wise, there is much to learn and hurdles to overcome, but at the same time I feel happily acclimated to the new environment.
So, what has helped make my transition an incredible experience? Here are a few considerations:
- Share a Clear Vision
At Edelman, we all share the clear goal of evolving towards communications marketing. Edelman-ers are constantly involved in discussions around the progress of this journey. The strong corporate identity reminded me that although I may be moving across continents, I still belong within Edelman.
Because we share this vision, it also allows us to speak the same language. Here I don’t mean the languages spoken in different countries, but rather what may be considered an ‘Edel-language.’ English is not my first language but the language barrier is less overwhelming when we share a common vocabulary: earned-centric, social-by-design, media cloverleaf, client strategist… the list goes on.
- Live the Same Culture
Linked very closely with the vision and language is our culture. In addition to the client-centric environment, we are enthusiastic about making Edelman a fun place to work. For example, Living in Color is the belief that the life outside of the office is just as important as the work we do at the office for us to show up differently.
Living in Color is alive and well in the Washington, D.C. office as it is in Seoul, and it is interesting to observe the differences. In the community-based culture in Korea, Living in Color means team-building with your practice by enjoying everything from wine-tasting to softball on the Han River. Being a larger office, Living in DColor comes in a variety of forms from Edelween, where we had the adorable children running around for trick or treats (this was the first day of my Fellowship and I was instantly cured of newcomer nervousness), to Improv, which inspired me to step outside of box and be courageous.
- Have the BEST People
Last year in Korea, I happened to meet a Buddhist monk who was well-versed with Saju (사주; 四柱), an eastern philosophy that studies a person’s destiny. As I tried to be respectful and hid my skepticism, he eagerly told me that, in a very near future, everyone will be assisting me on my way to achieving my goals.
Somehow his words did come true. During the first months of global mobility, one has to completely rely on the guidance and kindness of the people around oneself. I am always amazed at how our leadership and colleagues find time to be friendly and supportive despite their crazy schedules. I received great insights from the most senior leaders in both my host and home region. Some of the leaders, whom I haven’t even met, were eager to help me grow and guide me in exploring a new landscape.
The opportunities at Edelman should be an encouragement for colleagues who are interested in taking an international assignment, or guidance for companies aiming to develop successful global mobility programs. If you want to be a globetrotter, Edelman is a place to do it. I don’t know what the next few months have in store but thanks to Edelman, I can say, “bring it on!”
Image by Pim Pim.