Tuesday, 2 April 2013


The myths and realities provide a glimpse into some of the perceived advantages and disadvantages which motivate individuals to pursue international work. They may raise important questions about your own motivations and desire to pursue an international career. The major motivations most international job seekers exhibit appear to be:

  1. Money: Everybody wants it but only a few people really make big money in international jobs and careers. The biggest money is usually made by people who manage other peoples' moneythe investors, bankers, and venture capitalists who operate on percentages and at high risk levels.

  2. Many international jobs pay excellent salaries which may also be exempt from Federal, state, and local taxes back home (first $80,000 is exempt from Federal taxes if one lives abroad for at least 11 consecutive months). This tax break applies to private sector employees living and working abroad.

    Federal government employees working abroad are not exempt from Federal taxes, and many private sector employees must pay taxes to their countries of residence. But given additional housing and living adjustment benefits, as well as lower costs of living in many countries, many individuals working abroad do well financially. Comparable jobs back home may pay less and have fewer benefits.

  3. Adventure: Especially for young, restless, inexperienced, and single individuals, international work can be very exciting. Working in Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, or Asia is for some people the last great frontier. New places and different cultures become extremely life enriching experiences.

  4. Curiosity: The international arena is an object of curiosity for many people who always thought about living and working abroad. They may feel it is now time to do something different in their lives, so they decide to try an international job to see what it's all about.

  5. Pursue a cause: Several public causes can be pursued through international employment. Many individuals want to promote U.S. foreign policy, international peace, population planning, environmental control, and rural development. Numerous government agencies, private development organizations, religious groups, and nonprofit organizations are organized to pursue such causes.

  6. New challenges: International work does offer new and unusual challenges, from basic living to getting a job done. Individuals often find such work challenges their basic assumptions about people as well as work itself.

  7. Lifestyle: Many individuals are motivated to work in the international arena because of the lifestyle. The work itself brings them into contact with new and interesting cultures; the work may change constantly; and they are given an extraordinary amount of status and authoritythe "big fish in a small pond" phenomenonnot commonly found with many jobs in the United States. Indeed, exaggerated status and bloated egos are widespread among many international workers.

  8. Travel: Many people are hopelessly addicted to travel. Like clockwork, every three, six, or twelve months they have a burning desire to take to the road to discover new and exciting places. Many of these people believe it may be best to incorporate their travel addiction into a job or career that involves frequent international travel.

  9. Escape and revitalization: Some people wish to escape from their present jobs and careers which are basically boring, deadend, and unrewarding. Some are even unemployed individuals seeking overseas jobs. They believe an international job will be the antidote to revitalizing their careers and achieving renewed career success and personal happiness.

Those who work long-term in the international arena often find the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in defining their motivations to continue pursuing international jobs and careers. In addition, many long-term international workers don't know what else they could or would do if they left this employment arena. Therefore, they see no other alternatives to their international career and lifestyle.