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The global careerist: Internal and external supports needed for success

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There are many types of internationally mobile workers and families, including expatriates, repatriates, accompanying partners, and 'third culture kids'. This research used an email survey to gather input from six global careerists. Respondents were asked about their definitions of success (personal and professional), their career challenges (personal, social, and professional problems), and their supports (social, work experience, attitude, previous transition experience, and organizations/resources). There were similarities and differences amongst the six respondents' experiences with international mobility. Better understanding the challenges and unique needs of global careerists can help counsellors to more effectively serve this growing group of workers.

In an era of globalization and increased interconnectedness via the Internet the 'world as a workplace' is a reality for more people than in the past. Whether migrant workers relocating for temporary work, expatriates relocating longer term but not permanently (in some cases with their accompanying partners and/or children), immigrants choosing a new country as home base, international students choosing to stay in their new country post-graduation, refugees seeking haven in a country that provides sanctuary or repatriates returning 'home' after working abroad, international workers or 'global careerists' face a unique set of career and life challenges.

This article presents highlights from relevant literature followed by results from a survey of six participants whose careers have involved international transitions: one working expatriate, two accompanying partner expatriates (one of whom was self-employed), one 'third culture kid' (i.e., an adult child from an expatriate family, impacted by international mobility), and three repatriates. Although results from this exploratory research cannot be generalized without further investigation, several themes surfaced across the participants, illustrating potential commonalities amongst global careerists. However, differences are also presented that illustrate the need to customize career supports. The article concludes with a discussion of external and internal supports that contribute to career success and ideas about how career workers can more effectively serve the globally mobile workforce.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-10-01

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  • The Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling, widely and informally referred to as 'the NICEC journal', is designed to be read by individuals who are involved in career development-related work in a wide range of settings including information, advice, counselling, guidance, advocacy, coaching, mentoring, psychotherapy, education, teaching, training, scholarship, research, consultancy, human resources, management or policy. The journal has a national and international readership and is published twice a year (in April and October) in partnership with the Career Development Institute (CDI), the UK-wide professional body for the career development sector.
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