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The Value of Mobility

4 March, 2013

I am writing this from my hotel room in Bengaluru (Bangalore), India. Just arrived, settled in and unpacked. The ride here was long and the roads were bumpy, but amazingly I am at peace. How is it that a country with crowds, dust, half-constructed buildings and bumper-to-motorbike traffic can be so peaceful? I am here to teach a course for WorldatWork on International Remuneration, for about 13 participants, who will receive credit toward their Global Remuneration Professional (GRP) certification. I am teaching more frequently now, since I am a freelance consultant and my schedule is fully under my control. I have no boss to get permission from to take a few days off.

Walking to my class in Bengaluru (Bangalore)

Walking to my class in Bangalore

So here I am just earning a living, and I am privileged to come to one of the most fascinating places on earth, India.

Next week, this time, I will be on a plane from Singapore to Hong Kong, to teach a similar class, offered through the Hong Kong Institute for Human Resources Management (HKIHRM). Another fantastic location to visit, all part of “going to work” for me.

The following week, I will attend the Worldwide ERC Asia Pacific Summit, in Shanghai, China. Yes, you guessed it, another fascinating global city, and yes, I’m there doing my job.

I have over 220 stamps in my passport, all in the last six years. And 95% of it is work-related travel. Having been on a “full” expatriate package, a local package, and now as a business owner (Freelance Total Rewards is now registered as a Private Limited company in Singapore), I have traveled a lot–not just Asia, but many parts of Europe and North America.

My father had given me one piece of advice: whatever you do, do what you enjoy.

My wife will tell you, I am a fool for adventure. I love to see the world. So I count myself one of the luckiest guys on the planet, because my work requires me to travel, whether for a 3-year assignment, a permanent transfer, a three week business trip or an overnighter.

So what is the value of mobility?

To a growing business, it is the key to expanding your global footprint.

To an employee, or job candidate, it depends on the person. For someone who wants to stay home, it’s not that valuable, and it could even be terrifying. But to the person who, like me, wants to see the world, it is far more valuable than the paycheck, trust me. (And I don’t mind saying this in writing, because my boss will never read this! I have no boss…)

If you want to see the world, find an opportunity to take an international assignment, or even take a permanent transfer, to a place you are interested in. As the great Zig Ziglar said:

You will look back at the end of your life and either say “I wish I had” or “I’m glad I did”

As for me, I’m glad I did, and I’m glad I still can.

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