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Soundview Executive Book SummariesThriving And Surviving Overseas In The Post-9/11 World
International lawyer and executive manager William Russell Melton begins The New American Expat by espousing his belief in the idea that most Americans have the potential to be successful expatriates living and working in other countries. He explains that the same traits that have helped Americans to create the success of the United States can be used to succeed in any foreign country. In The New American Expat, Melton offers a serious look at the excitement and confusion that await anyone taking on a job in a distant country, and shares the wisdom he has gained while working and living in seven different countries for more than 25 years.
Melton begins The New American Expat with a frank discussion of stereotypes and the ways they can affect perceptions and experiences. By clarifying the perspectives of others and what they think about Americans, he puts the expatriate in context with the rest of the world. Next, he delves into the ways expatriates can benefit the most from their work and life outside of the United States.
Sunrise in Paris
In a list of many of the most memorable experiences he has had while enjoying the foreign cultures he has found himself within, Melton describes how he benefitted from climbing mountains in Switzerland, watching a sunrise in Paris, playing harmonica in Amsterdam, running a marathon in the Saudi desert, and walking across the island of Singapore one sunny day. He writes, "Immersing yourself in the local scene is how you really start to understand the personality of a country and its people."
Drawing on his experiences as an expatriate at different stages in his life, Melton addresses many issues and challenges that can confront a new expatriate today. The first chapter of his book describes the factors that must be considered when making a decision to relocate outside of the United States, along with the potential benefits and problems that an expatriate experience can entail. This chapter also lists the personality traits that can help make a relocation easier, describing what works, what doesn't, and what personal skills should be developed. Melton writes that the top six personality traits that American expatriates should have are good communication skills, adaptability and flexibility, openness, tolerance and patience, a sense of humor, and humility.
The second chapter of The New American Expat describes how foreign jobs can be found. By including the research, networking, searching and interviewing skills that can help a potential expatriate find a job overseas, Melton points prospects in the right direction. By sharing pointers he and others have compiled while building relationships and working overseas, he offers guidance on overcoming specific job-search challenges as well as Web sites and resources that can make the search process easier. A section dedicated to making readers aware of common scams that are perpetrated on unsuspecting job seekers provides numerous tips that can prevent them from becoming victims.
In addition, The New American Expat walks readers through the steps that should be taken when negotiating a compensation package for a foreign assignment. By presenting the motivations of employers along with the hidden costs associated with moving to and living in a foreign country, Melton provides many suggestions for structuring an international work contract. By urging job seekers to stay up to date on cost-of-living inflation indexes and current exchange rates, as well as possible compensation compromises and adjustments, Melton protects them from their own naivete.
Other chapters offer tips on moving family and belongings to a new country; getting set up in a new home; adapting to foreign business practices, cultures and traditions; and getting back home again. An entire section on safety and security in the post-9/11 world also provides an update on the political realities of today's world.
After each chapter, Melton provides readers with an invaluable checklist of the points he has covered. These checklists not only sum up the most important points he has covered, but they also serve as a reflection point on which readers can assess their own needs and skills, and become better prepared for the challenges of an international adventure.
Why We Like This Book
The New American Expat offers job seekers the details and tools that can make any overseas work assignment a better, more satisfying experience. Having lived through each of the stages in the multifaceted global adventure he describes, Melton presents the first-person knowledge and anecdotes that can help anyone prepare for and complete an international relocation. Copyright © 2006 Soundview Executive Book Summaries