The Adventure of Working Abroad: Hero Tales from the Global Frontier

The Adventure of Working Abroad: Hero Tales from the Global Frontier

by Joyce Sautters Osland
     
 

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans and their families accept the challenge of living and working abroad. But many of these prospective expatriates have little idea—beyond the mystery of changing money and finding the consulate—of the extraordinary experience that awaits them. Upon their return, many discover they have undergone a dramatic

Overview

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans and their families accept the challenge of living and working abroad. But many of these prospective expatriates have little idea—beyond the mystery of changing money and finding the consulate—of the extraordinary experience that awaits them. Upon their return, many discover they have undergone a dramatic personal transformation. Now in possession of great self-confidence and expanded horizons, they feel capable of handling greater challenges than they would have dreamed possible.People who work abroad are off on an adventure—what Joseph Campbell called a "hero's journey," complete with miraculous deeds to perform, inscrutable instructions, and important gifts to bring back. Joyce Sautters Osland, a veteran expatriate with fourteen years of experience abroad, tells the story of this modern-day Odyssey as it is lived by the working people who are exploring today's global frontier. Using Campbell's metaphor as a guide, Osland creates a pragmatic framework for understanding—and mastering—the predictable challenges of each stage in the expatriate journey.The Adventure of Working Abroad won't prescribe what to pack or how to find the train station, but it will convey the genuine grittiness of the overseas experience—all the fear, excitement, and exhilaration, as well as the transformation that expatriates undergo as they rise to the challenges of unknown languages and customs, an alien landscape, and unfamiliar obstacles.Here thirty-five seasoned expatriates tell in their own words of the unexpected perils and enormous opportunities, the turmoil and triumphs, of life in an exotic new world. Osland uses their personal stories to provide insights and important tips that will help expatriates adjust to diverse cultural norms, face new responsibilities and sudden autonomy, and better equip themselves for the difficulties of repatriation.Osland also explores why U.S. companies are not as proficient as Europ

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Engaging stories, creative analysis and practical recommAndations make this book eminently readable and deeply thought-provoking. If you're going abroad, if you've been abroad, if you're sAnding an employee abroad, you need this book." —Janet M. Bennett, co-director, Intercultural Communication Institute

"Sometimes we tAnd to overlook the impact an overseas assignment has on the personal and professional life of a transferee. This book provides a good insight into the changes that take place during their sojourn. It also puts emphasis on the important and necessary role the corporation plays in providing support to assure a rewarding and fruitful experience for both parties." —Dori S. McFadin, manager, NIKE, Inc., International Services

"As one who has never lived more than six years in the same country since birth, I found many valuable insights in this book that reflect my own experience and could be extraordinarily useful to people embarking on experiences of living and working in another country and culture for the first time.... Indeed a 'magical friAnd.'" —Brizio Biondi-Morra, director, INCAE

"A delight to read for people who have lived abroad, and an extremely important guide to human resource managers and executives who are guiding companies into the global business dynamics of the twenty-first century." —Nancy J. Adler, professor, international management, McGill University

"A real groundbreaker in an important phenomenon long neglected in spite of so many people involved in a global economy. It really helps clarify the cognitive and emotional changes of expatriates." —Silvio DeFranco, former Minister of Economic Affairs and Development of Nicaragua

"Having worked for more than twenty years assisting corporations in developing and providing programs that facilitate the adaptation and productivity of employees and families internationally, I am excited by Joyce Osland's new way of looking at the expatriate life cycle. To those responsible for preparing international employees to function effectively in a foreign environment, she provides a valuable perspective on the challenges and opportunities of working abroad." —Nessa P. Loewenthal, director, TransCultural Services

Library Journal
Osland likens the work of expatriates to the myth of the hero's adventure introduced by Joseph Campbell in the 1960s. It's an effective metaphor as Osland, who teaches organizational behavior and has worked many years abroad, recounts interesting anecdotes regarding the tribulations and triumphs of Americans plying their trades in foreign countries. For example, Osland compares Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece to that of the expatriate setting forth on a journey abroad. Some readers may grow weary of the constant Campbellian, biblical, and literary references involving Moses, the Virgin Mary, and Ariadne and Theseus. Yet rather than writing a mundane treatise on how to cope with an overseas assignment, the author has written a thought-provoking, literate narrative that entertains and elucidates while it educates. Recommended for public libraries.-Alan Farber, Northern Illinois Univ.-Dekalb

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780787901080
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
01/28/1995
Series:
Jossey-Bass Management Series
Pages:
244
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.36(h) x 0.96(d)

Meet the Author

JOYCE SAUTTERS OSLAND is assistant professor with the School of Business Organization at the University of Portland and the author of The Organizational Behavior Reader and Organizational Behavior: An Experiential Approach. During eleven of her fourteen years working abroad, she specialized in the field of non-profit international development in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Colombia, Guatemala, and Scotland, as well as briefer stints in Ecuador and Peru. Most recently, Osland served as faculty member of INCAE, a Harvard-affiliated MBA program in Costa Rica.

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