I used to have a story running through my head (and not to mention a chip on my shoulder). It told me that I could never have a good career path in Australia, because I’m an immigrant with no prior MNC (Multinational Company) or corporate experience (I come from a U.S. Government background).
Yesterday, The Brand Guy, in one of his Brand You workshops blasted that limiting belief and I’m now going through the debris and picking out the valuables.
How did he do it? With one quote.
‘We are all immigrants to the future’ – Margaret Mead
At that moment, I saw that I was not inferior, alien or limited in any way. We are now living in a time of disruption. Sure, sure, some of you will say that every generation believed they lived through extraordinary times. Yes, and it’s undeniable that the development of technology is the fastest it’s ever been in human history and change is only going to come at us at a more rapid pace. Fast times make aliens and immigrants out of all of us. Many older Australians are immigrants into the Digital Native population, those who grew up connected to the net.
What am I trying to say, then? Well, it’s just that as someone who’s come out of my comfort zone into a new country, who’s adapted a new way of living (the Aussie way), who’s built new friendships and networks to help me thrive, I’m in some ways better off than most people who’ve never been challenged to step outside of their comfort zones. They’re not sure what’s out there. As the brand guy says, their minds wander out there late at night, over red wine with friends, when the kids are asleep but never dare to actually take the steps to discover the uncharted territory.
But in being an outlier, that is, an immigrant, I’m not alone.
Australia attracted approximately 128,000 skilled migrants in the last year. These people are agile, open to change and exploring the unknown. Immigrants are just the people that companies need for a breath of fresh air and to innovate.
Unfortunately, when a migrant first arrives, there’s a large disconnect between their overseas experience and networks and the Australian workplace needs and rules of engagement. These can be as simple as wording on CVs or knowing the right people but it can take a long time for a new arrival to realise why they might not be getting the traction they were hoping for in the Australian job market or in their career.
Be proud of the special talents you bring (not just technical skills, but your creativity, adaptability, resilience, flexibility, world view and others) that Australian companies are craving in the age of change,
There are ways to enable you to realise your X factor!
What’s been your biggest career challenge and what you would like to change within the Australian corporate setting to allow for more growth and opportunity for this country’s economy.