Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Around the World in 80 Days

One interesting aspect of living the expat life is deciding what to do when the time in your current country has expired. We had originally signed on for a two year contract and though not really sure of what to expect, we figured we would spend two years and then probably head back home. This way, when we looked back on our lives, we could say we did something interesting, and I could check off that all important ´´international´´ assignment box on my resume.

About 9 months into our time here, Novartis, like all big multinationals, went through restructuring. Since then life has been a bit of a whirlwind in trying to figure out what happens with us. There was a chance that we would end up staying in Mexico longer because I would get some expanded job responsibilities, so mentally we prepared for that. But alas, I did not get the promotion, so then it looked like we would be heading back to NJ (where I still would not have a job) around March of this past year. So we mentally prepared ourselves for the possibility of returning home just when we finally felt completely settled, and with no house and possibly no job. . . .

Before that plan was finalized, a number of POTENTIAL opportunities arose. It felt like everyday was a new prospect: first in Brazil, then in New Jersey, and for a little while it even looked like there might be something in Australia (yes all the way over there). Finally, I was told that we would be staying in Mexico at least until the end of this year and that I did not need to worry about what was next because something would “surely” open up for me, and that discussions would start in October or so. Again we prepared ourselves to stay for a bit and make the most of our time here, and to simply let fate play itself out. That lasted for about a week.

Out of the blue, I received a call from a senior finance head in another one of our divisions, discussing a potential opportunity to stay in Mexico for an additional two to three years. When I expressed a lack of interest in remaining here, in order to move to Europe, I fully expected the conversation to come to a screeching halt. Instead he replied, “Sounds good, let’s get you over to Europe,” and promised to call soon in order to discuss.

Alas, we are now we are back to where we were six months ago: no concrete plans for the future, mentally traipsing all over the world looking for jobs, but physically living here in Mexico.

So for anyone asking where do we go next or when do we come back to New Jersey, let me just say this, I wish I knew what was next. This is one of those times I am just hoping that destiny takes care of my family and me. I just wouldn’t mind destiny moving things along right about now.

And for anyone thinking about going overseas with a large company: just be mentally prepared for this part of the adventure. I think we were prepared for a lot of contingencies, so things have gone smoothly overall. I just did not expect the uncertainty of our future to be such a big part of the adventure.


Danielle said...

I hope destiny takes you where you should be going. That's exciting in a strange kind of way not to know what may be?
My hubby flys to the corporate office next week to discuss Mexico City. We'll see where destint takes us!

VeRonda said...

Wow... Your willingness to make life an adventure is inspiring. You have not let the unknown stop you from living without regret. I would love to spend part of my life living in Jamaica. Keep sharing.

Rupal said...

danielle - i hope that your family does make the move down here. as i mentioned in my email, we have had such a wonderful experience - not a single second of regret, even during the toughest of times.

veronda - thanks so much for your comment. we are actually not very adventurous but something just inspired us to take the plunge. i hope you have a chance to do the same in jamaica someday soon.