This is our third post of the interview with Kate, the expat wife as well as entrepreneur and coach for other expat wives.
1st post is here.
2nd post is here.
-Tell us a bit more about “Expat-preneurship”
Some expats decide to start their own company while living abroad. Others find joy in a creative hobby that might lead to a freelancing job or side-hustle. Expatpreneurship is often triggered by observing differences as an expat and thinking: There is a gap in the market I could fill. Starting your own business is a great way to get in touch with locals and dive deeper into the new culture as you have to understand the market needs.
-What do you find about a trend in “digital nomad” or “remote work” that might be applicable to expat wives looking for work opportunity?
Funny that you ask! I will be speaking about this topic on the Families in Global Transition Conference in Bangkok this year! In my experience, expat partners can learn a lot from digital nomads. Most of all the entrepreneurial mindset and the independence they create by establishing a portable career. I welcome that the work environment is getting more digital and hence remote. I see a lot of potential for expats here and looking forward to sharing my research soon.
-Have you ever heard of the case that the expat’s company prohibits expat partners from working during expat assignment? (it’s not uncommon in Japan…)
I have not heard about prohibitions in that sense but I do know that there are very traditional companies out there that welcome when the partner is taking care of the family and concentrates on establishing a relaxing environment for the husband when coming home. Expatriation can be sort of a time capsule from time to time. Usually, those companies won’t support their wives in their work permit application. At the same time, the unhappiness of the partner is still the number one reason for an early return which can be really costly for a company. Hence, many companies are acting more professional now supporting the partner with work permit application services and also with a certain budget for the whole application process.
-What’s your current professional goal? (next step that you want to achieve)
In addition to supporting my clients, I want to focus my work on sharing my experience and knowledge with global companies sending employees abroad. I am more and more talking to HR departments sharing the needs and challenges of expat partners. I believe that companies would support the partner better if they get more first-hand insights into this journey. Many expat packages are created by someone who never lived somewhere else. They are well intended but there is definitely a gap between what companies think expatriation mean to the partner and what the reality looks like.
Interview to be continued!