I finally got word today that the company I work for have okayed by request for a global secondment. I had asked for Sydney or New York and they have offered New York. The Sydney office is too small and the timezone difference with the UK makes it a killer for inter-office collaboration (other than by email or very late night / early morning conf calls) whereas New York is much bigger and also ‘closer’ so it’s much easier all round.
The three key people who all need to approve it, did, and they are backing it – saying it’ll be good for me and more importantly, good for the business (there has to be a business case or else these things die a very quick death).
Duration to be discussed, though 6-12 months was mooted. I would rather it’s in the region 9-12 months rather than six which feels too short. We have a number of offices in the US (including San Fran, one of my favourite cities in the world!) so I’m really hoping I’ll get to visit those too, which I should. My instinct is that if I push for 12 months, they’ll probably go with that, though I could be wrong. London is the global HQ so I think there is a worry that I might ‘go native’ and lose touch with HQ, which I guess is fair enough.
I am excited about NYC though the size of the city intimidates me somewhat. Coming from London perhaps it shouldn’t, but this is my home city and I grew up 1 hour away so it’s never felt all that intimidating.
I know most of the staff in the NYC office fairly well but other than that, I only have a handful of US friends scattered around, from Michigan through to Virginia (I seem to recall). Most are old friends from my Japan days. We were close in Japan (as all the Western expats were in the city I lived in) so I know I could rekindle those relationships with comparative ease – which I want to do.
I’m excited but there’s a lot to sort out. Visas, apartments, my own flat here (not so much the one I live in, but the one I own and let out!). Tax issues and lord only knows what else. But it should all be worth it. I crave new experiences – this is it.
After 11 years in London I have been truly desperate for change of one kind or another and, at last, it’s here. And the icing on the cake has been my boss saying that assuming it all goes well, I could look to do another secondment later to HK or even ultimately Sydney (which is growing anyway). My role will finally become Global rather than UK-centric so it’s developmentally promotional too.
Departure date potentially June.
Now, if any one has tips for New York (it’s nine years since I was last there, in fact, it’s nine years since I was last in the US at all) – please let me have them!!!