Change is as good as a holiday.

Well that's bullshit crap rubbish! I mean really. Lie on a beach drinking cocktails, or sell your house in 4 weeks? Sightsee in a new city, or pack up your life in 2 days? Go skiing for a week or move to another country with a 2 year old and 5 year old?

I mean what is more stressful in your opinion?

When I moved to Sydney 13 years ago, I got to do a little work with Expatriates. I helped organise cultural training for employees and their families moving to countries in Asia and also assisted with medical insurance claims. My experience left me with 2 indelible thoughts.

  1. Expat employees are difficult, and
  2. How amazing would it be to move to another country to live and work?
My first experience with Expat families was when the company I worked for, sent two employees to the Philippines, one as the head of the business and the other in a finance role. I helped organise the cultural training for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids) and a couple. I was able to sit in on the training so I understood what it was all about, and subsequently desperately wanted to move to Manila with them! 

I have visited Manila since then and perhaps it wouldn't be my first choice for an Expat assignment but the idea that I could live and work in another country seemed exciting none the less.

Now I realise that perhaps those Expats were not so much difficult, they were just stressed! Actually, some of them were probably difficult but overall I just didn't understand the head exploding stress of packing up your whole life and moving to a different country where everything is slightly or very different, you don't understand the culture and you are still expected to do a good job. 

Over the past 4 weeks Arran and I have been in Singapore I have been reflecting on how we approached this change and how this approach has helped us through a difficult period. We approached the move with excitement and possibilities. We knew that we couldn't have the same style of housing that we had in Sydney so we decided to embrace condominium living. We knew we would be living in a much smaller place so we got rid of a lot of our furniture (not enough as it turns out) but we have the motivation of people visiting us soon will get us organized quickly in our smallish apartment!

Moving in day. Rainy and humid. View from our balcony
We have a view of the pool just 4 floors down, which someone else maintains as well as a kids playground and beautiful gardens. We have apartments all around us and instead of feeling overlooked we feel part of a big busy city. Sitting on our large-by-Singaporean-standards balcony drinking wine and blogging in the humid air is bliss!

View from our balcony as the sun sets
We have both started to make contact with people with know here. Me with a lovely colleague I met when working at Coca-Cola Amatil, who took me to just the kind of place I needed for coffee, and Arran a friend (and his wife) from high school, who invited us to their "condo" for drinks nibbles and dinner (just when we were getting sick of each others company). I also have other friends who are ready to catch up when we are. Both of us enjoyed a dinner with some of my new work mates in Singapore. Networks and contacts are important and in the 4 weeks we have,been here we have missed our social life and are looking forward to seriously ramping it up.

I'm sure if you approached an opportunity like this negatively you are never going to have fun or learn from it. If you expect things to be like home, they won't be. If you expect the same kind of housing with the same amount of room, you will be disappointed and if you expect people to be the same, well you are kidding yourself. And if you expect the weather to be the same and the ability to buy the same food and clothes well I guess you should give up*

How does this to relate to your career? Well I think it relates very well. Sometimes we end up in a place where we are not happy, and we don't really know how we got there and we don't know how to get out and move forward. This is a miserable existence and when I have been there myself my health suffered and so did those around me.  In these circumstances it's hard to get positive. The ability to make a deal with yourself about what you can learn for the experience and how long you are going to put with where you are can make a massive difference. It can get you focused with purpose in the short term.

I'm not feeling this way about my career. I'm generally happy. How could I not be? I have reached a  career goal and I still have so much to learn including the best way to work with a new business leader. Everything I touch at the moment seems hard and I don't know the answer, but I guess I will get there, as I have done before. I have never set up a payroll in South Korea, but I'm learning. I have never supported employees in the Middle East or Kazakhstan but I'm learning. Actually I'm still learning to even spell Kazakhstan! What did we do before spell check?

So tell me about when your career has been hard for you. How did you get through it?

Lisa xx

*I have already felt like giving up trying to buy swimmers. I'm only human.

2014 Goals

Oh I know. Boring. Another post about new years resolutions and goals for the year. Pffffft!

The thing is though if you are going to keep track of your career and where you want it to be, you have to take time to reflect on what you have achieved and what you wished you had done better. Sometimes we don't realise how much we have achieved or how far we have come. A little bit of looking back is a good thing.

I wrote a post here about what I achieved and what I was grateful for in 2013.

I also looked back on my most popular blogs posts. Here they are:
But what of 2014? Nothing better than a new year full of possibilities. A year when you could achieve anything or be anyone, though I recommend working out your purpose and being (the best version of) yourself.

I have set some goals for this blog. I originally started the blog because honestly, I was sick and tired of employees I work with expecting other people to somehow look after their career. My philosophy is that while there are people who will help you with your career and your goals, you have to take responsibility for your own development. This blog is about helping people do that.

I also started this blog to develop my blogging skills in a different content area. I write over at Secret Homes of Glebe but wanted to try my hand at something more in my career area. I also wanted to raise my profile as a HR professional. While I will continue to do this my goals for 2014 for the blog are:
  • Once a month feature a video interview someone interesting about how they are got to where they are in their career..I'm going to learn how to shoot and edit videos!
  • Blog at least once a week. I lost my way in about September last year and never got my blogging grove back.
  • Speak/present at 3 different events during the year, either on improving your career, being a full time working mum who travels a lot or something HR related. I'm open people and I work for free!
What do you want to achieve in 2014?



Welcome to my blog, I-develop-me. For a while now I have wanted to share what I have learned over the years from my experiences working in Human Resources and Organisational Development for small, medium and large organisations. Some of this experience has been great, some not-so-great, but you know, I have learned a lot! I have worked with some amazing and inspiring people and some who perhaps should only be allowed to work in a locked room. Alone. And I’m being kind. I bet you have worked with someone like this!

The focus of this blog will be helping you to develop yourself in whatever you want to achieve. I’ll be providing tips and tricks and resources to help you along the way. Some will be focused on your career, some on general personal development. The main thing I have learnt is that while organisations often have talent management processes, career development initiatives and learning and development programs and opportunities unless you know what you want to do and where you want to go in your career, it’s not much help. Or maybe you are not part of a workplace that has these kind of resources? Maybe you have your own business? Or maybe you are pursuing interests and goals outside of your day-to-day bill paying job? Maybe you are considering a career change or a tree-change?  Well perhaps there will be something for you here.

My basic premise on career development, or perhaps that should be life development, is that if you are waiting for someone else i.e. your manager, your company or your family or partner to take charge of your destiny then you are in big trouble! The only way to be successful is to be clear about:
  • who you are,
  • what you enjoy,
  • what makes you happy in life, and  
  • where you want to be in the future…
That’s why the blog is called I-develop-me. Only you can take responsibility for your career and your life. I’ll be covering topics to help you work some of this stuff, like; self-awareness, education and qualifications, self coaching, leadership, culture, emotions in the workplace, mentors, life balance, feedback, getting happy, finding your passion…..Is there a topic you want me to cover? Do you have a burning issue? Drop me a line!

I will be kicking off with Education and Qualifications in my next post. How important are they?

In the mean time check out this great video called Try something new for 30 days. My husband bought me a digital SLR camera for my birthday last year and I’m currently participating in the photoaday challenge by @fatmumslim to help me improve my ‘eye’. I’m using instagram and posting to twitter and facebook. Is there something new you want to try? Maybe this video will inspire you?