One of the goals for the LD (Laura & Dave) Project Social team was to post weekly about our activity. We certainly want to meet our goals and objective and not evoke the ire of Program Coordinators Victorio and the Ruthless Ben Eubanks, so we will stick to our guns.  This week we have hatched out a plan that is rather large in scope, and thus will require several weeks of behind the scenes work before we can divulge the nature of our Project Social Project.  So in the mean time, we thought we would do kind of an eharmony like profile of ourselves, well sort of. 

 There were some things I found very interesting about Laura and her life style, living internationally and such.  So I asked her some questions about it. Both the questions and answers are posted below.  And while my lifestyle is little less cosmopolitan, and a lot more mid—western,  sadly the only two thing I really had much to comment about was Human Resources and Ice Hockey.  So Laura was kind enough to fashion some question about me and my mundane life as an HR guy and an Ice Hockey Official. 

So if you dare… skate on over to Laura’s Blog Site Working Girl and have a look… 

DAVE: As an American Citizen and working outside the country how do you al with the disconnect, that you feel with family and friends who are state-side?

LAURA: As an LA girl I feel like a bit of a hothouse flower, especially during the cold months.  On the other hand, my immediate family’s quite small – I’m an only child with no first cousins – and I spent 7 years at boarding school before going away to college so my best friends are as ‘global’ as I am.  I don’t keep in touch as well as I’d like to but I like knowing they’re out there.  I read a lot and blogging also helps me feel connected.  And of course I visit the US on business and personal trips, which is always great for re-charging. 

 

DAVE: Working outside of the country has career challenges/advantages –What is the biggest challenge or advantage that working outside the country has presented to you?

LAURA: The biggest challenge is not being there.  Work at a software company is fast-paced and things can change hourly around the water cooler.  Plus you miss the small celebrations and interpersonal connections.  As the workforce inevitably becomes more virtual my situation will become more common but today it’s still a challenge.  I think of myself as a pioneer.  My situation isn’t always easy but if I can make it work, it may help people in the same situation down the road.

But you asked about career challenges in particular.  From a career point of view most of the ‘action’ in my chosen profession happens in the US.   For example, you don’t find a lot of product management or strategy for global products happening outside the US.  Before I had kids I managed software development teams and managed global projects but as a remote working mom I don’t have the same options I would have living in the US.   

The biggest advantage is I have a lot of freedom to structure my work load, which as a working mom is a huge benefit.  I don’t have to reschedule meetings if I have a doctor appointment or a child stays home sick because everyone on my team’s asleep during my work day anyway.  As long as my work gets done no one cares what hours I work or whether I answer email in torn PJs and bunny slippers – not that I would ever do that, in fact I’m wearing a 3-piece suit right now and having a fabulous hair day!  So, sometimes I feel very lucky, other times I miss being in the center of the action.

 

DAVE: How do you use social media help stay connected with issues or matters going on state-side?

LAURA: Blogs are a great source of information about market trends and also a wonderful tool for shaping opinion – it’s neat when you write about a topic from a new perspective and find that same opinion cropping up elsewhere.  And I’ve found Twitter to be a great resource as well.  Often while I’m pondering my next blog post someone will Tweet an article that has exactly the information I need. 

  

DAVE: Describe some of the major difference that you see in the average German employee compared to the average American employee.

LAURA: I find Germans more pragmatic about work than Americans. They spend less time on social niceties and have a ‘let’s get this done’ attitude.  Americans (by German standards) like to discuss things and change their minds a bunch of times while the process ‘evolves.’  This sometimes bemuses the Germans, who think you should analyze the problem, figure out and communicate what you’re going to do and then DO it.  They don’t rush or over-commit but they do what they say they will do.  Of course, getting an email from them can be a bit of a shock because they use so many capitals you think they’re yelling at you until you get used to it.   And they can be a bit rigid to work with, or less open to change or new ideas.  However, I don’t want to generalize because I’ve worked with lots of creative, flexible Germans. 

 

DAVE: What advise would you give a recent college graduate who is considering an offer of employment that would have them living outside of the country?

LAURA: Easy: Do it!  If all you know is your own country your horizons will be smaller.  And it’s harder to follow your dreams later with kids, mortgage, etc., so the best time to be footloose is right after college.  Why wouldn’t you live abroad for a year or two if you had the chance?  Oh, and if you want to be an au pair in Munich, Tweet me.

Ok well there you have it from the LD Project Social team for the week.  We are really and truly working on something big and will roll it out later.  In the meantime follow the both of us to see what mischief we can get into before the big roll out!