Did Working in Publishing Abroad Help Your Career at Home?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka


By Edward Nawotka

As our continuing series on “publishing expats” continues (read the first article here and today’s article here), it raises the question of whether working abroad is a benefit or a detriment to your career. The personal advantages are obvious, but professionally, it can go either way.

My personal experience was mixed. I found that on returning to the United States after working in Europe, Asia and Africa, my resume was indecipherable to many people. The only company that people responded to was a massive advertising agency whom I’d worked for in Ireland and Indonesia; the magazines and newspapers I wrote for, primarily The European (in the UK, now defunct) and Capital (in Germany, also now defunct), didn’t immediately resonate, thought they were major players at the time. Fortunately, I had a portfolio and clips that hopefully spoke for themselves; still, I had to rely on the name recognition of the publications and that didn’t make it easier. Plus, as a journalist, overseas experience — I was a business correspondent covering “emerging markets” — didn’t immediately translate into stories, since most publications had minimal interest at the time in covering international stories.

So tell us, what was your experience on returning home? Was it a benefit to your career? Or was it more personally than professionally satisfying?

Let us know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter using #ppdiscuss. And if you’ve spent time working abroad — or still are an expat — drop me a note via email and we may feature you in an upcoming story.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.