My department is getting changed about and there is an opportunity for someone to run all of Europe as Product Manager or stay in the US at the headquarters for the same role. Which lends itself to more advanced career advancement? Autonomy at HQ, close to the Big Cheeses or responsibility separate but isolated in Europe?
I have been traveling a lot, and unable to update the blog, but that isn't the reason I have been slow to answer this question. The truth of the matter is that I have waffled very hard on the answer. I have argued (to myself) both sides of this. SO - please take that in to account that I don't even agree with myself.
Here are the issues as I see them.
- Going over seas just for the sake of being overseas (strictly speaking work wise here, not general life experience) is probably not worth it.
- What will you learn? If there is an expansion of opportunity (i.e. you will get responsibility that you won't get in the US) then it is likely a good thing? You say "same role" in your comment, but I don't ever think that is 100% true.
- Does the company have a good track record of bringing people back from overseas? or is that where people get sent to die? If it is the metaphorical version of being sent to Siberia - then don't do it. If all of the senior people in your company have been overseas for a posting, and you think you will be staying at that company for awhile - get your butt on an airplane.
- Are you traveling overseas for work a lot right now? if yes, that can give you a flavor. Make sure you "know" the rest of the world exists at all times or you are likely to be very surprised when something happens. If you aren't getting that opportunity right now, then an overseas posting is probably a good idea.
- Living overseas has a lot of benefits as far as expanding your mind. There are annoyances and upsides, but overall you will be a more rounded person (outside of work).
- You will expand your network in ways that US only based people will NOT be able to. You will, therefore, get information and have contacts that purely US based people will never have.
Kind of a toss up. If you have no family/life issues preventing you from doing it - that likely means you are early in your career, and I would likely do it. That is when I would have done it and am actually a little bummed I didn't get the chance then.