The word expat is short for “expatriate,” one who leaves home to live and work in a foreign country, funded by a firm or government. It is understood that “home” is somewhere else and they will likely return.
A monumental task, finding success as an expat, with differences in technology, language, culture, family, business norms, diet and health issues, etc., etc. Following is my experience and the success secrets captured.
In 1982, we were in Singapore, setting up a field-service office for Mech-El Industries, a company trying to sell a new automatic wire-bonder to Intel. This included my wife and four children. A field Service operation was required for Intel to be interested in the new bonder. I was to direct that office.
Prior to this event, I didn’t know what an Expat was, now I was one. After four months in Singapore, Intel did not buy hundreds of our bonders and the field service office was summarily closed! We were there, the six of us, with no visible means of support. This was not what I’d been trained for. The company would pay for our return, but we’d made sacrifices with the move, my wife and children, renting our home, leaving schools, leaving jobs and didn’t want to return to the states at that time where I had no job.
I hit the streets of Singapore. After several nail-biting weeks, found a company with a factory in Jakarta, Indonesia. This was a one-hour flight south across the Equator, where we spent the next three years, as an Expat Engineering Manager with a semiconductor assembly factory, Fairchild Electronics.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin 1809-1882, British Scientist