Guest Blogger: Robert Gilbreth
As our impending project deadline approaches, perhaps the biggest takeaway I have gotten from X-Culture is a taste of the level of difficulty I can expect when working as an expatriate. X-Culture has been a constant juggling act between school, work, and what is left of my personal life since the project first started picking up pace midway through this semester. Time zone differences and scheduling difficulties have left me sleep deprived and scrambling to complete deadlines at the last minute. At times, spotty teammate participation has left me worried whether or not I will have to shoulder a heavier burden of the final X-Culture project. In all, X-Culture has been an invaluable lesson in adversity providing a microcosm of the real life challenges an international businessperson should expect to face in the competitive global market.
I consider myself lucky. Everyone in my team has excellent English proficiency, ease of access to technology and a relatively free schedule compared to that of an expatriate that spends most of their time between airports, conference rooms, expos, countless meetings and hotel rooms. Although our meetings have kept me up when I would have preferred to be sleeping, I need not worry about lengthy business trips and jet lag further exacerbating my fatigue and constricting my schedule. I am fortunate enough not to rely on interpreters or deal with conflicts arising from parties with dissimilar interests, since after all: everyone in my group is working towards the common goal of receiving a good grade. If anything, this projected has demonstrated what one can expect when working in the ever increasingly complex the global economy.
With greater adversity comes more fulfilling rewards. I’m sure as this project comes to a conclusion I will look back on this experience in a favorable light. Besides walking away from this exercise with a good grade, I hope to apply this firsthand experience with collaborative international team building to best poise myself for success if the ever growing global marketplace. Whether I work internationally or not, X-Culture will leave a lasting impression on me as I apply concepts and experiences from this project to further develop my skills to become a successful business leader in today’s internationally focused economy.