Wednesday, January 23, 2008

For Trailing Spouses

I found a blog this morning specifically designed to help Trailing Spouses develop businesses or careers while following their spouse overseas. Having been an MOH before I joined the service, I could see how this would have been useful!

In an entry on January 20, she provides a link to an article on Foreign Service Spouses and entrepreneurship. About the article, she writes:

This article is one of the most interesting that I have read for quite a long time about the spouses of expats and diplomats. Focussed on the spouses of the US Foreign Service diplomats, it presents the new opportunities that arise from the Internet and the NTIC (New Technologies of Information and Communication). Nowdays, highly qualified spouses of expatriates and diplomats can work remotely from the country where they are based. They also provide a competitive advantage due to their knowledge of foreign countries and languages. There is in fact nothing new here, as the employment opportunities that are described here cover in fact the very general area of professional services, in particular consulting. Also, being qualified plus international doesn't mean that you are going to be successful as a consultant. I have seen too many examples here in Geneva of trailing spouses hanging around and giving away their business card, who didn't understand that there are already a few hundreds here just like them - eventually, this can end up with a big depression or a costly break of the spouse assignment in order to return home. The combination of professional qualification and communication techniques is a great start, but in order to lead to succes, much more is needed: the mastery of the "old" and "new marketing skills, a huge network, and a strong support from a coach, among others. Although the article is a bit too optimistic in this respect, I like it because it really motivates the spouses to start their own high-qualified business or service. It also provides a small database of professional spouses.

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