Working Abroad: What To Know Before You Go
A career move overseas can be daunting, mostly due to the fact that it feels like a one-way ticket to the unknown. On top of a new city you have to wrap your head around a new office, new briefs, new procedures, the strange accents, and most likely a heap of other unwritten rules that didn’t exist in your old agency, right?
To help answer some of the harder questions on the topic we caught up with ex-New Yorker and reclaimed Aussie Deanne Constantine.
With 20 years’ advertising experience, Deanne has led some of the world's most creative and high-profile brands like Budweiser, Google, Jeep, and Qantas to award-winning work within agencies like Anomaly NYC, Translation LLC NYC, and Young & Rubicam NYC.
Now home, she’s founded Blue Bateau, a global connections company that operates exclusively for the Advertising Industry, providing career opportunities both in Australia and the US.
Q: Ok, so apart from the obvious experience factor, what can an international career give you that one solely based in Australia can’t?
An international career will deliver you scale and diversity. Scale being larger brands, budgets, markets and sometimes larger problems to solve. Diversity in the people you will meet and learn from as well as different cultures, insights and behaviors you will be exposed to on a daily basis. An international career will give you a richer learning experience, both personal and professional, that one based in Australia solely can’t.
Q: How much does the work differ from what we’re used to in Aus? Does a brief over there still look like a brief here?
Strategically yes, the briefs are similar and set out a strategic framework however, like Australia, each Agency has their own methodology for problem solving. Again, it goes back to scale and diversity in terms of what the briefs look like and what you will be doing. You could very easily be working on a World Cup global brief for Adidas at the same time as solving social content for a local automotive brand targeting Hispanics. Whatever the briefs, you can expect them to be big or culturally different, or both.
Q: Do agencies work differently? Are there any tricks anyone wanting to move should know about?
Overall, Agencies work very similarly although there are now different models popping up all over the world. The biggest trick for any player in the creative industry right now, regardless of age, is to be open to new ways of doing things, open to constantly evolving yourself. The buying cycle is getting shorter and shorter, the new economy is getting faster and faster. Be open and flexible to the change around you, and you can slot in, learn and flourish from just about any market you choose to work.
Q: What happens when you want to come home? Does the exchange rate work in your favour or is it harder to find work without the network?
Australia is very welcoming and hungry for returning talent from overseas markets and generally invites the learning and growth back into the industry. It doesn’t always mean however that your salary remains the same as each market differentiates based on their economy, cost of living and individual company performance. It is safe to assume however, that you will be welcomed home with open arms.
Q: What advice would you give your pre-traveled self today?
There is nothing I would have changed about my time working in New York, not a single thing. The advice I give myself now is ‘keep moving, keep evolving’. That’s why I created Blue Bateau, a company that allows me to travel the world while being based near family. In my opinion, working and traveling internationally is unrivaled in terms of life experience, especially as a creative person.
Q: Even though a move anytime soon seems off the cards, what can people be doing in the meantime should they want to work internationally?
Learn, it’s your biggest ROI. Learn the market you want, study it inside out, learn the Agencies, learn the work. Look for opportunities in front of you that build to that goal, ie. briefs to work on, people to meet, questions to ask.
Each time you learn more about your goal, your path to getting there will unfold.
If you’re interested in a move overseas or looking for your next creative opportunity please feel free to contact Deanne Constantine at firstname.lastname@example.org