There are some stark differences between living in San Francisco and living in London, and it’s certainly not just the tea, the tube, the loo, and other what-have-yous. I asked a veteran member of Appirio’s Field Marketing team to discuss her experience moving across the pond for work.
Krista Finigan has been a field marketing manager for Appirio for the past 3 years and relocated to the London office in May of 2015. She was born and raised in San Bruno, California and lived in San Francisco prior to moving abroad for the first time.
As an American, what’s the greatest difference between working in the U.S. and working in the U.K.?
The amount of holidays! I went from 10 paid vacation days in the U.S. to 23 paid vacation days in the U.K. And they encourage you to take the time off.
Also, if you really need something done, you need to pick up the phone and call someone, rather than waiting for their email response. I have used the phone more in the last 7 months here in the U.K. than I did in 2 years in our U.S. office.
How did you adjust to working abroad?
I went from working closely with a team of 8 in the U.S. to being the sole person in charge of all field marketing in the U.K., so I had to step outside of my comfort zone quite a bit both in the workplace and outside of work. I’ve learned to make decisions and final calls on my own rather than solely confiding in my teammates, which I used to do quite a bit. Working abroad has forced me to be more proactive in reaching out to partner companies and vendors and introducing myself, rather than leaning on the comforts of familiar relationships. In a sense, it is like starting from scratch, and having to prove yourself all over again and being assertive in the workplace.
What advice would you give someone considering work in a different country?
You have to be willing to meet new people and be open to new things. You have to learn to laugh at yourself and let others laugh at you when you pronounce a word “wrong,” or if you don’t know the meaning of something. Things don’t always happen as easily as they do in the U.S. It will most likely take 6 weeks to get your bank account set up, and you will probably have to wait 2 months until you get wireless internet working in your flat. And probably the most important thing to remember when working in a different country: people don’t care if you’re American. You are just another human trying to succeed in this crazy world!