Hello dear readers. I just returned from a lovely three-week holiday in sunny Spain. I will not bore you with the details since I traveled on my own dime, thus violating the spirit of this blog. However, there is one thing I do wish to share as it has great relevance to what I am espousing in my posts.
The most common question I am asked is “How do I find overseas postings?” That is a complex question, and one that I spend literally dozens of pages answering in my book. I located my working vacations via professional conferences, newspaper articles, federal grants, and cold calls, as well as a recent technique proving to be quite successful–visiting potential hosts while on family holiday. A personal meeting can demonstrate to a potential suitor that you would be an ideal candidate to invite for a working vacation. A face-to-face exchange gives you the chance to describe your professional skills and enumerate the helpful services you could provide to their institution. It also shows you are interested in them and eager to come for a short-term visit.
Whenever I go on holiday I identify a couple of institutions that could use my skills and let them know I will be in town. I throw some resumes in the suitcase, and when I arrive I stop by for a brief visit. This is not a formal interview; simply an opportunity to meet the chair/dean/director, let them know I am interested in visiting their institution, and leave them a copy of my credentials. I obviously do not expect an offer then and there; I simply want to “plant a seed” that might, if I am lucky, sprout into a working vacation. If I plant enough of these seeds, there is a chance one of them will turn into an invitation. On this trip I dropped off resumes at the Universities of Barcelona and Seville, both of which are in cities where I would certainly enjoy spending a couple of months. I had a nice chat with the department chairs, and both promised to keep my resume on file.
Now, will either of these meetings result in a working vacation for me and my family? Realistically I have no idea, and if I was a betting man I would likely put my money on the side of “no.” However, what I do know is that if I had not made this effort the probability of an offer to live and work in Spain drops to zero.
Good things don’t happen by chance or blind luck; they happen because you proactively go out there and make them happen.