In a few weeks I will be embarking on quite a shift in my working and living status. Like many people in the consultancy field, I will be joining the tribe of ‘Global Nomads’. After eight years of being an ‘immigrant’ or ‘Ex-pat’, I will be living a much more itinerant lifestyle. Whilst my current situation and work has led me to cover a lot of ground globally, I was much more permanently based in one place, with one main role, certainly for the past four years. As of November, this will all change as I move most of my furniture to the UK for storage, and begin a new phased of short term consultancy projects, wherever the work takes me.
The rise of ‘Global Nomad’ seems to have first become apparent around 10 years, the distinguishing features being short-term contracts, no-fixed abode and being a mostly multi-cultural, professional worker. One of the most impressive individuals who completely ticks all of these boxes is a consultant and coach Esther Jacobs (link to her website). Esther terms herself a ‘Digital Nomad’ and sums this up as ” my home is where my laptop is. I don’t have a fixed place to live; instead I consider the world my playground. This makes my life a dream for some and a nightmare for others”…
Working in the Middle East I have come across a number of individuals who are all working in a similar manner, many with home bases in Europe where they spend half of their time, and then fly in to the region for contracts lasting a week at time, to 3 – 6 months.
I recently heard Esther Jacobs speak about her experiences as an itinerant coach and speaker, and admired the way she navigated difficulties which often form barriers to those wanting the nomadic lifestyle. These include:
- obtaining a bank account when you don’t have a residency
- renting accommodation when you don’t have bank account!
The vicious circle you can find yourself in is something you just need to grit your teeth and get through.
As the mobile workforce is currently estimated to rise to 1/3 of the total global workforce within the next 5 years, (not necessarily all global nomads, but mobile within country of residency too) hopefully the bureaucracy will loosen up to accommodate this forceful trend. Organisations, particularly international operations, are welcoming this new cohort of independent workers, who bring with them a wide range of experiences, understanding of cultural differences, and an openness and collective attitude. The skills of settling in, teamwork and communication are often enhanced through this short-term consultancy manner of working.
Personally, I know that I enjoy building my nest, so I am sure that after a few months I will want to have a home-base where I can have my favourite things around me, and which will be my ‘bolt-hole’ for rest and relaxation. I am exciting about the new global opportunities lying ahead and am sure this will fuel further thoughts on how organisations are adapting to this increasing trend.