Global Affairs: Five Reasons To Choose This Career Field
As someone who has spent their career focused on global affairs, of course, I think it’s the coolest gig you could have. But, I realize that not everyone might feel the same way. So here are five reasons to pursue a career in global affairs to pique your interest. And, of course, there are many and more reasons, so drop me a line if you want to discuss further.
You get to travel, explore new countries, cultures, languages, food, etc
You don’t have to live abroad to have a career in global affairs, but for many people, that is one of the big draws. Or, for those based in the States, many people like the opportunity to travel for work. A decade ago, when I was based in DC at the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, my job was to work on conflict prevention in Sub-Saharan Africa. So depending on where we had activities or where we were asked to focus, I would spend a few weeks or months learning about a new country and then get to travel there for a few weeks to work on a specific issue. And I loved it – getting to dig in and learn about the history, complexity, richness of a country and then go see it first hand. Even more, I love living and working in foreign countries. It’s awesome to get to travel somewhere for a few weeks, but living somewhere for a few years gives you the opportunity to more fully understand the intricacies and the quirks of that country. Like, nearly twenty years ago when I lived in Japan during college, I learned that a lot of people ate cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise for breakfast – why mayonnaise? Because one of the members of a famous Japanese boy band, SMAP, loved mayonnaise – love it. Whether you experience a country for a few days, weeks or years, getting to be exposed to the vast array of the realities each country holds is always so exciting.
You not only learn about different countries, you learn about yourself
A career in global affairs can provide insight into yourself because, as you’re exposed to different countries, cultures, problems, and opportunities, your worldview is expanded. Being regularly put in situations outside of your comfort zone, navigating new cultures, and grappling with new challenges flexes your resiliency muscle, which means that you’re able to better understand your abilities, but also how to be flexible when your abilities are stretched. Not to mention that, as your perspective grows, so too does your understanding of the complexities of how the world works and how interconnected we all are. It can make you more empathetic because it makes you realize that, at the end of the day, we’re all human and we’re all doing our best. Even though we may speak different languages or eat different food, all most people want is to be able to provide for themselves and their families. To live in safety and have access to food, clean water, education, and healthcare. This doesn’t seem like too much to ask for, but it’s something that billions of people in the world do not have.
It’s empowering to know that you’re doing your part to help make the world a better place
Maybe you won’t alleviate poverty and suffering tomorrow, but by spending your career doing your small part, you are part of the solution. Having a career in global affairs means you’re very tapped into what’s going on in the world – including immense amounts of human suffering, which can be really hard to deal with. And, at the same time, that suffering is occurring whether you’re aware of it or not. By working on pressing global issues – whether it’s trafficking in persons, girls’ education, peace-building, building environmental resiliency, food security, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, and on and on – by doing your small part, at least you’re doing something about it. Every little bit helps and it’s important to do what you can.
You don’t have to be super senior or already have global experience to get started
You can make an impact and have a career in global affairs with your own special, unique set of skills. You don’t have to be a diplomat already or to have even done Peace Corps, but you do have to be ready to align your skills with your dream job – or at least a job that will get you on the right path. Are you a graphic designer? Great, you can serve as a communications expert for a non-governmental organization (NGO). Or are you an accountant? Super – any institution (the State Department, an NGO, the United Nations) needs financial experts. Do you have no professional experience, but you’re an excellent writer? Perfect – start interning to get professional experience and work your way up to become a grant writer, strategist, or advocacy advisor. There’s a million and one ways to fit your passion and ability into a career in global affairs. Figure out what you want to do and how your current skills can help you get there. Just as discussed in The Making of a Global Citizen.
You’re constantly learning
One of my favorite things about my career in global affairs is that I am constantly learning. On any given day, I get exposed to so much interesting information that my brain is always stimulated – sometimes over stimulated! I regularly read the news about current global events, which often times end up impacting my job. I am also regularly learning about new technical areas. I got my master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and joined USAID as a Crisis, Stabilization, and Governance Officer, but in the last few years, I’ve managed teams that have worked on education, health, child welfare reform, civil society, media, agriculture, tourism, energy, water basin management, local governance, de-mining, civil aviation, youth empowerment, and more. I’m not an expert in any of these fields, but I sure do know a lot more about them than I did before! You also get to learn new strategies, approaches to communication, management skills, writing, public speaking, what different ministries do, or how different countries approach governance. It’s never a boring day in global affairs!
Conclusion: I hope you are just as intrigued as I am when I first learned how I could make a difference. My career in Global affairs has been one of the most rewarding “jobs” anyone could ever hope for. As you see now, you too can enjoy the benefits that a career in Global Affairs Brings. If you would like to read more information on becoming a Ordinary Hero, check out my book, Global.
Do you have questions about beginning your career in Global Affairs, Or Maybe You Have Already Begun and Just Want To Share Your Story. Comment Below and I Will Respond To You As Soon as I Can. Want a more one on one chat, contact me.