In February 2010 my husband, Jeff, and I quit our jobs and left the city we love and call home, San Francisco. Eight months earlier we had made the decision to go to Brazil for 6 months for a little adventure – yes, that’s all it took, a decision, made in a two-hour car ride, plus a little money in our savings account. From the start, our journey was intended to be more than a traveling exploration through another country; we had hopes of advancing our careers and leaping into another realm where we weren’t stuck at our desks all day.
So for six months we lived in São Paulo, attempting to navigate a new business culture, often with wary eyes. While we had expected business in Brazil to move at a different pace, we hadn’t expected many of the other factors that lead the country to rank so poorly on the World Bank’s “Doing Business” report (check out this post on our blog, Rooted Journeys, for more). Social and cultural differences are expected and generally easier to accept and adjust to. When it comes to business, we’ve found it more difficult to adapt.
- Never underestimate the value of trusting those around you, especially in business – when you insert yourself into another culture, you’re automatically more vulnerable being a foreigner, and this is certainly the case in Brazil. But also in Brazil, as they have a history that instigates short-term thinking, finding trustable consultants that aren’t out to get a fast dollar is harder than you might think.
- Figuring out your career passion is hard to do from a desk indoors – I never thought we’d spend so much time on farms in the span of a year.
- “America will always be there” – I didn’t realize how many times I’d say this to myself, as it’s quite comforting.