Make us your home page

Job horizons grow when workers learn languages, seek overseas projects

Are you willing to work on a short-term project? Does the idea of working in another part of the country or overseas for a few months or a year or two appeal to you? If so, you are right in line with a major trend going on in corporate America these days. And, if you are open to learning foreign languages and cultures other than Chinese and Spanish — say Portuguese— you are also on the crest of a wave.

Short-term projects

Websites like note a growing trend among job seekers. They are taking on a short-term project. The site says, "Project Assignments may be more available than full-time jobs and you should look for them whenever possible, for the following reasons:

• They create some income while giving you the opportunity to continue your job search.

• You can put them on your resume so you do not look like you have not been working.

• They provide something interesting to do as looking for a job full time is not a very rewarding experience; a better frame of mind during an interview will reflect a more favorable attitude.

• You can work nationwide from home as many projects are not site-based.

• They may extend to longer assignments or full time positions."

These short-term assignments are especially good for older workers because they are more experienced. This group often requires less training and is more accustomed to taking on these types of projects. And, because many older employees are having a tough time finding full-time work, the short-term assignment may be just the thing to get them back in the job market with an enhanced resume. The site includes project opportunities in marketing, training, sales, engineering, finance and human resources.

Unusual language skills: Another trend shows that while English dominates the business world, and Spanish and Mandarin Chinese are still important languages to have under your belt, others, like Portuguese, are coming up fast. Why? American companies are quickly expanding into Brazil and other countries where Portuguese is the native tongue. Brazil makes up 48 percent of South America's economic power. And. while the country has had its economic ups and downs, oil, mining and manufacturing are fast-growing economic sectors.

Most people in large cities speak English, but once you are assigned to a smaller or more rural area, there are fewer English speakers. You'll have to communicate in the native language and understand native customs and cultures. For example, the website notes: "Expats should be especially aware of the fact that working in Brazil is usually possible only with sufficient knowledge of Portuguese." Even in some sections of the People's Republic of China, Portuguese dominates. For example, in Macau, where tourism, textiles and finance are major economic drivers, Portuguese is the dominant tongue.

And remember if you are doing business in countries outside the United States, attitudes, backgrounds and culture will be different. Negotiating with people who speak your language when you don't speak theirs means they understand more about you than you do about them. That can be a huge business disadvantage.

Marie Stempinski is president and founder of Strategic Communication in St. Petersburg. She specializes in public relations, marketing, business development trends and employee motivation. She can be reached at or through her website: www.howtomotivateemployees.

Job horizons grow when workers learn languages, seek overseas projects 10/14/12 [Last modified: Sunday, October 14, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  3. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO


    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Sherry Smith is taking over as CEO at Triad Retail Media, the company announced Monday. | [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  5. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

    Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 Fourth Ave. NE in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]