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Working in another country and not losing yourself in the process by Salonee Gadgil

What was it like moving to London and starting a career here?

I moved to London eight years ago from Mumbai, not quite knowing whether it was going to be a summer fling or a life-long love affair. I was told London would be a hard place to find work, but I’m a bit of a hustler and applied for around 50 jobs in my first three weeks. As luck would have it – and I believe luck has a role to play – I ended up with an interview at Centaur Media and landed my first job.

Workwise, I fitted in from day one. But the work itself is never the hard part when you move to a different part of the world, it’s getting used to all the fluffy human stuff that takes time, effort, thought, and (in my case) a therapist.

When you first arrive in a culture it’s very tempting to change so you can fit in better.

What advice would you give to someone looking to move to work in another country?

When you first arrive in a culture it’s very tempting to change so you can fit in better. It’s a bit like going back to middle school where you feel like you must dress, sound, act, eat like those around you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to embrace the new culture you have chosen to move to, but don’t lose all of yourself in the process. Your background and the fact you come with a different cultural perspective is an asset to your new workplace.

What drew you to working at Hawthorn?

Intrigue. Hawthorn is a quirky place, and I mean this as a compliment. Early in the interview process, it became apparent to me that it is full of very intelligent people with strange niche interests, colorful backgrounds, and atypical career paths. I wasn’t sure if I’d fit in, and exactly how my role would evolve, but I knew for sure it wouldn’t be boring.

How do you explain what you do to your family and friends?

The honest answer is I don’t try too hard to explain what I do. Most of my family and friends think I’m a writer, which is true; and that I write for corporates and brands, which is also true. But they think I am only a writer, which is not true. I started my career as a copywriter and then worked in journalism before I moved to communications, so words are at the center of my craft and where I get a lot of my creative satisfaction from. In a funny kind of way, I am attached to being defined as ‘a writer’, and a little make-belief never hurt anyone.

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