Top 10 takeaways from International Secondment

Mncedisi (Disi) Ndlovu is a enior external auditor at Moore Stephens WA. He is originally from Zimbabwe and migrated to Australia in 2009. He commenced his audit career in 2013, and joined the firm in 2016. 

An avid traveller, he expressed interest in the Moore Stephens secondment program to broaden his experience, not only within the audit profession, but also to gain general life experience.

Through our international network of member firms, he was able to obtain a 6 month position at a firm in New York, New York.

The following is a list of key takeaways from his experience.

10. Be prepared, be over-prepared. No matter what you expect, it will be different.

On a practical side, this is simply to remind you to be prepared, do not assume anything. From visa requirements, apartment hunting (FYI - apartment hunting in New York City is one expensive nightmare), social security, cultural differences, etc. research it all. Being in a place for a short holiday is very different from temporarily relocating to the other side of the world for seven months.
If you would like to know the technical bits and the various documents you will need for an Aussie American secondment, don't be shy, drop me a DM.

9. Do the regular stuff.

Keep up your usual routine, not only will this help you settle in quicker, but it will make everything else feel less daunting and more comfortable. I found my local gym, joined the basketball team, and I was set.

8. Mingle Mingle Mingle.

To survive in a new environment is not easy, and you cannot do it alone. The busy and (at times) intense New York atmosphere, will either break you, or mould you.Escape your comfort zone, try new things, meet new people, go to that event you usually wouldn't, and talk to someone (the key is to just ask questions).

I found the easiest mingle strategy was through organised activity such as sport. Join a group or two, mix with the locals, during and after work. Before you know it, you are part of the herd.

7. Keep your relationships strong.

Friends and Family are your support system, your tribe. They are the reason you made it here and they will get you through any tough times you face. Keep those you leave behind up-to-date and in the loop. Social media is your friend.

Warning! Be aware of the strain that such an opportunity, like secondment, could put on your romantic relations. Distance, a new setting, long working hours, all represent new hurdles you will face as a couple. The devil is in the details, as much as you plan to keep your tribe in the loop, you must double up on these efforts for your partner. Communication is not just key, it is vital.

6. Learn to be present, in the moment and living it.

The days may be short and the nights long, but a second is all it takes to change everything (as cliche as that may sound). Live in that moment, cherish each moment, and do not allow anything to get you down for too long. Approach every situation with a positive mental attitude and enthusiastic spirit (Napolean's Masterkey: Principle 7).

In New York City, you never have to remind yourself where you are. The city lights and the sheer number of people bustling on the streets and subways will do that for you. But I did have to continually poke myself and remind myself that this moment and this experience wont last forever, so damn enjoy it, whatever it is.

5. Do the best job you can do. It’s not all work, and its not all play.

Secondment may be daunting, but don't let this discourage you. Be the best you can be. Bring that 'A game'. Confidence in yourself is vital, and communication is key. Take on that extra assignment, go that extra mile, and have that extra drink at the Christmas party.

4. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

No explanation needed here. Get involved, and just be immersed in the local culture. You don't know what you don't know. Eventually, Rome feels like home, and you become a Roman.

3. Have fun.

If you are in audit, then you already know how your typical busy season goes, 60+ hour weeks,a little fun sprinkled in and catching up on sleep. But you my friend, are on secondment...so you better sacrifice that sleep, work hard AND you play hard. What's an extra couple of leisure hours on top of that 60 (#86400). Maximise your free time by getting involved in an organised activity, this will relieve you from having to always look up things to do. Find a good buddy and make them your designated tour guide/ninja in exchange for you returning the favour when they visit.

2. Believe in yourself.

You can do whatever you set your mind to. "Confucius said: 'He who says he can and he who says he can't are both usually right", so just say yes and be positive. Do not doubt your ability, do not doubt your worthiness, the stage is set for you, in fact, it was designed for you. Belief in oneself is usually one's biggest hurdle and simultaneously one's greatest strength. The first step before anybody else in the world believes it, is you have to believe it.

1. Give Thanks.

Finally, always remember that you did not make it to this point alone. Thank your firm, thank your friends, thank your partner, your family, your mentor, your mastermind alliance. The true strength of the wolf isn’t fangs, speed and skill, it’s the pack. You can achieve more in a short space of time with them, than alone. So to all my friends, family, and all those involved in my epic journey, THANK YOU!!