ADAPTABILITY: A LESSON TO LEARN FROM THIRD CULTURE KIDS
Adaptability as defined by The Business Directory:
“Ability of an entity or organism to alter itself or its responses to the changed circumstances or environment. Adaptability shows the ability to learn from experience, and improves the fitness of the learner as a competitor”1
While observing Third Culture Kids - TCK’s (for information on TCK's, refer to my prior article on Third Culture Professionals), one can note a determination and skill to integrate into each new environment. Every few years, TCK's move on: change countries, schools and friends. As the new arrival, they may encounter the difficulty of integrating already formed groups of classmates/friends. From a young age, they position themselves and imagine means and ways of entering and fitting into a new circle.
A bit like Chameleons, they observe their new surroundings and will change their behaviour to adapt and to blend in. It can be difficult for them to leave behind friends with whom they have developed an affinity and shared interests. However, they have learned from their travels and experiences that the world is intricate and made up of many different cultures, beliefs and personality types.
Overall, TCKs are generally sociable, agile and flexible individuals. However, like adults, TCK’s may also feel the fear of rejection, but their determination to fit in and to build new relationships out masters this apprehension.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change”.
Link between Adaptability and Employability
The world of work is changing at an ever-increasing pace. Employers actively seek out employees who can adapt to changing circumstances and environments, who can embrace new changes and who are enterprising, resourceful and adaptable.
As Accompanying Partners/Expats, when you move to a country and/or start a role within a new company, you have a lot to learn from the attitude of TCK’s in their relentless pursuit and openness to adapt and to be accepted in their new surroundings.
THE ABILITY TO EMBRACE AND TO LEARN FROM CHANGE IS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR THAT ENHANCES OUR EMPLOYABILITY.
A useful guide is to be open and observe your surroundings to better comprehend others and to adapt your understanding, communication and ways of working/functioning to new environments.