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Where in the world: London

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Have you ever considered the culture change for those who relocate to London for work? Lauren Wright, director for employers EMEA at Glassdoor, shares her experiences of moving from the US to embrace life in Blighty.

Why did you move to London?

I moved here from the US on an inter-company transfer in 2015, to build and scale Glassdoor’s B2B operations across Europe. The UK was a key step in our global expansion and London the obvious choice of city.

Did you always envision moving abroad?

I’ve loved travelling since I was young. I was fascinated by airports – they seemed like an artery to the rest of the world. I grew up in San Francisco and went to New York for university – I lived in Paris for one year – and have been fortunate to travel globally.

What cultural differences did you notice?

Having lived in several major western cities, including New York, San Francisco and Paris, London isn’t terribly different. I adapted to pub culture, learned to curtail my aggressive New York subway behaviour, and have found a proper queue refreshing. 

Has the move enhanced your career; if so, how?

Every time you pack your bags to go somewhere different from what’s familiar, you have to think about what you will learn. There are few career experiences that will deepen your understanding of how the world economy harmonises (or why it doesn’t) quite as much as living and working in a different culture. 

How do professional practices compare?

Our company culture is uniquely ‘startup’, which can be very different, depending on one’s work experience. We keep that in mind as we hire locally and ensure local talent embrace the same values. It’s not a ‘British vs US’ thing, it’s about finding the right fit globally.

How has your family coped with your move?

Luckily, my family lives close to my company’s US headquarters, so I see them quarterly and I’ve always found a way to live in places they love to visit. 

How do professional practices compare?

Our company culture is uniquely ‘startup’, which can be very different, depending on one’s work experience. We keep that in mind as we hire locally and ensure local talent embrace the same values. It’s not a ‘British vs US’ thing, it’s about finding the right fit globally. 

How has your family coped with your move?

Luckily, my family lives close to my company’s US headquarters, so I see them quarterly and I’ve always found a way to live in places they love to visit.

How do living costs compare with the US?

London is expensive. We don’t go out as often, but we’re closer to great weekend holidays that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. 

 

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m jogging in Holland Park or playing in my local tennis league. I love food and cooking and exploring new cultures. 

What advice would you give others moving to London?

Be prepared – read up on the things you need to do to set up a bank account, how to find housing, and so on. Once you’re set up, live like a local!

Is there any advice you wish you’d been given?

My biggest challenge is communicating. With my home office in California, I really could have used some best practices on how to avoid two work days wrapped up in one. It’s taken a while to find the right rhythm. I still don’t have it down. 

 

Emily  Sexton-Brown

By Emily Sexton-Brown

Emily is the commissioning editor at Changeboard

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