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"…this book is a huge contribution to the expatriate experience. It addresses every aspect of the impact of the move: mind, body and spirit."

Kacie Liput, Corporate Expatriate Wife and
Community Organizer



About the Book

Description of A Portable Identity


A Portable Identity is an interactive book filled with powerful exercises, essential information, personal stories, and a practical, easy-to use model to assist accompanying spouses to take charge of the changes associated with an international relocation. It is a valuable expatriate resource that can be utilized at any stage of the move – from pre-departure to arrival, while living overseas, and during repatriation – to ensure a successful transition.

Content
Part One of the book illustrates the impact of an international relocation on an accompanying spouse’s identity. She learns how her original identity picture goes through several alterations: first, by the decision to move; second, by the actual departure from her home country; third, by the entry into the foreign country; and, finally, by the addition of new roles and relationships in her life overseas. By illustrating the process of identity loss and change during each stage of the move, a woman sees how her identity is in a state of transition.

Parts Two through Five of the book guide an accompanying spouse to successfully resolve this state of transition of her identity. She learns that having an identity in transition offers her a unique opportunity to reassess her life within the context of so much change. By using The Wheel, a comprehensive, step by step model we developed, she makes a critical choice to take charge of what is happening to her identity. The first step of The Wheel is to make a commitment to herself to take charge of how her identity takes shape. To move forward with intention, she must be willing to grow, change, and to take risks. The second step of The Wheel is to access and activate her innate personal resources; and the third step is to pick up and use tools for change in a specific, action oriented approach. We describe the five resources and the seven tools individually, with examples for clarification. We demonstrate how using the steps of The Wheel together empowers a woman to create the life she envisions where ever she is located in the world and also allows her to be more adaptable to change. The result is a "portable" identity and a more successful adjustment to the mobile lifestyle, both overseas and during repatriation.

Format
The format of A Portable Identity is a composite of a workbook and a narrative. The material that we present is interspersed with our own personal stories about moving, living, and working overseas, as well as self-guided questions and exercises for the accompanying spouse. We include our personal stories as examples of what we discuss, and also to inspire the reader to tell her own story. The reader, in effect, becomes the central character of the book. Through experiential exercises, she describes the effect of an international relocation on her identity, has the opportunity to work through the steps of The Wheel, and develops an action plan to reconstruct her identity in a foreign country or when she returns home during repatriation.

Audience/Readership
The primary reader of A Portable Identity is the woman who moves overseas in support of her husband’s or partner’s career. The book is written specifically for her, to support her experience and validate her needs as the accompanying or trailing spouse during an international relocation. Historically, her needs have been secondary to the demands of her husband's career. The book allows her to focus on herself during a time when her life is largely defined outside of herself, as the "wife of" the employee who has been posted overseas.

Others will benefit from the book as well. For example, international human resource managers, relocation professionals, relocation specialists, and employee assistance professionals will find the book a valuable expatriate resource which they can provide or recommend to women moving and living overseas in support of their husbands' or partners’ careers. In addition, the content of the book may also apply to male expatriate accompanying spouses, as well as international expatriate women pursuing their own careers. In essence, A Portable Identity is about taking charge of change, regardless of a person's given situation.

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