So one day you are a regular employee, stuck in the wheel, commuting, working, going home, drinking too much coffee and the next day your boss makes you an offer that sounds tempting – Can you consider doing this job on the other side of the globe? Or maybe an even better job? It may sound too good to be true, but here are five things you need to consider before you jump at the chance.
- Your mate – Far and away this is the most important consideration to make. If you are moving to the next step in your career in a new country, chances are your mate is going to need to take a step back. Even if your mate stays at home with the kids already, this is a huge change and they may have to make huge sacrifices. Make sure you take seriously all of your mate concerns early on. If they are rather negative towards the idea, this is not going to get better over time, it will probably get worse. Make sure to consider the amount of stress this will put on your family situation.
- Cultural differences – It may sound exotic and exciting to work in a new environment, but there will be huge cultural differences that come into play in the work place, for your children at school and for your mate. You need to consider how this will impact you and how flexible you will really be in a new situation. Many people overestimate their ability o fit into a new workplace environment – remember how hard it is to work with people who have completely different expectations than you do.
- Distance – Your extended family will react in different ways to your moving, and especially to being away from small children. Even if they already do not live too close, putting another thousand miles between them and your children will create tension. They may put pressure on your mate and their career situation in a new country, or they may want to spend months at a time visiting you and living with you in your new home. Come up with a plan early on for including relatives in your moving process so they don’t feel forgotten and left out.
- Your kids – Yes, there is a reason why your kids are lower down on the list. Many kids do adjust much faster than other family members to an international relocation, but you also need to take into consideration your children. If your children have special needs, are sensitive, or are very involved in the community it will be disruptive to move them. Add new languages, new schooling systems and new cultures to the regular stresses of moving and international relocation is a lot to ask. The younger the children the easier it will be. It is normal to be nervous for your children in this process, but if you really think they will be unable to cope, you may want to reconsider.
- Long term goals – Spending a few years abroad can be very advantageous to your CV, but it can also disrupt the rest of your life. It is important to sit down, together with your family, and put together a list of long term goals relating to the relocation and when you return home. Because sometimes one relocation can be followed by another, or maybe this relocation doesn’t seem quite right, but you are interested in one in the future. How does the move fit in with your plans? Can you make it work?
What were some of the important factors YOU considered before deciding to up and move your family?