I’ve spoken about the pros of relocation so I think it’s fair that I talked about cons as well. Yes, there are always two sides to anything, the pros, and the cons, even towards winning a lottery. Moving from one country to another is a big decision, one should not take lightly because the impact is not only yourself but also on your loved ones that were left behind.

Everyone talks about how it’ll add stars and badges on your résumé and how it will make your future employers sit up and take notice. No doubt, it is an added point but whether it is valuable to companies, I’ll say it depends on the direction of the company you are hoping to get in.

Trying not to sound negative, below are the points you will need to take heart in your decision to uproot and move.

Your judgement at this time will be colored by beautiful rainbows of how fantastic the opportunity is, what adventures you are going to have, how you are going to be living like a king (expatriate package), how you are going to meet new people and how you are going to have more exposure in your profile. All these are true however, no one is going to tell you it is an uphill task, whether it concerns your emotional, physical or mental aspect towards personal or work.

person-769804_960_720No advice
No one is going to give you the advice not to go. Why? Because it would seem to be selfish to deprive you of such a rare opportunity (it’s like telling you that you should turn down a job offer from Google) and secondly, using “I’ll miss you too much” seems too much like emotional blackmail and third, nobody wants to be the sole reason you don’t take up this chance. Regrets are probably bigger if you choose to stay than to go, it’s the way most people sees it. Of course, there are plenty of cases where staying is a lot more beneficial and logical but in a lot of people’s eyes, relocation notion is colored by rainbows (see above point).

The online articles are centralized around the materialized aspects like what to prepare, how to get your visa done, negotiating your package, culture etc. You hardly could find a good piece that addresses the emotional aspect or weighting the scale of staying or leaving, that part is pretty much up to you. I do know some good companies will have relocation HR specialist to talk through your decision to move or stay but usually, they tend to side with the company’s agenda.

plane-mediumWhat ifs 
At this point, you’ll have a lot of what ifs revolving around your head. Unless a good solid reason like family or kids kept you rooted to staying, you’ll tend to lean towards leaving. Or unless it’s going to a country you dislike. What if you stay? Most of the time, we can forecast what is going to happen in your career if you stay. You probably work in the same position for another year or two, you’ll try for a promotion or a lateral transfer in the company, and if you failed, you’ll try again in a year or two’s time.

But what if you go? Nobody knows for sure. Whether you will like it there and soar into the sky, nailing from one promotion to another or you hate it so much, you get homesick every other day that it impact your work. It’s a lot of what ifs for a person and a big leap into unknown.

Nobody is going to tell you this, but I am, because I want you to know that as much as moving to a new country is really exciting and really fun, there are still downsides to it. The biggest downside that people don’t talk about is pressure. The pressure that stems from missing home and your loved ones, your friends but the biggest pressure can come from yourself. You are craving a new life for yourself and you want to do more than good, you want great. When you relocate to a foreign country, you tend to stick out as a sore thumb, you added on pressure to yourself to prove that you are better than the locals. When you returned home for the holidays, you felt compelled to have achievements to show to your family and your company. So what you got to show that made you missed out what’s happening at home?

You won’t feel it in a long while, especially if you are young and single. Being in overseas away from the prying eyes of your parents and relatives, suddenly the world’s your oyster and every single thing is an adventure to you. But the excitement will die down eventually and you start to crave for little comforts like your home food, the usual hangouts, your friends, the warmth of home.

Especially if you are alone in a foreign country, you are sick when you are alone, you celebrate your birthdays alone, even your country’s national day can make you go all teary-eyed when you watched the celebrations over the Internet. You may start to feel missed out when you missed your father’s birthday celebrations or when your friends seem to move on with their lives with weddings and birth of their child, all without your attendance. All these will eventually pour into your work and affect your performance. Something that your HR won’t point out to you when you sign up for relocation.

Being offered a chance to relocation may seem to be a chance of a lifetime to start something new for yourself – a new life. In my opinion, it is still a great opportunity but do make sure you go in with your eyes wide open and managed your own expectations, enter in your own terms.

What are some of the issues one might face when relocating to a foreign country? Do share your advice below! Join me at my Twitter MiddleMe_net for more updates.

48 replies on “Movement Shock

  1. Kally you are right on trot as relocation carries lot of riders and one has to be circumspect about what you are talking about. Dont worry its only till you reach the place and after joining you feel like being late on getting this relocation. The challenges are different, the work culture is different, the staff is different, and more so the clients are different and more demanding bit everything has something new and worth learning and enjoying

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree. However tough, and with all the downsides – unless, as Kally says, you really don’t like the country – it’ll turn out to be a growing experience in terms of your whole personality, something that wouldn’t happen if you’d stayed home within your psychological comfort zone

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Kally, as always you are spot on. Before deciding whether or not to relocate the cons should be weighed against the pros. The biggest regrets are for decisions we didn’t make, never for getting it wrong. After all making the wrong decision can almost always be corrected.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dave for letting me know that you enjoyed the article! Yes, I always make sure that I don’t have much regrets in my life however, if we jump, we must make sure we jump in with our eyes wide open to avoid hurt and disappointment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting take on moving abroad!

    I’ve been living abroad on two occasions; first time was back in 2011, when I spent 5 months in Guangzhou, China, as an exchange student from my collage in Sweden. It was my first time abroad by myself, and I had a wonderful time (despite missing family and friends, obviously).

    My second time living abroad is right now, when I live in Bangkok. I moved here October 2014 with my girlfriend, and we’re both working and are enjoying life here as a foreigners. We don’t have these lucrative expat packages, but we still have a foreigner’s salary, making our stay here well-above comfortable.

    But to adress the point of your excellent post, Kally, I must admit that I sometimes feel like I am missing out on precious time with family and friends, especially with my parents and grandparents. I missed out on my younger brother’s high school graduation this summer, I’m gonna miss out on my other brother’s wife giving birth to their first child come June, and I’m sure to miss out on a few family get-togethers over Christmas and other events. This article comes to mind (http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html). The point being made there is that I, as a 25-year-old, have maybe lived 30% of my life, but I’ve also maybe spent over 90% of that time already with some of my family members. Those “facts” make me want to reconsider living abroad and move back closer to my family.

    However, the other side of the coin is that everyone should always look to be as happy as they can be. I remember constantly dreaming of living abroad, and always seemed to keep on complaining about everyday life in grey, dark, cold Sweden, where we only have decent enough sun maybe a few weeks per year (maybe more, but still not enough for me).

    I don’t want to write a full essay here, so I’ll try to wrap up.

    But there sure are both pros and cons with living/working abroad, and this issue is my largest (and maybe even only) con.

    Keep up the amazing work, Kally!


    1. I wrote “The point being made there is that I, as a 25-year-old, have maybe lived 30% of my life, but I’ve also maybe spent over 90% of that time already with some of my family members.”

      Clarification: I don’t know if that was clear enough. But what I meant was that of all of the times I will ever meet, let’s say my grandma, maybe I’ve covered 90% of those times already, with only having lived 30% of my assumed time here on earth.

      I highly recommend the article in question, by the way, for an interesting perspective.


    2. Thanks a lot. I guess one wouldn’t know how deep the pain could run when during homesick especially when you are back home during holidays and you suddenly felt like an outsider. Inside jokes that doesn’t include you, reunion photos that doesn’t have your face and people moved on without you. When you relocate, you kinda find out who your true friends are, those who made effort to keep in touch with you or those who just wait for you to read their Facebook status.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Word.

        I was home for a few weeks this summer and when some of my “friends” discovered this upon my return to Bangkok, they said “why didn’t you contact me?”.

        Well, had they been asking me ONCE over the last year while I was living abroad how I was or how things are going, maybe I would’ve thought to contact them. Of course, this goes both ways.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Charlotte. Having a family do make things complicated but not impossible. If you do move, please move with your family. This way, might increase the expenses but you’ll find having your loved ones around you priceless. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Most people get an idea like this and just go with it, never considering any of the bad points. Thinking they can always sort things out as and when they arise. Kally is right, always consider all the angles before committing yourself to something this big. Unless you do have a crystal ball!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kally you are absolutely right! It is a tough decision to make. Though i would love to relocate, the biggest pressure on me is leaving my loved ones. The grass always seems greener the other side. But haven’t mustered the courage to pack and go.

    But if the pros over weighs the cons , I guess we have to take a leap of faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess so too. Sometimes the leap might be too wide a gap, so cautionary is necessary. Don’t we all want to move off somewhere especially since SG is so tiny. Haha!! But I missed the safety of SG. 😦 I missed going to 7-11 store in shorts and tee in the middle of the night so I can buy microwave sandwiches or Maggi Instant whipped potato!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As a young person, whenever you get a good opportunity to spread your wings, you should. Most family and friends would want you to do so as well. And since nothing is set in stone, you can always go home again in due time, if you find out that your decision wasn’t your cup of tea. And whenever possible, you can go home and visit. I did when I decided to join the military years ago. I think that a lot of young (as well as not-so-young, for that matter), get stuck in a rut and end up never trying something that they always dreamed of doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good post! My family and I relocated from California to Virginia a few years ago – 2012. It wasn’t international, but it was bigger than any of us had ever experienced. And it was job related. The homesick thing is definitely something to consider. I didn’t really feel it until about 2 years after the move, and I really missed my girlfriends. Stupid things, like going for coffee, or hanging out after the kids went to school suddenly became hugely important. I’m still working through that. And then my mom got cancer. I couldn’t be there for her when she needed me most. That was really hard. Fortunately, she made it through chemo and radiation and is now cancer free. But in the long run, our kids have a better education, we’re able to provide more for them, and I wouldn’t move back.
    I say take the leap, but keep both eyes open when you do. And always, ALWAYS figure out some sort of support system.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great sharing, Lisa. Yes, its the little things that gets to me too. I guess I miss the little daily stuff that I have been taken for granted and not knowing when I get to see my family irks me all the time. On one hand, I would love to go back yet on the other, I felt that I would be starting all over again if I do go back.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have thought about throwing caution to the wind and moving abroad, but so far I have not. Without family ties to hold me here I am free to make my own decisions. My only ties are my partner and out cats. Who knows? The future is always full of possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If there is nothing to tie you down, I say go on and relocate freely. It is an experience and extremely eye opening. But do move together with your partner, long distance relationship is super duper painful.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. I was afraid that this post is too negative. But I wanted to provide the advices that no one has given me when I jumped head on towards moving overseas. No regrets though, just thought that if I have known all these tips, maybe I’ll enjoy the experience more.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s true with so many experiences. We jump headlong into them expecting only the positive and when the negative happens, we are filled with self doubt because we didn’t prepare for it. You are not negative, you are a realist. Negativity is a perception anyway. There is good in all that happens.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Ah, ah, ah, we do the same thing at the same time, here in Provence, near Marseille, it’s 3:00 am … Good day to you Kally … Do you want a coffee? One sugar or two?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hiya Kally I do have some issues to bring to your attention; first, you are without doubt a wonderful, kind and caring person. I just needed to get that off of my chest! Moreover, you certainly seem “smarter than a whip;” it is encouraging for me to come on over and just read. Your writing is very pleasurable and it is always quite a stir when I read such wisdom coming from such a lovely person. Okay I hope this isn’t too much…let me know if it is, k? How much planning, organizing, dream factor, and actual knowledge about where you were going to land did you do prior to your decision? Seriously language skills, as well as knowledge of the culture are so important; however, in your case it is like nothing. If I might add a thought…for most people I’d recommend that you either know a substantial amount of info on your relocation project or find out and as always, More is Better! Thanks again Kally for your pleasurable words and advices and remember…you are always in the mind and prayers of,

    J. Paul Schilling

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. I did a lot of research, talk to a lot of people for hours and read a lot before I made the decision to move. Relocation is not something taken so lightly, there are so many factors to consider and so much we neglect to factor in. This is my second relocation. Moving to shanghai was a shock but moving to Malaysia was a lot better but still a shock.

      Thank you so much for your encouragement and your words. It’s readers like you kept me writing on every single day. Appreciative and grateful, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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