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.
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.
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.