When you receive a job offer, it is a great way to move forward to your chosen career. However, when you see that your job offer will lead you to another country, there are a lot of questions that would pass your mind. Is it time for you to try moving overseas for your career? Can you adapt well?
I know I had endless sleepless nights when my company propose to relocate me. I am excited at the opportunity at a new foreign land. I am scared that I am going to be homesick and feeling alone. I am apprehensive that I wouldn’t do well in my new role and made that big effort to move go down in shame.
And all these feelings are legit and valid. So before you move, here are the things to consider to see if relocating for work is worth it.
Before you move to another country for work, you must know who is paying your relocation. Usually, the employer should have a relocation policy in place to help you move to a new country.
The policy will give you an idea of what the company will cover for the relocation and how will they hand it over. Companies vary when it comes to relocation policies, especially if the assignment is overseas and if it is for a long-term job. For example, you might need to get transportation for your bigger belongs such as a bike, needing something that offers bikes only transport.
The higher your position is or if your role is specialised and irreplaceable in the foreign land, the more likely your relocation package will come with an array of benefit with a fat paycheck. However, if this is the dream company and dream job that you want to work in, sometimes forking out the expenses yourself to move nearer to the office makes you more attractive to hire you.
Future of the company
It can be difficult to say where a company will be in the next five years. Some companies may look strong at first, but they may end up bankrupt in the next few months.
Do your research on the stability of the company you are working for and see if they will be able to support your move for a long time. If you think they are stable business-wise, you can be reassured they will support your move. If not, you can opt not to move.
You do not want to heave all your belongings, say tearful goodbyes to your family and to only find out that you need to move back to your home country after 6 months of being there because your company closed down.
Review your company’s promotion guidelines and ask your recruiter about it. Take time to talk to your supervisors on the opportunities in the overseas offices. Don’t be afraid to ask because relocating for a job overseas is not easy.
You want to make sure that your move is to upgrade your career, and not the other way around.
Comfort level with change
Even if the move is fully paid by your company and the job is very good for your career, you can’t really be sure if you will be ok with the move.
It’s possible that you may find it hard to relocate to another location and it may even overwhelm you. Ask yourself if you will be able to adjust and if you have a family, see how the move will affect them.
I must admit that I didn’t consider this when I first relocate for work. I thought I will be fine, after all, I was used to being alone most of the time. Until the realization that I took a lot of things for granted hit me hard. It was a rough time spending festive seasons without your family or when you feel really sick without homecooked food.
I counted myself lucky that I managed to build friendship over time and had a great support system at my workplace.
Spousal agreement and comfort level
If you have a family, you will need to ask your spouse if they will be open to the move. If you will be moving the entire family to the new location, you need to consider if they will be able to get a new job in the new location or adjust. Speak with them about the move so you can plan accordingly.
When I relocated to Shanghai for work, I was single. My parents are both pretty young and healthy. My younger sister is still living with them. So there wasn’t much for me to consider.
If you are in a relationship, you will need to consider the consequences. Will your partner follow you? Will your partner able to find work or advance his / her career in the new country? Is your relationship strong enough to sustain long-distance if he or she is not following you?
Children comfort level
If your child will be moving with you, see if they will be able to adapt to the new location. See what education options are available for them and how close they are to your new home. You should also check their health requirements and their other needs to see if you can get it on your new home.
Now that I have a child, I would think twice about relocation. The younger the child, there are more to consider. Like vaccinations, health check-ups, education etc.
Finally, you should always have a backup plan available in case the relocation doesn’t work out. You should check what options are available for you if you go back to your original location or you will be able to find a new job in your new location.
I didn’t have plan B when I choose to relocate to Shanghai. However, when I relocated the second time (this time to Kuala Lumpur), I made plenty of back up plans. In any case, Singapore (my home country) is just 45 mins flight away so it is easy to hop on a plane whenever I miss my family and friends.
Relocating for a job can be tricky, especially if there’s a lot of unknown. When you get a job offer that will cause you to relocate, do your research and ask yourself if you can do it. Remember, there will be other opportunities out there that you can try if you think it isn’t right for you. If you think it is time to move, then do it.
If you still hesitating on whether a move is good for your career, read these:
What You Didn’t Know You Could Negotiate When Relocating for a Job?
Top 10 countries in Asia to Relocate as an Expat
Why Working Abroad is a Good Career Booster?
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