Do you ever contemplate relocating to another part of the country, or another part of the world? Do you wonder if greener pastures are on the other side? Are there new, different, more exciting opportunities for you someplace else? It certainly is possible that something different, maybe even better, awaits you in another location. But the real questions revolve around whether you’re ready to make that kind of move and how doing so would affect your personal and professional life.
If you already work for a large corporation with an international presence, you may already have an opportunity to make a change to different location. Network with some senior people at your company and ask about existing or planned domestic and/or international operations. An employee with a solid record of responsibility and achievement might be just the right person to fill a needed vacancy in another location, domestic or abroad.
Five years ago an acquaintance casually mentioned he was restless and wanted a change of venue for a while. I encouraged him to speak candidly with his bosses. Smartly, he sat down with his supervisor to talk about how he was feeling, that he was restless, and that he was even thinking about quitting. Since he was already a trusted and valuable employee, the supervisor, made a quick call to one of the corporate executives, and by the end of the business day the guy was set to open a new company office in Rome. Since new offices in multiple European cities were already in the pipeline, his timing was excellent. He has now opened offices in Rome, Sweden and Barcelona, and his employer is very appreciative.
It didn’t hurt that this fellow spoke fluent Italian in addition to his native English. Anyone taking on such a move would benefit from being multi-lingual or be able to quickly learn another tongue. However, adapting to a new language doesn’t come easily to many people.
Comfort and acceptance of different cultures and ways of doing things will also be important. Immersing yourself into a totally new environment, even if you do speak the language, can be very stressful, confusing, lonely and frustrating. But it can also be rewarding, challenging, enlightening and inspiring. But the immersion of a long-term stay is different from typical vacation travel, where, at best, you’re only getting a little taste of what it’s like to be a local in those new surroundings.
Here are some other things worth your consideration prior to making a big move.
How much do you already know about where you’ll be moving to, and are you willing to do some research in advance?
How well do you assimilate with new people, situations and relationships?
Will you be distracted by all the things that are different in your new location?
Will you have any special requirements; things such as dietary needs, medical supplies, transportation, or specialized equipment?
Will your work be centered around your new location and time zone, or will you need to work odd hours to accommodate the needs of distant offices or clients, and telecommuting at 3:00 A.M.?
Will you be able to adjust to local weather, climate or altitude conditions?
Will you be able to maintain your lifestyle on the salary of a new location?
What will you do with your current residence? Give it up? Rent it out? Sell it? And what about any ongoing expenses “back home” while you’re living elsewhere?
How much assistance will your employer provide in finding housing, directing you to important local services, relocation expenses, acquiring work permits and visas?
Will you have buy-in from your family and significant others?
Will the company defray the cost of relocating a spouse, domestic partner or children?
This is just a sampling of considerations. The questions you must ask yourself before relocating will be mostly about your own needs and wants for comfort and managing your work and personal life in a different place. Any familiarity you already have with the new locale is a bonus; you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll be getting into.
If you don’t work for a large corporation with offices scattered domestically and/or abroad, that’s ok. If you are seeking greener pastures, there are many opportunities for you in other cities or countries. Be honest with yourself about your skills and where you want to be. Do a ton of research about employment in your desired location, maybe contacting the economic development office of your target locale, or the individual companies where your talents can best be utilized.
Relocation can be difficult, but it can also be an experience like no other. So if you’re looking for greener pastures, start investigating your options and interests. A new start may be just what you’re looking for. Happy trails to you.
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