When you move to another country without a set job but following your partner, it is quite challenging to get your way around. In the very beginning I was thinking – well, I have really very cool international experience in sales, I speak four languages, I just quit my directorship position so I can follow my heart…
Yes but not exactly.
Obstacle # 1 – this country doesn’t care who you were, i.e. you start from scratch.
Obstacle #2 If you want to be someone, learn the local language , i.e. it takes time, lots of time to get to the level of being eligible for decent job positions.
Obstacle #3 – diploma. If you have a diploma, which is not from the country or you have changed your career path at a very early stage, you are almost out of track – you have to start form scratch. It can take at least 2-3 years to get local diploma.
Obstacle #4 – location. If you don’t live in the capital or another bigger city and you have broader expertise – forget about it. Not only you are taken completely out of your comfort zone – there isn’t any anymore, but being out of you context can make distaters to your personal and professional self esteem.
Obstacle #5 – your partner is very well set where he/she is and doesn’t want to change anything. i.e. you are just an added value to the picture. Not for you. Regardless the support you get you still feel completely stuck.
Obstacle #6 – you have kids too. Changing settings like schools, friends location is not very welcomed by the kids as they can adapt, but they don’t want to do it. At a certain age you can’t just take kids and move them around as they have their own life already.
Result – angry, desperate, completely confused but never ending trying foreigner who struggles as the age is not 20.
I don’t want you to take me as ungrateful person but after four years of devotion, a second kid and mingling between what I really want to do and what really it is there for me created such a huge gap that drastic change is inevitable. I am very flattered from the fact that my spouse supports me in the best possible way but is this support a favour for both of us? Paying bills alone, having the financial responsibility for 4 people while the other partner struggles finding a job is very heavy thing. Next to the fact that the partner isn’t happy at all. The tension is huge, borders are crossed, dream is over. Is the added value actually a value or not?
What is the solution? Many people will say – move to another city, a bigger one – YES!!!! I find this a very good solution too so more opportunities can be created when you are on place. But it is not only about me. If I was alone, I would definitely do it. But I am not. If I make a choice to move to another city, I have to move with everyone. This means that my partner has to travel 60 min one direction every day to work, my elder son will change his environment, should leave his friends, his world. For what? For me trying to create bigger opportunities for me and the family of course.
Some other people will say – make a compromise and get any kind of job. YES!!! This is a solution when you are ok to go for positions like cleaning houses and being on a production line in a factory – the rest of decent jobs are kept for the locals – none talks about it but it is clear. You are at your 40s and very well receipted in your country. But if you had about 10 years of international career in sales, teaching and public speaking, you are a bit out your context with such position. It is not only about the money.
Some other will say – all move to your country. YES!!! Great option in the ideal situation, which is not. Going out of the comfort zone is not for everyone. You can’t convince a person with steady job, family in the location you live and some friends, never lived in another country to make this big step.
Starting your own business – YES!!! This is possible too. However there is always an obstacle – your language knowledge will never be good enough for the locals. So if they want to cut you off this will be the regular excuse. Then you need some funding – how can you get it when your partner does anything possible to cover the expenses. You can’t just ask him to extra fund your ideas. And then the advice – get funding from the start up accelerators and so on and so on….
At the end of the day it is slow process, needs time devotion and I have two kids. So what should I do first? After so many “no” answers and rejections I ask myself the question – am I the only one who can’t adapt? Are there more like me? What is the solution? How can I be good enough for me as a professional and for my family?
However I can’t still live like this as this makes me feel completely useless. The idea that you are not good enough for a place you live, all the tries for years to end up with lots of questions which lead to answers that a bit theoretical but in practice they don’t work.