December is hectic. Many of us are working on projects that our clients or stakeholders want completed by year end. For many professionals, December is the most important month to close out deals, renew contracts and hit annual targets. For others, it’s the end of another financial year and the pressures to report a positive financial result. Not only are we dealing with added business pressures, but we’re also contending with the added requirements that come with organising Christmas. Between shopping for gifts, buying and decorating the tree, and finding time to meet up with family and friends, we can easily feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Once we wrap up our last few days in work, we’ll head out of the city towards home. We look forward to those long lazy days, eating and drinking too much, surrounded by those we love. It’s the time of year when many return from overseas to spend the holidays with their families and loved ones. It’s often a time for reflection. In the comfort of their old family home, surrounded by siblings and parents, many think about the possibility of returning home for good.
Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever wondered could you make it happen? Perhaps you’re starting to see real changes in your parents as they age? Are you worried who will look after them in the years to come? Perhaps you’ve got young children yourself and are finding it a real struggle living overseas without family support? Having granny or granddad, or an aunt or uncle, help out with babysitting now and then would be hugely helpful. Maybe you see your children playing with their cousins and it makes you wish they could build closer ties? Perhaps you’re living in the same country as your family but you’re in the city and they’re located miles away. It’s difficult to find time to visit. With the demands of work and being a parent, you don’t get to see them as often as you’d like. Perhaps 2018 will be the year when you take action and make it happen.
I hear this story so often from senior executives. They’re progressing in their careers, working for brilliant organisations and earning large remuneration packages. All is great. They have their first child, and perhaps they’re blessed with a second. Then their life begins to change and so do their needs. The extended family takes on a much more important role for them. They begin to look to the future with a different set of eyes. They start considering the schooling options in their area and inevitably compare it to the options available in their homeland. They want their children to develop close, loving relationships with grandparents and cousins. As we age, we often look with rose tinted glasses on the squabbles and infighting that’s gone on in our own family and diminish their importance. We learn to look past them and see the true value that extended family brings.
So with this in mind I wanted to share some of the questions I ask my coaching clients who are focused on moving closer to home. It’s not an exhaustive list but will help get you thinking about what you really want for your family and your career in the future. It will bring some clarity as you head into the holiday season.
It’s a simple question but you’ve got to ask yourself “why do I want to relocate?” What’s pulling you to move? Be open and honest with yourself and your partner. Write down the reasons in a journal. Is it due to changes in your family circumstances, a new arrival or kids starting school next year, perhaps it's the breakup of a relationship that is prompting you to return? Is it something to do with your parents or their health? Are you being driven to change due to professional or career factors? Are the factors short or long term? You’ve got to be clear on why you want to move before taking action.
Gains & Losses
With any decision in life there are things we’ll gain, and there are things we’ll lose. Using your journal write out a comprehensive list of what you’ll gain by moving home. Consider the short-term and long-term gains to you and your partner both personally and professionally, your children and your extended family. Now write a list of the potential short-term and long-term loses or consequences for the same group. Comparing one list with the other will enable you to weigh up the pros and cons and give you further clarity on your decision.
Perhaps when you return home at Christmas everything is great among your siblings and parents. But how are your family relationships the rest of the year? How will relocating home permanently affect your interactions with parents, siblings and in-laws? What is your role within the family currently and how will this change when you return home? There is no doubt you will be expected to contribute more of your time to caring for elderly or ill parents, for example. How will this impact on your time with your immediate family?
Opportunities & Value
What are the career options for you and your partner? Are your skills in demand and are they valued? Many people overlook this vital question. Will companies pay the level of remuneration you’re earning abroad? If not, what are you going to do? How will compromising impact on your short and long term life goals? Is it worth compromising on? Can you ensure that you will both continue to develop your skills and progress your careers in the years to come?
How would you rate your network at home? Have you kept good ties with former colleagues and old college friends while away? How can their insights about the jobs market add value to you making your decision? Often family members work in very different sectors to us. Look to others in your network that can help you, and start talking to them.
Driving your career forward requires an action plan. No one else knows you better than you know yourself. You can’t rely on someone else to find your dream job for you. That’s your responsibility. Doing this from another country is more complicated and requires a lot more planning and a lot more effort. You're gonna need help. How are your energy levels? Are you prepared to work hard to make this a reality? Who can help you to scope out your plan and support you to take the necessary actions to achieve this goal?
Christmas is a perfect time to stop and think. Taking time to reflect on what you really want for your life and your career is the best present you’ll ever give yourself. Most of us spend our lives reacting to what’s happening around us. Make 2018 the year you’re going to start focusing on what you really want. Invest time and money in getting help to achieve your goals. You’ll be so glad that you did. And when you look back on 2018 you’ll have a great sense of pride and accomplishment. You made it happen.
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