Moving half way round the world is a big deal. It takes mega-planning!

Every aspect of your life is going to change. Figuring out the multiple strands of schools, housing, removals, visas, doctors, insurance – in fact all the practical elements – is going to test your ingenuity and resilience to the full.

And if you’re re-locating as a family with only one on an expat contract, the chances are the other is going to have a bit of an expat ‘gap’ month /year /or before you know it a big handful of years with your career on the back burner!

I’ve known a lot of expats – I was one myself for 24 years – and one of the common experiences I’ve observed for newly arriving families is to ‘get the kids settled’. That for many parents is top priority. If the children are happy, family life runs more smoothly. By the time all the practical aspects of life are under control and you’re ready to start thinking about your own fulfillment, the two-year contract has run half its course. Is it worth even starting to explore how your professional life can work in the new setting, even if you are legally eligible to work?

Does this sound familiar? And when the second salary is not as vital (often one of the benefits of expat life) it’s tempting to take a deep breath and enjoy the break!

But why not think again? Moving overseas can offer an amazing opportunity to take a long slow look at how life could be different. This is actually the perfect time to take stock, dig deep and consider this to be your time of re-invention.

How to get clear about your Expat career options

First though, a word of warning – don’t fall into the common misconception that you have to take whatever comes your way. This is the perfect time to think more deeply about what you have to offer and head off in a new direction, using skills you’ve developed over your life so far. Find a role, a cause or an organization that inspires you, then pitch your skills and experience alongside your enthusiasm, energy and motivation – these are often worth far more than hard skills alone. Don’t assume they won’t want you because your experience doesn’t exactly fit – when you know WHY this matters so much to you and can provide some transferrable expertise, doors start to open.

‘Ask for what you want – not what you think you can get’

Click here for 6 ways to re-invent your expat career.

Written by British mums Becky Kilsby, the Founder and Career Coach at Freestyle Careers,  working with professionals around the world to create more fulfilling working lives by aligning who they are with what they do.

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