Relocating for company expansion is becoming a more frequent choice point in careers. The challenges of relocation for work impacts company profitability and family outcomes, as well as individual career direction. An assignment overseas or in a new city may offer exciting new opportunities when it goes well. It can also derail a career or life path when it goes awry.
Whether you are a US citizen relocating abroad or you’re from another country coming to work in the United States—whether you are single, partnered, with or without children—at this stage of your career, relocating for your company may be an important next step on your career path. It may even affect your life path.
If a relocation assignment fails, the price tag for a company is costly. The stakes for an individual, couple or family are also high if everyone is not on board or ready for such a transition. Clarity about the assignment and expected results, length and what comes next, as well as making sure it’s the right next step for everyone in your family is crucial for a positive outcome.
Very few companies have the resources or commitment to invest in a preparedness assessment, strategic planning and support services that will maximize your success.
Since this is your career—and life—seeking the resources to make this immediate decision within the context of your future plans will both grow your career and your personal relationships for life.
4 Tips to Maximize Your Career Relocation and Life Success
1. Your Preparedness
Assessing your preparedness for both relocating and taking on an assignment, and your ability to hit the ground running once there, is huge, and it’s half of an individual success equation. If you have a mate and family, having the necessary supports in place so that everyone on the work team and the home team can be successful is crucial.
Some companies offer “mobilization services” in house, or more often, they supply a list of service providers for packing, moving, cultural and language training, school enrollment, tax advice, and so on.
Preparedness for you—the employee/leader—goes beyond these tactical arrangements.
Taking time to clarify details of your assignment, strategize your next steps—including contracting resources for your mate and family members—will ensure that your new assignment gets off on the right footing.
2. Mate and Family Readiness
When you, your spouse and family members have advisors to discuss all aspects of this change in your lives, everyone is more likely to go in with eyes-wide-open and prepared to work as a home team in the new environment. Discussing the pros and cons, the skills needed individually and together, creating a team spirit, helps everyone feel included in the decision to relocate and invested in a positive experience.
Knowing that your mate and children are supportive, supported, and prepared for the changes will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on the work assignment ahead.
3. Support Throughout an Assignment
It’s not just getting there and unpacking your belongings. Most assignments are for a 2-3 year long haul. That means having support people and advisors who know you and your situation to turn to for advice, maybe even skill development, as well as encouragement throughout the term.
Supports are for you as the individual/leader and couple/spousal support. It’s commonly known that how a mate adjusts is a key anchor for your success. It’s advisable to put resources in place beforehand as a preventative measure. That way if things go awry or someone becomes unhappy or dissatisfied it can be addressed immediately.
Enlightened companies with the funds sometimes provide executive coaching in relocation assignments. More often cultural resources are offered for the family. Since relocation adjustment can be a stressful experience for some, being prepared with resources can mitigate future problems.
It’s important to inquire about the support resources provided by your company, for you, your mate and family members. And, to consider outside resources when these are not available.
Such support and strategic assistance will help you when stressors or challenges arise. They will also give your family the support they so often need under new circumstances.
4. Re-Entry and Next Assignment/Life Phase Planning
While it’s ideal to anticipate the next assignment and where you wish to live even before you make a big move for your company, surprisingly, sometimes there is no next assignment. Sometimes there is no job upon ending of an overseas stint. Or you may be required to make another unanticipated move.
This outcome can derail a career and a family if not clarified beforehand, or discussed all along the assignment.
When faced with such a choice point having resources to assess, clarify and strategize your needs—and your family needs—will help you focus on re-visioning next steps based on your values and long-term goals.
Whether your company prepares you for life-after a relocation assignment, or not, its important to have the resources to help strategize your next steps, make sure your mate and family are on board, so you re-enter or move to that next assignment—or next job—as seamlessly as possible.
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