“All advice can only be a product of the man of the man who gives it”
Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
As someone who has, in pursuit of more money and a better life, uprooted wife, cat, and fish tank several times over the years, take it from me: Heeding advice from others about, say, going beyond your comfort zone, or anything else really, is risky business, doubly so if you are toying with the idea of going to work in another country.
Defining and redefining your comfort zone is a very individual and unique experience and if it fails, it’s your call. There is no “one size fits all”, no one single school of thought, no one diktat. There is, however, an abundance of advice, “White Noise” I call it and it can be deafening so let’s be clear about it, ill-considered advice can jeopardize a golden opportunity… Change management? I’ve been there…
For years I had a career in a sector where mobility is, up to a certain point, part and parcel of the career plan, the more key brands you have on your CV the more chance you have a getting a better position (not too many positions though otherwise, questions start getting asked) until you reach the point where you’ve either made it or some serious thought needs to be given to a career plan that looked so promising not long before.
We’ve all had them. After reaching one milestone, a period of introspection, quite a few bread and butter jobs and counselling from professionals, I decided to transition to the IT/PC sector, with specific soft and hard skills acquired along the way helping to facilitate and consolidate a move, counselled by professionals, I didn’t regret. N.B. It’s important to note that I, and I alone, chose to act upon the expert advice I’d been given, I didn’t act on comments I’d read on a popular professional social media site, it didn’t exist then anyway, or advice from the delivery hero guy, no offense dude.
Fast forward a few years and another milestone was reached. The chosen new career was moving ahead nicely and soon headhunters, career advisors and other “Experts” started taking an interest and offering invariably dismissible advice. But from the triage, the idea of geographical mobility and relocation started offering interesting perspectives. For some, job mobility is a no-brainer. You pack your things and you’re off, it’s as simple as that. For others, it’s a move that needs looking into seriously, more so as the years progress and the responsibilities pile up and for others, out of the question!
So what are the potential obstacles? Homeowner? Check! … Kids at school? Check! … Wife/SO has a good job? Check! … Member of the local XYZ association/club/team? Check! Etc and so on. Depending on your state of mind that’s either a daunting challenge or one you relish. In all this, it’s important to remember that each situation is unique. Advice that may be relevant for someone else may not be for you. Whatever your decision, it’s crucial to keep in mind that in the end, it’s you, and you alone, who must bear the responsibility for your decisions.
Those Sweet Sounding Sirens
Finally, beware of people offering advice who start, or finish a sentence with “In my opinion”, “Honestly”, “Frankly”, “Personally” or ”I may be wrong but…” By preposing words of advice with such disclaimers, even the most well-meaning people are effectively disengaging themselves from any moral, technical or legal responsibility should things not work out the way you planned. Listen politely, or not, but remember that in any litigation and unless you had a written contract with a bona fide consultant you don’t have a leg to stand on. If you really want to be sure about your next move, especially when considering relocating to another country, ask a certified expert. Such people exist. The decision is still yours but at least you’ll be basing it on facts.
My advice to you? Don’t ask a neighbour or the delivery hero guy for advice. At a stretch, read a blog on LinkedIn and weigh the pros and cons but above all, go seek professional, experienced counsel then make your decision… Frankly, you won’t regret it.