A 2019 View of Relocation: Why Short-Term Challenges May Lead to Long-Term Benefits
Q: Hi, Atapon. Though it had its limitations, your job in Denmark was good, yet you decided to move to the UK to gain progression and experience. Did you feel new challenges were not present around you in Denmark, thus deciding to move abroad?
A: I felt I wasn’t progressing. I wanted multiple cases with bigger responsibility. I wasn’t in a managerial role, but I felt I was valuable and brought a lot of experience to the job that wasn’t being appreciated.
Though I wasn’t actively looking in Denmark I was open, too good of an offer came from you guys in a multinational company. This new role presented managerial responsibilities and after 4 years in the same company, it was time to move on.
Q: What was the first location that came to your mind when you heard the word relocation?
A: It needed to be a place that offered me what I valued in terms of location. I wanted a big city culture, good culinary options, a wide range of connections and new experiences. I wasn’t tied to a family so distance was not a huge issue. My new location is close to London, a good expat community was present, and so I felt it was the right time to take the leap. I think knowing what’s important for you is key when relocating.
Q: What initially convinced you to move? Did any current affairs issues such as Brexit play into your decision?
A: Once again, I feel my lack of family ties made a lot of the issues less substantial. I didn’t think I would be affected by Brexit enough for it to sway my decision, I was ready to take a risk and embrace the challenge. I needed to trust the company I was going to work for.
How can I persevere if I don’t see the positives of the situation?
Q: How often do you go back home to visit?
A: In the beginning, I went every month, especially as I felt I had more ties there. Over time, this has fallen to every other month for the weekend. This is because my connections in the UK built quickly, new relationships began, and I started to see my life and home in the UK. I think this is very healthy and important, to see yourself being present in ‘home’, at your new location. It makes it easier to adapt if you see yourself as part of the new location and embrace the leap.
Q: Thanks, Atapon, that’s a great perspective. Back to the move, do you feel the relocation went as smoothly/ not as smoothly as you initially anticipated? Were you provided the necessary support from your employer?
A: I was offered help, but I chose to do things independently. In the end, I found this to be quite a headache, especially finding the correct moving company. In hindsight, I would recommend taking support from your new employer. However, I was adamant to find my home alone. This is because I view my home as my sanctuary, so it was important for me to pick the right place. This made the move more expensive, but worth it.
Q: Do you feel you were well prepared for the relocation?
A: Relatively. All my new colleagues were very supportive and had quite a bit of experience in assisting with formalities that I may have missed on my own. The new company definitely offered the necessary support for me to feel at ease.
Q: What aspect of relocation were you initially worried about that in actuality wasn’t an issue for you?
A: I was worried about fitting in at a new company, as the company is bigger, and I was worried about communications with manufacturing and other departments. Challenges are present, but there are always ways around this. I was also worried about the functionalities of my life outside work. However, I met my current partner in London very sporadically, so I feel if you are willing, then opportunities to meet people will present themselves.
Q: Thanks for that insight. In terms of the present, what is the best part about living in your new location?
A: I think discovering how magnificent the UK can be. My advice would be to stay open to things, have a relaxed attitude and accept the change. I have come to highly appreciate the places and people around me.
Q: Do you feel satisfied to have moved, career-wise?
A: Definitely. I don’t think I would have received a similar opportunity back in Denmark so soon. Even within my company now I see new opportunities and challenges arising. Also, if I ever did move back, I feel the foreign experience would only be an advantage for me.
Q: What kind of advice would you give other professionals who are a bit hesitant to make such a big change in their lives? Do you think the situation fluctuates for those with families?
A: I understand that those with families will have other responsibilities and considerations than I did. However, you have made it so far as a responsible person who has a family that relocation should not scare you. An open attitude to challenges can lead to big rewards; relocating to a civilised country for a job offer that will set you up better in the future means you have more to gain than to lose. In a way, family may make things easier as your support system is with you and you can lean on one another. The right company will deal with the tough stuff for you such as moving, and connections may be lost but new connections will replace them.
Q: That’s wonderful Atapon, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Do you have any final thoughts on relocation that you would like to share?
A: You’re welcome. My final thoughts are just that I feel relocations can be healthy. Sometimes, a physical change may spark an internal change you didn’t know you needed. It all starts with your outlook I feel.
After speaking to Atapon we felt a few key points were emphasised as critical factors when relocating. It seems the following should be considered:
- Does the new location offer what you look for in a home city?
- Is the new company offering the support you need to move?
- Can the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term concerns?
If your answer to these three questions is yes, then maybe relocating is a leap you should embrace, as Atapon did.