We’re Moving WHERE?

Job-related relocation can be quite a leap for the ‘accompanying partner’.It’s also the number one reason assignments fail. You won’t believe the price tag.

Imagine coming home from a day at work, starting dinner, throwing a load of towels into the washer, running one kid to soccer practice and dropping another off at ballet, then getting a text from your spouse: “How would you like to move to London?”

Even for those individuals for whom this is a long-awaited adventure, the question might just as well be, “How would you like to completely uproot our lives, sell the house on short notice, pack up all of our worldly belongings, move our kids to a new country where their best friends since nursery school won’t be, where people talk with a different accent, our medical records aren’t easily accessible, they drive on the other side of the road, and we’re a 12-hour, trans-Atlantic plane ride away from our aging parents? Oh, and by the way, you’re going to have to quarantine the dog and quit the job you love.”

Sign me up, right?

[Read more…]

Stressed Out? (Relocating families may be, too!)

Did you know that individuals and families in relocation are more susceptible to illness than those who are not in the midst of major life transitions?

 

It’s all related to stress… distress (those negative events and circumstances that disrupt our lives) and eustress (good things that happen, but still cause disruption). Two psychiatrists, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe, identified Life Change Units (LCUs) back in the late ‘60’s, and created the Social Readjustment Rating Scale to help individuals assess their risk of psychosomatic illness based on the stress in their lives. (You can check out the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory HERE.) The theory goes that individuals who acquire 150 to 300 points have a 50% higher risk of a major health breakdown over the subsequent two years; those who acquire 300 points or more are 80% more likely to encounter major health concerns.

 

To illustrate, consider how people who are changing jobs and moving can rack up LCUs points (in parentheses) quickly:

  • Major business readjustment (39)
  • Major change in financial state (38)
  • Taking on a mortgage (31)
  • Major change in responsibilities at work (29)
  • Outstanding personal achievement (28)
  • Spouse beginning or ceasing work outside the home (26)
  • Major change in living condition (25)
  • Major changes in working hours or conditions (20)
  • Changes in residence (20)
  • Changing to a new school (20)
  • Major change in church/social/recreational activities (19-20 pts. each)

 

If you add in a Split-Family Relocation which causes a marital separation from partner (65) and subsequent reconciliation (45), a relocating employee can quickly add up well over 300 points in a short period of time. (And that doesn’t even count all the “normal” stressors associated with daily living, such as holidays (12) and a change in sleeping habits (16).)

 

Relocation professionals who work with families in transition can be advocates by recognizing and supporting stressors and encouraging the families they support to engage in activities that support wellness.

 

The National Wellness Institute, founded in 1977, identifies six components of wellness:

 

Helping clients acclimate to a new community and facilitating opportunities for transferees and their families to meet peers contributes to Social Wellness.

 

Physical Wellness, becoming physically fit and consuming nutritious food, can be supported by helping to identify healthy food sources, locating fitness facilities and encouraging family time for physical activity.

 

Intellectual Wellness includes engaging in creative, stimulating mental activity.  Relocated employees immerse themselves in new work activities, but accompanying partners appreciate help in identifying meaningful pursuits, particularly after the logistics of the move are settled.

 

Everyone needs a sense of purpose, and Occupational Wellness refers to personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through work.  Spouses who have left careers behind may need support exploring employment options in a new location.

 

Emotional Wellness is the degree to which an individual feels positive and enthusiastic about his or her life.  Encouraging employees and their families to examine how they feel about the changes that have occurred due to their move helps them to accept these changes and make forward-looking plans.

 

Spiritual Wellness relates to an individual’s search for meaning and purpose.  Living in a way that is consistent with closely-held values promotes growth in this area.

 

Recognizing common stressors of families in transition, as well as the components of wellness can support relocating families to achieve to successful transitions.

 

Amy Connelly (aconnelly@reacareers.com) is REA’s Manager of Training and Resource Development.

When Your Valentine is Far Away

Long-distance relationships pre-date Ulysses and Penelope, Homer’s heroic couple who endured a 20-year separation during and following the Trojan War. The 21st Century incarnation includes updated descriptors, such as “deployment,” most frequently associated with military separations; “Split-Family Relocation,” a term that has entered the lexicon of the relocation industry in recent years; and “LDR,” the online moniker for this decidedly offline concept.

Both the challenges of long-distance love and the principles of strengthening relationships have remained constant through the ages. While the suitors and Sirens that Ulysses and Penelope battled possessed mythical characteristics, the challenges Homer chronicled parallel those that modern couples face: prolonged separation, concern for the other’s safety, tests of fidelity, struggles to manage resources, and lack of companionship. [Read more…]

Let it Snow! Job-Search strategies for the Holidays.

We get it.  Maybe there’s inclement weather.  There are added to-do’s on the list. There’s the entertaining, the re-prioritizing.  Doesn’t seem like the ideal set-up for moving a job-search forward.  Or does it?

REA’s coaching team recently gathered to discuss the subject of your holiday job-search and here’s how we see it:

Yes, you can.  If you want to.

 

IF you want to KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING:

  • There’s a PERCEPTION that this is a “slow season,”… but it really isn’t. HR managers and recruiters are typically working very hard this time of year to fill vacancies and to use their annual budgets to avoid cuts in the coming year.
  • Since there is that perception, there are often fewer candidates, and that can translate into less competition for some great opportunities.
  • People seem to be in a better mood during the holidays. As such, hiring managers (and others who have their ear) may be more apt to be helpful. They may also have more downtime, particularly as vacation time stalls group productivity, so it’s a good time to set up meetings.

IF you prefer to TAKE A BREAK:

This is a perfect time for planning! Finalizing a resume, updating a LinkedIn profile, developing a marketing plan, and gathering other tools (BTW…holiday specials on business and greeting cards are prevalent), are all worthwhile activities.

  • There are myriad opportunities to volunteer this time of year, too. Giving back enhances sense of purpose, and we know the value of developing new skill sets and extending networks, right?
  • Clear the cobwebs! Take care of issues that may be preventing progress in the search.  It’s a good time for rejuvenation, family time, and life organization.
  • Get to know your new community! For all the reasons it’s a good time to job hunt, it’s also a great time to immerse into your new hometown and build new networks.

Whatever road you choose…The holiday gift that everyone can enjoy is enhanced networking opportunities!  Remember to track your contacts and to follow-up appropriately!  (Greeting cards are an obvious option to share seasonal outreach and update existing networks about life changes.)

Here are links to relevant articles around the web, shared by our coaching team:

Happy hunting!  (Or not…)

Lend a Hand. Leave Your Mark. Land a Job.

Once the dust has settled from moving pets and personal belongings into a new home, volunteering may also offer an appealing way to settle into a new community. Lending a hand where it’s needed is a good way to boost self-esteem, demonstrate a strong work ethic and help leave a lasting impression.

Another benefit of voluntarism is that “doing good” can often contribute to “doing well,” long-term. Job interviewers surveyed by Deloitte (Fortune, 2016) observed a connection between unpaid work and finding a job.

In fact:

82% of interviewers stated that they prefer applicants with volunteer experience;

92% say volunteer activities build leadership skills;

The same study noted that, despite the favorability of volunteer work among potential employers, only 32% of job seekers mention unpaid community-service experience on their resumes.

Here are some other benefits of volunteering:

  • Purpose: Volunteering allows individuals and families to immerse themselves into a new community while supporting a meaningful cause and providing a sense of purpose.
  • Flexibility: If schedule management is an issue, the time spent in volunteer work can be as flexible or as structured as needed.
  • Healthy Outlook: Change can be difficult, and boredom can wreak havoc for individuals who are predisposed to depression. Doing something for others is good medicine.
  • Skill Development: Keeping active through volunteering can enhance existing or develop new skills for future career opportunities…or while waiting for visa issues to be resolved.
  • Career Redirection: Volunteering is a creative way to try out a new line of work. When considering a career change, working in a non-profit organization or as an intern in a target company can help to test a new application of skills for long-term career development.
  • Networking: Few networking experiences are better than meeting people through voluntarism. Many corporations encourage their management team to support communities through service. Volunteering alongside professionals who are in a hiring capacity can be quite beneficial to landing a dream job.

As the Chinese proverb says, “A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers.” For relocating partners, volunteer work can help support the sweet smell of success.

Check out REA’s Pinterest Board, Volunteer Your Way to A Job, for “best-of-the-web” resources on this topic.

Who’s on First?

Most people rarely think about career development professionals until they’re pursuing a job search.  And, the choices can be confusing.  If this is where you find yourself, here is an overview of the types of career development professionals you may look to during career transition and which ones will be the best fit for you:

[Read more…]

Going Home Again. Six Strategies for Successful Repatriation.

 

Living abroad can be an exciting, transformational experience for a family, as immersing in a new culture exposes family members to a different style of living and often requires relating to one another in new and different ways.

 

Returning “home” though may turn into a disappointment as family members realize that much has changed during their absence: A favorite restaurant has closed, neighbors have moved away, close friends have formed new relationships, new stores have replaced familiar haunts, new neighborhoods have emerged from a cornfield. The result is a home that is somewhat familiar, but not exactly what the memory holds.

 

Further, employees assume that overseas assignments will enhance their career opportunities within their company. While on assignment, they often develop new skills and competencies, but they return home to positions that make no use of their development and growth or, worse yet, find that there really isn’t a plan for the next step on their career path with the company.

 

The Repatriation, returning to one’s home country and settling back into “regular” life — can pose challenges as daunting as those encountered with expatriation, the process of leaving home. Also known as “re-entry shock”, every aspect of life is affected: social, physical, occupational, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual, and change may manifest itself in difficulty adjusting to either home or career—or both– for the employee and family.

 

Recognizing the changes that have occurred for both the individual and the family is key in supporting a successful return to the home country. Based on a wellness model of various aspects of adjustment, here are six strategies to help with repatriation:

 

  1. Stay Social: Encourage families to use social media and Skype to keep in touch with the world that they will be re-entering…AND the one they are leaving. It’s important to continue relationships with family members and friends, even when separated by distance. New technologies make this process much easier than it was a decade ago. Once the family has returned, scheduling time with friends they haven’t seen helps to re-establish bonds.
  2. Be Physical: Changes in diet and activity can alter well-being, for good or ill. If, for example, the family is moving from a location that provides many opportunities for walking to one that is automotive-reliant, building exercise into the schedule helps to fill the void. Establishing new routines that honor recent life changes may be helpful, as well. Yoga or meditation can provide other options for balance.
  3. Acknowledge Change: Helping families to intellectualize the reasons behind the stress they are feeling can help to dissipate some of the dissonances. Encourage them to identify causes of stress, then employ strategies to counteract it.
  4. Find Meaning in Work: Employees who are returning home have developed new skills and perspective. They may need help to identify new challenges and growth opportunities to apply their newfound knowledge, or risk being frustrated and unfulfilled in their work. Relocation and repatriation may affect employment of an accompanying partner, as well. Partners can benefit from assistance in preparing to re-enter the job market.
  5. Honor feelings: Recognize that moving involves a loss, and any loss may be accompanied by a grief cycle. (Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.) If relocating individuals find themselves struggling to function through normal activities, working with a counselor or coach who specializes in life transitions may help navigate this process.
  6. Keep the Faith: Many individuals and families are comforted by a spiritual grounding of a faith-based community. If this applies, rejoining or seeking a home in their faith tradition may be a remedy.

 

Thomas Wolfe famously said, “You can’t go home again.” Repatriating families can go home, but they will never be the same as they were before their international experience.  Once conquering the reverse culture-shock phenomenon, families realize how enriched their lives had become as a result of an international assignment.

 

Amy Connelly is the Manager of Training and Corporate Communication for REA – Partners in Transition, a leader in spousal assistance for career transition during relocation. Follow REA’s Pinterest Board on Repatriation, and check out www.reacareers.com to learn more about available services.

Get Ready!

get-ready-dayToday is National Get Ready Day.

If you are in the middle of a relocation, you may be living this phrase on a daily basis, but today, “Get ready!” has special meaning.  It’s part of National Preparedness Month, and a day designated to encourage everyone to review your family’s emergency preparedness plan.

There are special implications for recently relocated families, especially those who have moved from an area prone to, say, hurricanes, to one that experiences earthquakes or tornadoes.

Here are a few conversation starters for a family discussion: [Read more…]

Resolutions for the Recently Relocated

susan

There’s much talk of resolutions at the beginning of every new year, and despite the fact that many folks manage to break their resolutions within days of setting them, a new year is a chance for a fresh start.

 

For families who have recently moved, the “new year” can begin in January (even a couple of weeks late), July, April, November, or any other month on the calendar.  As anyone who has ever moved knows, the to-do list can seem never-ending, but if you approach relocation with a plan in mind, it is not only manageable, but can also be enjoyable.

 

Get to know your new community.

 

You may still have dozens of boxes to unpack, a family to settle, and employment to secure, but acquainting yourself with both the physical layout and amenities of your new home base will help you and your family to establish yourself in your new setting and make connections that will help you accomplish the rest.

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Great Organization! Two Ways to Help

Move for Hunger

When people move, they tend to get rid of stuff.

Adam Lowry, part of the fourth generation of his family’s moving company, noticed that some of the “stuff” that people on the move were getting rid of was food…good food that could be used to feed hungry people, if only there was a way to distribute it.

 

Enter “Move for Hunger,” a 501(c)(3)organization founded by Adam to collect non-perishable food items and deliver them to local food banks for distribution to needy families.  You can read more about this organization and Adam and his Crew by clicking on the links, but there are two things you can do right now to support this great cause:

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