REA Sales Team is GROWING!

We are delighted to announce that effective March 18th, Diane Moreno joined REA as Director of Business Development reporting to Dan Bolger on our Sales and Partnerships team. Diane comes to REA with over 15 years of international sales and marketing experience. Fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese, she is an accomplished corporate housing and relocation professional with a strong portfolio of successes orchestrating the start-up, growth, and launch of business development activities in global mobility. Her depth of experience extends to commercial retail, distributors, outside vendors, suppliers and kiosk chains in the US and in international markets.

Diane will manage sales activities at REA, and her experience and relationships in the relocation industry will be a tremendous asset to our award-winning global team. Due to her husband’s multiple job assignments, Diane understands from her own experience the challenges of a transferee spouse and family, and she can speak to the excitement and adventure in every relocation. It is her goal to increase the awareness of the spousal support service and educate clients on the impact relocation can have on the entire family. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

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.

Millennials: On the Move

Dolly-COUPLE-MOVING-THOUGHT-BUBBLES-EMOJIS

Most information presented today regarding Millennials indicates that this is a population that has a global mindset and is largely open to adventure and new experiences, especially if they offer professional growth and interesting challenges.  If a company is concerned about retaining Millennial talent, investing in their professional growth is essential and should reap gains for the company as well.  Using strategic international assignments for developmental purposes is key to successful talent management and having a flexible relocation package to support these assignments is a clear competitive advantage for corporations today.

 

According PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace, 70 percent of Millennials want or expect an overseas assignment at some point in their careers. And with 1.8 billion Millennials predicted to make up 50 percent of the global workforce by 2020, employers need to ensure their relocation programs are attractive to this generation.

 

Many companies offer lump sum relocation packages, assuming the employee would rather self-manage their funds.  But a lump sum benefit without guidance in its proper usage, can be quickly spent on services and items that do little to assist the employee, and especially a spouse, in the cultural and professional adaptation to their new location.  Companies cannot assume that millennials know what to expect, or know how to manage a lump sum budget.  And because they are accustomed to being transparent in their social commentary, employers can expect that they will openly discuss and compare their experience with others.

[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.

Resolutions for the Recently Relocated

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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.

[Read more…]

How Coaches Help Families in International Transition

For many people who have moved just within their country, a global relocation to another part of the world can feel overwhelming. Yet in today’s global economy thousands of employees and their families do this every year, often via a transfer by an employer for a predetermined number of years.

Fortunately, many of these world travelers have help from an assortment of people, some of whom are today known as coaches. Hearing this term may bring to mind athletic teams but at the end of the last century it came into vogue as a designation for professionals who provide expertise and support for others in various circumstances and fields of human endeavor. There are life coaches, relationship coaches, career coaches, executive coaches, mental health coaches, education coaches and transition coaches. Many coaches have a high level of training and credentialing, though the specialty is still new enough to be unencumbered by formal government regulation.

Coaches may align themselves with any of the specialties mentioned above while also possessing a broad repertoire of other skills with which to help transitioning families. The partners and children who move along with the transferred employee used to be thought of as “trailing,” but this perjorative term has faded from use as we realize that a successful adjustment to their new world is key to employee success. These accompanying family members face a complete reorientation of their lives, while also navigating the numerous practical matters that come with getting themselves established in a new country.

One important concern for the partners is finding work or, failing that, making constructive use of their time abroad. This is where a career or transition coach can be especially helpful.

Accelerating Full-time, Regular Job-Searches

A job search, challenging enough on one’s home turf, can seem impossible in another country with its own way of doing things. Transferees need to be tutored in how to determine if they are eligible to work and under what limitations (for example, needing a work permit or a sponsoring company) in the basics of the job search itself and in how a search is executed in their own country.

Arturo, a senior finance professional, relocated from South America to the US and had to find an employer who would sponsor his work permit. He was so overwhelmed with the change that he was not able to focus and was confused about where to start. His coach discussed job-search strategies, wrote out an action-plan to keep him on track, and prepared his resume targeting the US market. The coach and Arturo discussed interviewing strategies, and had a practice session on networking and salary negotiation. They also explored the cultural differences between the US and South America and how they can impact a job search. Within two months of beginning his job campaign, he landed a job as Director of Finance with a mid-size company.

Portable Careers Evolving from Passions and Hobbies

Some people cannot have a conventional career because of their spouse’s frequent relocations or because they have moved to a country that does not permit foreign residents to fill regular jobs. In these cases a coach may help a person develop, sometimes out of existing passions and experience, a portable career that is not dependent on being in a specific location. Usually such entrepreneurial undertakings capitalize on the recent growth in communications technologies. A coach can help these people assess their strengths and determine a direction.

Ria, a Software Engineer, relocated internationally from Asia to Australia 3 years ago and, because of the dependent visa, could not work. Her coach discussed varied options and helped her to find a meaningful way to spend her time. Since she had an IT background and good writing skills, she began to write a technical blog.

After two years she relocated again to a European country. This time she had a work permit, but she had toddlers at home and didn’t want to send them to daycare. Ria came back to her coach for further help. Ria’s coach sent her resources on how to make money through websites. They decided that she could continue her passion for blogging about IT. This time, however, she is blogging on her own successful website and it has now become a source of income for her.

The position of Virtual Assistant is one of the hottest home-based occupations for world travelers because much of their work can be done from nearly any location. Because virtual assistants are independent contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits. This enables them to work below the radar in many countries and sometimes continue with their predeparture job. Here are several websites that focus on the virtual assistant position:

  1. Virtual Assistant Career Guide: http://www.virtualassistantcareerguide.com/chapterfive/
  2. International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA): http://www.ivaa.org/
  3. Assist U: http://www.assistu.com/
  4. Virtual Assistants 4 U: www.va4u.com/assistant

Another portable and flexible career is teaching in fields like math, science, social studies and languages. These subjects can in some places be taught on-line, allowing a person to work from home. The following websites that have information concerning virtual teaching and tutoring:

  1. Sylvan Online: http://tutoring.sylvanlearning.com/
  2. Language Lab: www.languagelab.com
  3. Tutor.com: www.tutor.com
  4. Smart Thinking: www.smarthinking.com
  5. Tutor Vista: www.tutorvista.com

New Careers after Relocation 

Another option for the transferee is to create a new career based on skills acquired, if not necessarily deployed for profit, back home. Many coaches are prepared to help their clients assess their experience and abilities and leverage them into a new field.

Jane had been working in a famous casino for 15 years in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  She relocated to a place where there were no casinos and was confused about what to do to earn a living. I gave her a career assessment which helped her identify her strengths and transferable skills. We found that she had strong customer service, sales, marketing and communication skills. Together we explored many possible career choices and now she is happily employed at the front desk of a Five Star hotel. 

Challenges for Families with Kids

When children are involved in a relocation many more factors come into consideration such as the need for daycare, schools, doctors and the child’s overall adjustment to another culture. Often local coaches can steer people in the right direction toward reliable services. Sometimes parents need help even with their older children whose plans for college get blurred by the challenges of living in another culture. Even parents who are moving globally with high school students can benefit from a coach’s perspective. So can the children themselves.

Originally from Germany, Kathy was relocating from Asia to Chicago. She had four children – two in high school, one in middle school and one in elementary school. She told her consultant that relocations have been very nice experiences for all of them because they have learned so much about other cultures and languages first hand. Her kids have always been are really excited about relocating and because of the social media they are well connected and have friends around the world. Kathy, however, was worried about finding the right career for her high school kids. After all the change they had experienced, she felt they needed help focusing on what they wanted in a career.  Over several coaching sessions with Kathy and her kids several career options were explored. Their coach helped them choose a college major in International Management. This capitalized on the strengths they had built through their relocations such as a love of travel, the ability to deal with diverse cultures and an interest in learning different languages.   

Conclusion

Not all partners are able to work or find the right kind of position, but fortunately the alternative is not a slide into inactivity. A coach can help people connect with volunteer and community activities and pursuits that build on and extend their existing knowledge and interests.

In conclusion, coaching can help families and individuals make the most out of the challenges and uncertainties they face when they relocate. With a positive attitude, an open mind and the help of a resourceful career coach, even a stressful relocation can be an opportunity to learn new things, develop new paths and explore meaningful pursuits.

Divya Gupta, MBA, PCC, ACPEC, CPRW, ACCC, and ICF Certified Executive and Career Coach is a Career Coach for REA.

 

Tackling the Challenges of Family Adaptation

Embarking on an international assignment can be exciting as it provides an opportunity to live in a new place, experience a different culture, and perhaps even learn another language. It also offers the expatriate a chance to become familiar with other parts of the business, develop a new skill set, and prepare for future opportunities. However, as expected, embarking on an expatriate assignment is not without challenges.

To read the full article, click here.

Dual Career Implications on Workforce Mobility

The role of the accompanying partner in a global relocation has become a factor to be ignored only at an organization’s peril. The authors explore the changing face of the relocating spouse/partner during the last three decades and the trends that will determine partner relocation assistance in the future: continued globalization, the economic challenges experienced worldwide and the necessity of dual career families.

To read the rest of this article, click here.