My own career took me from London to New York on my first expat assignment in 1989. Fast forward nine years and my soon-to-be husband and I managed (after a 15 month separation and a with the help of a sympathetic boss) to move to Hong Kong and keep both of our careers moving in the right direction. However, a baby, a new boss and one more move made it difficult for me to maintain my career. Since then, we’ve made three additional moves and had another child and my career in investment banking is a distant memory. Despite having no visa restrictions in two out of those three countries, I chose not to seek paid employment. Though I have no desire to return to my investment banking, I have often missed the fulfilment and sense of identity that come with having a career. Why make the choice not to work? Uncertainty over how long my husband’s assignment might last, the complexity of our household logistics given my husband’s travel schedule, childcare resources which would not fill in all the gaps, lack of contacts in the countries I’ve lived in and the time required with each move to set up a household and get our children settled into school are just some of the reasons that, until I started my own business two years ago, my career remained on ice.
What decision did you make about working/maintaining your career when you moved overseas?
What factors drove your decision to work or not?
How has the decision impacted your satisfaction with your life?
These are all questions that Louise Wiles, founder of Success Abroad Coaching and I are asking in our new survey “Career Choice and the Accompanying Partner”. By asking these questions we are attempting to shed light on the issues that influence the choice to work or not and to better understand the implications of that choice on an accompanying partner’s well-being. We hope that our findings will help families to make more informed decisions about expatriate assignments and that they will further the dialogue on how accompanying partners are supported in a relocation.
If you’re an accompanying partner currently on assignment and would like to share your experience, please click here to complete the survey. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to complete. If you can spare another minute or two of your time, we’d appreciate if you’d forward it on to all of your expat friends. As a thank you from us, every participant will have the opportunity to be entered into a prize draw.
Watch this space for news of our findings.