Search
Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Family Life and a Job Abroad
Family Life and a Job Abroad

Family Life and a Job Abroad

You have accepted a two-year stint as your company's lead marketing executive in Amsterdam, but your 16-year-old son says he won't go. "No way," he says. "What about my friends? What about the football team?”

Your husband has reservations, too: Will he be able to find work as a networking consultant? Or should he take some time off to rethink his career goals? The move may be what your company wants -- and what you want -- but it can also wreak havoc on your family life.

Companies often pick up the tab for moving expenses and other major costs related to relocation, but they vary greatly in the assistance they provide when it comes to the personal issues such a move can create, from your spouse's employment situation to the cultural dislocation inherent in working in an entirely new environment.

Many companies have begun to realize the importance of helping employees and their families adjust to the sometimes tumultuous transition to a job abroad. "A lot of attention has got to be paid to other family members to make sure that they are able to adapt," says Peter Burgi, director of research and a trainer for International Orientation Resources, a firm specializing in cross-cultural training. "If they do not, I can guarantee you, the employee will not be successful in their position."

Some companies arrange for children to speak to others who have gone overseas, as a way to reassure them and give them a sense of what to expect. Others may include the entire family, rather than just the employee, in cross-cultural training programs. And even if a company does not provide such programs, resources on the Web and elsewhere can help make the move less chaotic and disruptive.

As a first step, ask your company what help is available, if any. Does your company have a contract with a relocation services firm with expertise in family issues? Will counselors assist both you and your family in the transition? Know what to expect in assistance, so that you can supplement it with your own resources if necessary. Consider these issues when inquiring about relocation programs:

  •  A "Look/See" Visit: Will your company send you -- and possibly your spouse -- on an extended visit to the country where you will be located? "If enough time is allocated, this can provide individuals with an opportunity to literally set foot on the ground, size up their new environment, and begin developing some measure of emotional awareness of what it is they are going to be stepping into," says Burgi. "It's an important factor in creating some sense of security."
  • Spousal Adjustment and Employment: For dual-career couples, the move to another country presents especially troubling issues. Work permits may not be available for a spouse. Even if one is, "professionally advancing employment" may be difficult to find, says Burgi. "For a growing number of dual-career couples, this is a point of serious stress," he says. Spouses, whether male or female, may decide to devote themselves to volunteer work, furthering their education, or managing family issues.
  •  Children's Social Life and Adjustment: Children, if they are old enough -- 6 years or older, for instance -- may be included in training about the culture and values of their new home. Phone conversations with an expatiate youngster at the child's new school can help to reassure a child that he will be around others with a similar vocabulary and interests. "This really helps establish a level of personal, one-on-one, kid-to-kid connection," says Burgi, "and that helps to bolster their sense of security about where it is they're going. Otherwise, it simply appears as a step off the edge of the world."

To get a better sense of the programs available to individuals working abroad, review the Web sites of companies specializing in assistance to overseas employees, such as Berlitz, Charis Intercultural Training and GMAC Global Relocation Services. Your company may have its own programs. The more information you have, the more likely it is you'll be able to discern what level of assistance is necessary to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Of course, you cannot rely on your employer for everything. Whatever level of assistance it provides, the following sites should help you and your family find further resources to ease the transition:

  • Expat Exchange: A comprehensive source for advice and resources, with areas devoted to spouses and taxes, along with forums to ask questions of expatriates.
  • Expat Forum: A gathering spot for expatriates, with 24 country-specific areas, including Australia, Belgium, France, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.
  • Overseas Digest: A free newsletter, with articles like "Car Combat" (driving in Saudi Arabia) and "Managing House Guests" (when your home turns into a hotel). The publication includes advice, essays and recommended resources.

Latest Jobs

CONFIDENTIAL
Posted: 09/03/2014
Houston, TX, 77002
CONFIDENTIAL
Posted: 09/03/2014
Leesville, LA, 71459
CFA Software, Inc
Posted: 09/03/2014
Addison, IL, 60101
Posted: 09/03/2014
Jacksonville, 28546
BAYVIEW NURSING CENTER/309572
Posted: 09/03/2014
New Bern, 28560

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.45.50-314
eTrustLogo