This morning I checked my Facebook page and a friend of mine in Jamaica had the following post:
“Need a career change for 2011!!! Any ideas guys?”
The post motivated me to write this blog post as I was reminded that career/life change is a big issue for expatriate spouses who often give up their dreams, goals and careers for their family unit. Living as an expatriate brings a fabulous lifestyle that exposes you to new sights, scenes and experiences but when the lights are dimmed there are many who quietly (or like me, loudly) suffer the anguish of not knowing quite what to do with and for themselves. In actuality, this applies not only to expatriate spouses but also to people who are migrating to new countries to be with the ones they love. There are also those like my friend with the Facebook post who simply want to do something different. So what is the solution? I won’t say I have the magical answer that can provide solace or a solution to everyone but I’ll share a few ideas based on my own experience and that of others who have been through similar situations.
- Many of us from the Western world have been brought up to believe that we need to excel so that we can get the perfect job. What we really need to do is create our own jobs and opportunities. Not everyone can but those who can, should.
* If you have the capital, invest in a franchise
* Get your real estate license and become a Realtor www.realtor.com
* If you live in some exotic place in the world start an export/import business
* Start an online store with ethnic items from your adopted country: the US/European market is wide open to exotic/ethnic items. If you are afraid to start your own store then sell on Ebay or Amazon. http://onlineprofitable.com/ebay/top-ten-ebay-selling-secrets
- Ask yourself, “what service can I sell or promote?”
* Are you a highly detailed person? Then start an online administrative business where you review documents for organizations all over the world without ever leaving your bedroom. Are you good at building/designing websites? Advertise your services to persons in Namibia, Iceland or the Virgin Islands. The point is to start your business, get out your globe and market yourself.
* Don’t be like someone I know (Alexander Mandilow) who doesn’t recognize the gift they have. Check out his blog at www.jamaicanmeditations.blogspot.com where he shares some of his short stories and poems. My personal favourite being, The Love of Fried Chicken and Other Such Demons. Check out his blog and leave him a message encouraging him to get his work published.
- Are you gripped by the fear of the unknown or the possibility of failing with your new idea/business?
* Find a friend who will be your motivator. Mine is Diana Antholis who is founder of the blog Enter:Adulthood www.enteradulthood.com. Diana and I were cohort colleagues in grad school at the George Washington University. She bit the bullet, took the plunge and is determined to be the lord of her own destiny and worklife. In addition to her blog she has also co-developed a consulting company www.anditsonlytuesday.com I reach out to her when I get fretful about the business idea I am currently developing.
* Hire a life coach to walk you through the maze. My friend and kindred spirit Patrice is such a person. She recently started her own business Catapult Life Coaching LLC. As she often says, “It’s ok to be scared but important to be courageous.” Patrice may be contacted at Patrice@catapultlifecoaching.com
- There are opportunities everywhere, even in Yemen (for the love of life Yemen is not such a good option but you get the idea).
* The internet provides access to every nook and cranny of this planet earth so use it to develop new ideas. There is a blog for everything; there is free advice and information for anything you may wish to research. Find an opportunity: there is one awaiting you.
- Become a member of a service club and start networking.
* There is a Rotary Club nearly everywhere in the world.
- Many are content and can afford to simply volunteer their time while others need an income and still others need the job, more for self-actualization and gratification than for the salary.
* Be honest with yourself about which category you fall in and own it. Many expat spouses would never admit that their family needs an extra income. No need to share the information with anyone else but be honest with yourself.
Whatever you decide keep in mind that possibilities are endless and we are often the creator and enabler of our own failures.
Until next time……One Love!!!!