Imagine you have been working for a company for a few years. One day, your immediate boss surprises you with unexpected news. He wants you to relocate to a different city as head of your enterprise’s local branches.
At first, this information might seem like music to your ears. You have been waiting for a promotion for quite a while, and this appears to be it. Besides more responsibility, you will be getting a higher salary, and your family can join you. Best of all, your firm will handle all expenses, including courier service fees and half of your children’s educational costs.
This is an example of a prevalent scenario a lot of employees experience. While your first instinct is probably to say yes and jump at the opportunity, there are a few aspects to consider before making a final decision. Let us look at some of them.
In the Swiss city of Geneva, the minimum salary per hour is 25 dollars. If you work eight hours a day, five days a week, this accounts for a total monthly income of more than four thousand dollars. Aside from its beautiful mountains, crystal clean rivers, and delicious chocolate, Switzerland is also one of the world’s biggest tax havens. A married couple will pay on average less than 10% of their combined salary on income taxes. This is much lower than most other developed European nations like Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
Sounds pretty neat, doesn’t it? Imagine what you could do with four thousand dollars in cash. No wonder Swiss people can afford to buy Rolex and Omega luxury watches and travel worldwide twice a year.
But it is not all rainbows and roses. Switzerland is arguably the most expensive country in the world. A simple hamburger at McDonald’s, no fries or drink, will set you back almost 10 dollars. A gallon of gas for your car is five dollars, more than in places like Japan, the United States, Canada, and Australia.
So before you move, make sure you do your due diligence on the living costs of where you are going. The last thing you want is to realize too late that your current high salary is barely enough for you to make ends meet.
Differences in Culture
Whoever said culture shock is a figment of your imagination has most likely never stayed in a foreign country for longer than three months. As many expatriates will attest to, a period of three to four months is the honeymoon phase. Everything is new and exciting, and the notion of going back will never cross your mind.
Yet, the longer you stay, the more you realize that no city or country in the world is perfect. You will start noticing more and more things that you don’t like, and soon homesickness will begin to kick in.
Of course, being flexible and adapting to all life circumstances is imperative if you want to succeed. But this doesn’t mean you will get used to every single place that you visit. Some locales don’t match your personality, values, or the way you see life. No matter what you do, chances are you will never fit in.
If your boss wants you to go to a place you know nothing about or have never even heard of, take the time to study its culture. Make sure you can find at least one or two things you can relate to. It will help you avoid future headaches.
Most job relocations are temporary, lasting between six months and two years. Still, this is not a period you want to waste. Career growth is an integral part of every worker’s life, and making a wrong turn here or there can put you on a path you don’t want to be in.
If the type you will be doing will not help you grow as an individual, it is better to stay where you are. If you aren’t learning any valuable skills that will enhance your profession and level of expertise, you have the right to say no.
On the other hand, you should be open-minded and look at things in perspective. New things are neither always good nor always bad. If you don’t like the new job, but your coworkers are excellent, it will be a wonderful opportunity to build relationships. If you hate both, but the place is enchanting, you can immerse yourself in the culture, embrace the people, and learn a new language.
The key is to look at both sides with a blend of optimism and caution.
Going to a different place for an extended period is a great opportunity. Still, make sure you look at local living costs, study the culture, and analyze its long-term potential. It will not only give you confidence in your decision but also improve your chances of success.