Relocation Resources  

10 Creative Ideas When Working Is Not an Option

10 Creative Ideas When Working Is Not an Option

The rise of the dual-income family throughout the world make accepting a global relocation challenging for some families. How can the family respond positively to this negative financial setback when one partner will not be able to work in the new country? Likewise, what are the partner’s career continuation options?

How often is this a problem?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that in the US, 63% of all families with children have two partners who work full-time. In Canada and Germany, the figure is close to 70%. In Singapore, the figure is 75% in families where the husband is under 35. It lowers to 70% where the husband is aged 35 to 49. For Europe, 75% of couples are dual-income. 

When a spouse/partner will have to take a break from working during the assignment, it is a financial loss for the family. Also, it’s a potential setback in their own career. For this reason, career continuation support is a great way to help spouses/partners make the most of the assignment. It also ensures they maintain the skills they need to be employable in the future. Yes, it is possible to turn this lemon into lemonade!

IMPACT Group Coaches help our participants think creatively about their interests, capabilities, and career continuation options.

Here are some of their ideas.

  1. Use your education and skills in a different way. Can you start a small business or consult in your field?
  2. Volunteer, which accomplishes so many objectives. It provides a sense of accomplishment, a needed service, an opportunity to make friends, and a way to use your skills. It can also enhance your LinkedIn profile by showing how you are utilising your time away from the workforce.
  3. Look into working remotely. Check out the many specialised job search portals for working from home.
  4. Improve your resume by getting an additional degree or professional certificate. If local courses are not available in your language, explore online options offered by universities and professional training companies.
  5. Become an expert on a subject you have been curious about and never had time to learn about. This is an excellent time to start preparing if you plan to change careers when you return home.
  6. Offer informal courses in something you do know about. Start a Meetup Group for languages, cooking, sports, hobbies, etc. Meetup Groups are also an excellent way to make new friends with interests you share.
  7. Enrich yourself through learning a new craft or hobby, taking exercise classes, or becoming an expert in something local. Then teach other expats about it.
  8. Make your time abroad a truly enriching experience by coming to understand your new country. Learn its history, participate in its festivals, learn to cook local food, and travel within the country.
  9. Maintain your LinkedIn profile to incorporate your out-of-country experience. Cultivate your contacts and make new ones. Use the site to stay up-to-date with developments in your field or the field you want to move into.
  10. Network with other expats both socially and professionally. Their insider knowledge can be inspiring as well as helpful.

Discover how we empower spouses/partners with career continuation and job search support wherever their relocation takes them!



Rand Corporation – Emerging trends in earnings structures of couples in Europe

Straits Times – Getting more to be dual-income couples

Globe and Mail – Percentage of dual-income families nearly doubled in past 40 years

Contribution by Peg Kirkpatrick.

Peg is a perpetual traveler, perennial expat, and cultural sponge. She and her husband Gary have lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe, with a short stint in Panama as a Peace Corps Volunteer with the over 50 years old group. Recent adventures include Russia, Lavia, and Lithuania. As a Global Lead Researcher, Peg loves providing much-needed resources and a fresh perspective to families during their global relocations.

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