Career Advice  Relocation Resources      

What to do When a 'Traditional' Job is Not an Option in Your New Country




23-Mar-2018

Embarking on a global relocation for your spouse or partner’s company does not always mean you get to work in the new country. You may be faced with an important decision: What can you do when a 'traditional' job is not an option?

There may be many reasons why you are not able to continue your current career or work in a new field when you relocate. Perhaps your visa does not allow it or your job credentials are not valid in your host country. In these situations, you may wish to consider work options that are not the norm. We have gathered advice from some of our experienced global career and transition coaches on career continuation options when employment is not possible.

Maintain your LinkedIn profile.

Some people may wonder if using LinkedIn is only appropriate for those currently working. But career coach Jean Renouil advises everyone to use LinkedIn. "You can add a new job to your profile and list something like, 'On the move - Seattle to Seoul' or 'Non-profit volunteer and organiser' or 'On professional sabbatical while on international assignment'." By maintaining your profile, you can continue to add new contacts in your host country and stay on top of professional news and events. Jean points out, "The contacts you make while not working could be just as helpful when you are back home or once again have the ability to pursue paid work."

Develop creativity and resiliency to pursue a new passion.

Finding alternative work options in some countries often requires you to accept you will not be able to continue a linear career path. Work on letting go and being creative to explore some other options. Jass Malaney, a career coach in Asia, suggests you ask your IMPACT Group coach for tips on how you can be open to developing new opportunities. What are ways you can use your skill set? "Coaching supports your thinking and allows you to become creative and resilient in your search," says Jass.

Sometimes it is helpful to think about the many things in which you may have always wanted to do if you ever had the time. Hong Kong coach, Iris Kloth often discusses this with her participants. "I ask them if there have been any dreams that they have never had time to pursue, such as playing an instrument. I want to know if there is anything missing in their lives." Exploring hobbies, learning new skills or languages, taking time for yourself, etc. are all things you can pursue and each can add richness and growth to your life.

Enroll in Continuing Education courses.

One option is to take advantage of your time and acquire more education. You may wish to pursue learning and certifications online through Coursera or MOOCs. These may be added to your LinkedIn profile and can demonstrate an interest and ability for professional growth and development. Some people in the US have taken advantage of classes offered through libraries and continuing education or ESL centres. Career coach Rebeca Gelencser in Switzerland likes to recommend the courses from UC Berkeley Extension. They offer many business courses that can be done fully online.

Find remote positions or offer local classes/training in your area of expertise.

UK career coach Clare Somers suggests trying to find remote work for an employer in your country of origin or running informal classes in your new country. "I worked with a participant who ran some British cooking classes for Japanese women in Tokyo once," says Clare. And in Thailand, Marie Lucchini has had participants either create their own new business or create a Thai branch of their home business.

It is important to remember that you can use LinkedIn to search for jobs using the term "remote" in the search field. You are not bound to a specific location so you can enter "worldwide" when entering your location. These search tips can be of great help in finding what you are looking for.

Sign up for volunteer work.

"Volunteer work done while on an expat assignment in lieu of paid work can be very rewarding and beneficial for future job searches. It demonstrates cultural agility, initiative, communication, organisational abilities, recruitment and writing or fundraising skills," says Jean Renouil. "It also provides a sense of purpose and community." However, sometimes volunteer work is also not permissible depending on the specific country and visa situation. "It is always best to check on your own situation to be sure of what is permissible in your new country."

In Thailand, Marie Lucchini has seen many participants bring their experience and know-how to NGOs as volunteers. "The association will have to sponsor a work permit and related visa anyway as for any other activity," Marie cautions, "but it is often easier for them to apply."


Contribution by Jill Jassmann-Sharlock.

Jill is an IMPACT Group Global Research Team Lead & Project Specialist who focuses on the unique information needs of global transferees. She also manages content for our global client-facing website.

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