I tried to write my résumé last night, and I’m beginning to think I’m unemployable. Seriously. And I have only myself to blame.
The Global Relocation world has finally noticed that the accompanying spouses on most assignments are overwhelmingly well educated, highly motivated and usually professionally qualified people, rather than the servile 1950’s caricatures which seem to have been the previous assumption. And if there is such a thing as fashion within the Relocation Services community, the current trend is for recommendations and strategies for supporting the long term careers of both relocating adults, whether employed by the corporation or not.
Now, call me old-fashioned, but I think I have spotted a glitch in this shiny new interest in our well-being. Take me, for example. Four years of obtaining my degree in Nursing, another two getting my Higher Education teaching credential, and then 10 years of working at a college. Then we moved to Kenya, supposedly for a year, only to discover that spouses were not permitted to work (even voluntarily) without a work permit, which took nine months to get.
Fast forward 3 years later, and we actually leave Kenya for the US. The first 6 months is lost in bureaucratic red tape, and by the time I finally surface and contemplate re-entering the workforce, I discover that while I am legally entitled to work, I must first get official permission in the form of an Employment Authorization Document, and a Social Security number. Two months later, I am finally in a position to seek work, but am faced with the unwelcome realization that neither my nursing nor my teaching credentials are valid in California, and should I move again, even to another state, I may have to repeat the revalidation process..
I have been avidly reading the relocation journals for details on how they intend to support the multitude of spouses out there in finding work in foreign climes, but most take an alarmingly superficial approach;
“As her résumé was not appropriate for the local market, the process of transforming, re-packaging, and re-positioning her to potential employers was started’. (Seng, E. 2008)
Which doesn’t really help me much, because no amount of resume rebranding will give me the ability to legally do what I spent the first half of my life doing.
So why aren’t we looking at why the partners agreed to relocate in the first place. I am willing to bet that for a great many of us, it was the challenge, the adventure, and the desire to move forward, not because we imagined it would benefit our career. Once we acknowledge that we want to use our skills and find meaningful use of our time, the possibilities are endless and the scope for personal development is unlimited. And no relocation policy in the world will be able to accommodate this little voyage of reinvention and self discovery, so we’d better just get on with it ourselves.
With this in mind, let me introduce you to Jennifer Bradley PhD. She is
a career and work life consultant and coach. She draws on her personal and professional experience to help mid-career professionals and expatriate accompanying partners to navigate challenging work life transitions with less stress.
To help you get started, she has put together her top 6 questions to ask, both of yourself, your relocation service provider, or one of the many expat forums out there, this one included. Because if I have to do it, so do you… See how supportive I am?