International Career Transition – 5 worst things women and men are telling themselves (1)

In my first post Find A Job You Deserve, I focused on getting a job, because this is your basic financial and emotional need, when you land in a new country. Today I would like to look at things from a broader and longer term perspective and write about your international career.

This article is a result of my observations upon working as international technical head-hunter, internal recruiter as well as career mentor and coach. Whether in London or in Dubai, in the finance or Internet sectors, mid- career professionals in their 30’ or senior executives in their 40’, people all over the world tend to tell themselves the same things that will hold them back.

1. I didn’t study this hard to do THIS now.

 Another variant: I don’t love doing THIS.

Replace THIS with anything you want. It could be well paid IT sales job, working in a corporation while longing to open something on your own or working in a bank but dreaming to be a writer … the list could go on and on.

I hear it over and over and from different parts of the world. In the movie Already tomorrow in Hong Kong, the main character Josh, introduces himself to new people along this line: I work in finance but I am a literature major. He feels the need to explain to others and himself the irrelevance of his current job and stress that is not his identity. Women tend to say that more often than men in real life and frankly beat themselves up for not following their education / passions.

International Career Transition-expat-career-coach-prague

It seems perfectly logical: you studied SOMETHING with dreams and goals, seeing yourself travelling all over the world. Then life happened and you ended up abroad, but doing something that: 1. has nothing to do with your degree / interests 2. serves only to pay your bills 3. doesn’t give you any job satisfaction. To make things worse you see your friends from school and university who somehow made it. What else could you say to yourself? However, by stating that, you:

  • Realise and acknowledge your own failure or mistake
  • Put yourself down in a moment, when what you really need the most, is to stay positive
  • Compare yourself to people back home.

All that won’t help you to create the new reality, you long for.


Suggested action plan:

Be grateful for your job first.

It does serve the purpose of providing you financial security and is not there to be “loved”, but maybe it could be “liked” at least? Just try saying to yourself every day: I am grateful for this job, because it allows me to live in the coolest city in the world/ / travel around Europe / live abroad as I always wanted … and see what will happen.

Reframe: I am doing this now, so I can do what I really want in the future.

Once you remind yourself that your current job is just a stage on the way to what you really want, and you are not deemed for life to do what you are doing now, then things will become easier.

Create a career plan.

It’s okay, you had these visions and fantastic plans in your 20’s and it didn’t work out. Or maybe you finished your studies without a clear idea what to do next and just followed a random (as it seemed) path. However there is always time to re-write your career plan, and now you are wiser and more down to earth, so there is no reason (other than yourself) to not make it work this time. Articulate what you really want and start working from there. When you create your plan, think if there are any skills from your current role that you will be able to use in your new job. When I worked as recruiter, I really enjoyed guiding my candidates through the interview process and giving them career advices that could truly change their lives. However, the main purpose of my job was to fill the positions and make sales deals, which was not something I wanted to do for my whole life. Because I focused on the skills I enjoyed using in recruitment, it helped me to find out that coaching and training was a right path for me.


Be patient.

The answer might not be clear straight away and it might take you a lot of research and work on getting to know yourself better. The trick is to make sure every day you are doing something that will bring you closer to your career heaven. Even if it is just one step, it is a step towards your goal. Interested in the specific examples? In the Coachify blog we are presenting a case study about an international career transition.

In my next post, I will look at other things you are telling yourself that are not helpful and can hold you back:

  • Since I got the job, I don’t need to worry about my CV anymore.
  • I need head-hunters! They will help me.

(I have a lot of respect for their hard and often unappreciated work. I am not saying head-hunters are not helpful; however in the situation of international career transition relying too much on them could really slow you down).

  • I really hate my current job. Everything will be totally different when I have a job I love.
  • It’s too early / too late to take a risk.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me on social media or use the contact form below:

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Nothing makes me happier than hearing successful stories from people who have found their dream jobs abroad, so please let me know if that has happened to you.

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