Job in a New Country: Figuring It All Out…. Slow Down.

So you landed a new job in a foreign country. You are so excited, happy to be finally out of that ‘other thing’ you were doing, meeting new people, and you are learning new things only to realize a few weeks later that perhaps this is now just another job. You don’t want to keep changing, but you want to understand what you are meant to do as a career; however, you are just unsure at times. There are so many messages today saying ‘find your passion, do what you love and never work a day in your life, follow your heart’ but what does that mean exactly? And how do you find it? Can it be somehow related to what you are currently doing? And what action do you take NOW?

As an expat in the Czech Republic, I can totally relate. In the past, I have been through this series of questioning and I know it can be hard. You feel like you have to figure it out now – or just give up and realize it’s hopeless. But there is actually a middle ground.

Here are some helpful steps (take it or leave it) to take as you go through this challenging phase:

1. Focus on the good stuff.

  • Write down everything you get to experience and learn from being around other cultures to learning how to run a business (take notes on what you see) to understanding values of a new place.
  • Do you get any benefits? Perks? Free time? Focus on that too! Those things do not come so easy anymore.

2. Be where you are and keep learning.


Prague is beautiful. Photo: Heather Schnacke

  • Personally, this is a hard one for me. I always want to keep doing something else, moving on, change. I LOVE CHANGE. But there is such beauty in being where you are, being in the now, and allowing things to happen organically. Most of the people I know met their significant other at a time they weren’t looking for ‘Mr or Mrs Right’ so why can’t it be the same for a job?
  • This also means to do the job to the best of your ability. They will think of you when they want to promote someone or give out raises. Keep this in mind if you think your hard work is for nothing – and if nothing comes of it, it will pay off later.

3. Write down ANYTHING that comes to your mind – what does your future look like? (Remember, this can change)

  • Just explore. Don’t stress. Write down anything you like doing from writing to reading to cooking to drinking? This will help you see WHY you enjoy doing these things – is it working with your hands? In a quiet space? Around people? What is your ideal work schedule? It can help show you the bigger picture. And it can also help you know what is best as a hobby and what is something as a potential career move in the future.
  • This can change throughout life! Life is a series of seasons so be flexible. Know that what you are in is a season and seasons change. Priorities change. So what is your priority right now?

4. Give yourself a deadline. But be realistic.


Sometimes it’s better to take things slowly. Image:

  • What about a year in this new job? Two? Time goes by so quickly, although sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. There is no shame in changing earlier, but be realistic and understand what you need to make sure you are financially stable and responsible for yourself (and others if needed). Save up and know what the goal is.
  • Be patient. Our society states otherwise but cutting corners doesn’t always win the race. Pace yourself.

5. Set financial goals.

  • We all want to live the lives the way we want to but here is a thing called money which we need to live. We shouldn’t let it slave us, but it is something we need for our everyday habits and lifestyles.
  • Set goals and if this job helps in that process for now, another reason to be thankful! Take steps to get to where you want to be. Take up another part time job? Do some writing or editing on the side at home? Teach a course? Help at events for extra cash? There is something out there fits what you need. Just start looking and again, be patient.

6. Enjoy the process!

  • I fully admit that sometimes I am the worst at this. I wish I could say that I am very easy going and always enjoy life every moment, but I would be lying. I am always figuring out the next thing and stressed when it doesn’t happen or on my timeline. Always questioning what is next and if I am on the right path. The messages out there create a sense of urgency that we have to do it all RIGHT NOW, but it’s just not true.
  • Life is truly a journey and everyone is on a different path. – So enjoy where you are because it will eventually be no longer and as we do with most things, you will look back and wish you would have embraced it more and not worried so much. Make connections. Learn from
    others. Develop and grow yourself. Continue to strive to be a better person and the rest will fall into place. Remember, there is someone out there who trade lives with you in an instant. Be humble but then go after what you really want! And be patient. It’s out there waiting for you.

Written by: Heather Schnacke

I am a American female from the state of Oklahoma currently living in Prague, Czech Republic. I have loved moving all around the world from studying abroad in Valencia, Spain to teaching English in both China and the Czech Republic to getting my Masters degree in Italy to then living the golf life in Florida working for the World Golf Hall of Fame before my journey here.  I am now working as an Association Development Manager in an international organization.  What I love the most is that everywhere I go, I meet all kinds of amazing (and even the crazy kinds of) people.

Things that make me feel alive: golf, dance, staying active, learning new languages and cultures, traveling, writing, photography, making videos, all things Harry Potter, accents, soulful music (with a guilty pleasure of Taylor Swift tunes), deep connections, exploring, and a whole lot of laughing.

I am super passionate about anti human trafficking and doing what I can to help – it’s so hard to fathom, but more than 27 million people are enslaved today, more than any other time in history. Alas, I am fully convinced that I am being sent on a mission to encounter the most amazing and interesting people in all parts of the world as that has clearly been done thus far. Connect with me!

Find me on:
Instagram: heatherschnacke

Recommended Reading:


What I Love About Czech People


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


Professional Tips from an Expats Career Coach To Find A Job You Deserve, Part 1


Czech Culture