7 Tips on how to announce your family you are planning to work overseas
Moving abroad for work does not only come with a lot of organization and planning – plane tickets, baggage, accommodation, residency papers, and so on. Actually it starts with one very difficult trial – telling your loved ones you are leaving. Making the big announcement to the family definitely is an issue and you might shed a few tears, while telling people at work that you’re moving away is much simpler. Consider the following pieces of advice and you’ll overcome this obstacle with less pain.
1. Be sure about your decision
This first step is vital, especially when your family is not particularly supportive or they are not used to respecting your decisions. If you think they’ll start nagging so you change your mind, make sure you won’t be influenced by what they say. Know in your heart that working abroad is the right move and your confidence will be obvious in front of your family.
Making the announcement with poor confidence will have negative consequences for you and your family will justly feel entitled to discourage you from leaving. Eventually they will give voice to those tiny doubts you were trying to ignore and you’ll end up making a major change in your life while dealing with uncertainty.
2. Put yourself in their shoes
You need to be understood, but your family needs empathy as well. Don’t let them think you are leaving without any regrets. There are multiple reasons why they may not like the idea of you moving abroad for work: not valuing international experiences, being nationalistic (it can happen with older generations), being afraid of not seeing someone dear for a long time, or having different expectations from your life. If your family is one with conventional wisdom that will be blown away by your big announcement, you’ll have a bit of a headache and looking indifferent will not make your folks happier.
3. Be an effective communicator
Nobody wants to get into an argument after making such an important announcement and you’ll need a lot of tact and patience for that. First of all, prepare your speech in advance rather than just popping in and saying your plane leaves tomorrow. Remember that being a good communicator also means being a good listener. Even if you and your family have different ways of thinking, you need to stay calm and support your point of view with eloquence while allowing them to express their opinion as well.
4. Show them how to keep in touch
Whatever they think about your plans, you need to maintain the relationship through phone calls or on Skype. If your parents are not too digitally-savvy show them how to keep in touch online or over the phone. It’s better to organize a “training” session now rather than explaining how to make a video call on the phone.
5. Organize something nice
Many people who move abroad organize a family event to make the big announcement, such as a dinner or a picnic. Making an effort to break the news in a pleasant atmosphere is a sign of appreciation and a reinforcement of your affection. Moreover, when you organize something for your family you get your foot into the door and the audience will feel obliged to listen to what you have to say. Meanwhile naysayers will have to temperate their objections and abstain from telling how you don’t have to go abroad to find what you need in life.
6. Prove you are mature
This kind of news is hard to make by people who have their own families, and it’s even harder for those who are young and still financially dependent on their parents. The truth is that becoming an expat is not as glamorous as movies depict it. Here are just a few challenges you’ll face: having to negotiate rent, sorting out residency papers, making sure your employer follows work regulations, not having someone to talk to when you’re feeling low, struggling to become fluent in a new language, and feeling homesick. Discuss these aspects with your parents and show them that your plans of working overseas are not chasing unicorns.
7. Be prepared to feel guilty…
… and find a way to cope with it. Your family may support you in your new venture, but this doesn’t mean they won’t be sad. Maybe they’ll say they’re happy for you until the last day and when you say the final goodbyes at the airport, you’ll suddenly realize how sad they are. Sooner or later, regrets surface and can make you wonder if you have made the right decision. Some families are more open to the idea of an international lifestyle, while others will be devastated by the news. However, if you know that working abroad is a good decision, all you need to do is follow the steps above to remain a supportive member of your family even if you are planning to move far away.
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