When a company expatriate an employee and his/her spouse they get two for one.
For a longer or shorter period. Very much depending on whether you have children or not or if the spouse takes a job too.
How is that?
An employee who is expatriated must end his current job in country A on one day, and start his new job in country B the next.
On top of this shift and adjustment there is a list as long as a toilet role that needs to be dealt with and despite having a relocation company to assist you the workload is big, and is often stretching over a longer period of time. 3-6 months is minimum.
I am solely referring to practicalities now. I am not including the emotional side which may count for another few toilet roles.
The relocation company will be a tremendous and invaluable help. No doubt about that.
A move to another country starts with moving companies inspecting your residence and quoting the move. This is not always a straight forward process as it requires you to allocate time to be home and to give specifics on what needs to be wrapped how and if there are things you are not taking or oven things that you are not allowed to bring in. There is also insurance admin to be dealt with.
You must coordinate goodbye´s at work, at your children’s daycare/school, with friends and family while filling in and handing over paperwork’s required by your current and coming country of residence.
Meetings with tax advisors is a demanding and time-consuming task to fit in and be on top off simultaneously, as well as researching school/daycare options is ongoing.
Then there is your car(s). What are you going to do with that, oh and the hamster, the dog and the 2 cats…….
You need to be at home for the packing to check and sign papers and if not selling your house/apartment you need to rent it out or source a company to manage this for you.
Also – you must find a solution to where are you going to live once your house is emptied and what items you need to bring for the 4-8 weeks it will take for your things to arrive to your new home. The packing may sound easy but there can be weight limitations and import rules that you need to know and respect. Not to mention the outburst from your children if they find out that you missed packing that one specific item that they wanted 😊
Above is just the highlights of pre-moving. There are tons of details to add.
Post the physical move, “someone” will have to spend the time it takes to get your new home sorted, establishing a new social network, locating and enrolling you all in sports clubs, finding a/the supermarket (yes, I can be a thing to find a supermarket matching your needs and price level), familiarizing yourselves with local customs and culture, get school uniforms sorted for the kids, find and get to know new friends for your kids, familiarizing yourselves with the way around the city (hallelujah for google maps), keeping family at home updated, translating papers, helping the kids cope and settle in, maintaining customs and traditions from your home country………………….and I could go on.
Also, every country offers it´s own unique extra “treats”.
We lived in Abu Dhabi and had reached a point where we though everything was fine and dandy (On a practical level). Then, we had a car pull up in front of our house. The guy who stepped out of the car nodded to us and went straight to the power supply and shut it off.
Note; It was 50 degrees outside meaning that the house would be boiling in less than one hour with no AC on.
That was it.
He didn’t say anything and was about to leave when we finally woke up and asked for his card and if he wouldn´t mind telling us why he had shut the power off. He informed us that he was from the municipality and was sent to shut our power off but did not know why.
Then he left.
Long story short we now spent the majority of a day sorting it out. We learned that they needed – that specific department – a copy of my husbands ID in their files and they did not have that.
A minor little thing that ended up taking a lot of time to understand and sort out.
You may think “why did they not just call” and from where I grew up that would certainly also be the natural thing to do.
They did not grow up in Denmark.
Which takes me on a small detour in this post as I find it relevant to highlight that;
“We are all different and if you are not up for accepting that, expat life will be hard”.
Anyway, back to the “someone” that is running around to get everyday life up and running.
He/she is working hard. Doing all the invisible stuff that will have the family come together and allows the company to have a full-on employee at all times. An employee that can come and go as required by the company, travel with ultra-short notice and work around the clock.
On that note;
IT – CERTAINLY – IS – A – JOB – TO – BE – THE – SOMEONE
Your (someone) job is evenly, if not more, important to your husbands/wife´s. If you are not thriving, the surplus disappears and that falls back on everyone in the family – meaning the employee too. Hence the work performance.
That said I hope that I have thoroughly tied the knot to the headline, with the previous short work resume, that it is a two for one deal when a company expatriates an employee that has a spouse and maybe also children.
ONE MORE EXAMPLE
I am an expat. Married to an expatriating employee.
I am one of two to manage this job. (Read; Expatriation)
We are both employed by the same company. The company does not know that I am employed though. At least not on paper.
They know that I work really really hard during peak periods. That I am away from home a lot. That I am very adaptable and that I do as they say without being directly heard or asked.
This may sound negative and as a bash towards the company expatriating my husband.
It is not. It is a conscious choice from my side.
It is to make you aware, that even though you leave your job and follow along, there is still a very important job waiting for you.
In particularly if you have children.
Does it mean that you cannot go out and do your own thing?
However, I stress that waiting until your have a daily routine and things settle into a state of normal you are doing a crucial job. Together with your spouse.