At Work

Moving for the family

You’ve got a wonderful job, a nice place to live and lots of friends. But you realise you miss your family, who lives very far away. So, should you move?

Here are some questions to help gain insight as you wrestle with a tough decision:

Are you moving with a sense of excitement and hope or from a nagging feeling of obligation?

Ever so often, I get calls from clients who begin, “I moved to be near my beloved friends and family. And once I arrived, I realised they didn’t need me. In fact, they liked me better when we lived farther apart! How can I get my old career and my old life back?”

How will family dynamics change once you are 15 minutes away?

Often you will grow closer together and find new sources of strength and inspiration. But sometimes a retiree becomes taken for granted and becomes a round-the-clock baby-sitter. A busy self-employed professional is expected to participate in time-consuming family rituals.

What is your family like today (not one, five or 10 years ago)?

You move to spend time together. But do you know each other? Do you still have a lot in common?

If you haven’t been in the same city for a while, expect surprises. Couch potatoes become fitness fanatics. Television addicts discover the public library and the bookstore. Even a change in movie preferences can affect the quality of a relationship.

Will you enjoy your new city on your own?

Even with a close family, you will need your own life. Will your new community support opportunities to grow and change?

Can you find career satisfaction?

You have to walk a fine line between showing potential employers you are motivated to move and sounding so eager you will take whatever you can get.

I urge everyone to understand the impact of career on family. No one wants to spend five years living with resentment because “I gave up a wonderful career for you”. A family counsellor will help you sort through these issues.

There is reason for optimism. With careful planning, my clients usually find creative ways to enjoy the family and also maintain a satisfying career.