3 Secret Benefits of Relocation

Want to know the 3 secrets of relocation?  The ones few talk about?  In relocation, there are so many things we do not talk about.  Perhaps it’s because we are powering our way through each day.  We dodge, jab and dance our way through each day hoping to get it all right.

We experience the benefits…but I don’t think we remember, or realize how those benefits that come our way.

This makes relocation like a secret club.  There are rituals and experiences we ReloMoms have, but we do not typically share them with anyone else.  It is as if we must keep them secret from the rest of the world.  However, when we do stop to share them, we encourage others to choose this relocation adventure and be better prepared for the dance.

Through relocation, we connect to people we never would have known.  We learn more about the world and people, even when relocating within the same country.  We discover how to be new and take advantage of everything “new” in front of us.

We typically choose a corporate relocation because of career advancement or financial incentives, but there is so much more to relocation.

Last week I polled LinkedIn to see what people viewed as benefits.  Their choices were career advancement, an adventure, family connection, educational opportunities and cultural experiences.  One of the comments included how what we needed or what we focused on, dictated what we would view as a benefit.  This is so true.  Some we readily see, while others we barely notice.

So, what are some of those hidden relocation benefits? Today I am going to let you in on THREE of the benefits.  Those rarely talked about, but widely experienced by everyone in the family.

Learn how to take a chance

All of us no matter our personality style, introvert or extrovert, learn how to take a chance through relocation. We must once the decision to relocate is made.  Everything is new.  Everyone is new.

With this decision we extend trust to people, processes and groups where we may not have chosen to do so before relocation.  For some of us buying a car requires months of research for quality, current market pricing and negotiation tactics for specific dealerships.  In relocation we do not have this kind of time to build a knowledge base and justify trust.

We typically have only days or hours to make major decision. Through relocation we become incredibly good at assessing risk quickly, in ways that are focused in on who we are and what we need. 

We may know exactly what we want to know but with the short time frame we quickly and clearly identify the most important criteria.  We then take a calculated chance on the rest of what could be known.

Through trial and some error we establish how to take a chance in our way, especially with short time frames and less information than we might like.

Career enhancement

Because relocation acceptance is typically driven by a career or financial incentive, the entirety of career enhancement is overlooked as a benefit  for both the relocated employee and the trailing spouse.

Relocation is not something most people decide to accept.  This might be because of local extended family needs, the spouse’s career/job or any number of reasons.  Because of this, accepting a relocation is like becoming a unicorn. There are rumors that people like you exist, but most people haven’t met them. 

Both the relocated employee and spouse who re-establishes employment in the new community, will be part of companies and team that are populated by primarily locals.  These co-workers often view transferred employees and career spouses, as risk takers – people who are there to make things happen. The bonus to the transferred employee is that they are viewed many times as more loyal to the company because they were willing to move for the company need. 

Take advantage of it and keep it on the resume.  It is not insignificant and will be rewarded throughout a career.  It is an achievement like an Eagle Scout award.  Once achieved, it demonstrates personal character.

Family Connection

Family connectedness is the most important relocation benefit, for me personally.  My family connects in a way few other families connect.  And I believe we do because of relocation.  As a kid my family moved across the country multiple times.  Even as adults now we still work to be together in the same communities.  Why?  Because we like each other.  We depend on each other.  We always show up for each other.

The strange thing is, that all of us are fiercely independent. The lessons we learned during those core family relocation is why we have stayed close all these years, both between my sister and I, and as family with our parents.

For my sister and I, each time we moved all we had was each other.  For the first few months after each relocation, my sister was my playmate, my only friend and the one who would listen to me.  She was the only one who understood how hard relocating could be.  Walking through each relocation together formed a strong formidable bond.  No matter what, we always chose dedication and commitment to each other.  To this day even with families of our own, we remain close.  So much so, that we have chosen to relocate to the same city once again.

Our parents chose this as well.  After our families moved back to Texas, they moved here a few years later.  Why?  We have always been together, for over 50 years.  We are not bound by a location.  We are bound to each other, by experience and by choice.

This is not unique to my family.  As I meet more and more relocated and EXPAT families, the story is the same.  Even when the kids become independent adults, their core families remain a constant in their lives.  Both working to be in the same city and from a distance, family connect for life.  Not bound by a place, but bound by shared experience and connection.

BONUS BENEFIT: Peacemakers

A new benefit was revealed recently to me when I attended a Rotary club meeting with my father.  He had been a member for years and occasionally I would attend a meeting with him.  At this luncheon, they had invited a Youth Exchange representative to make a presentation about their high school student exchange program.

In this high school exchange program, kids would choose another country to live in for a school year.  They could go to any country that had Rotary clubs.  During that year they would live with a Rotary family, go to school in that country and attend weekly Rotary club meetings with the Rotary Club family member.

During the program, I learned the primary reason Rotary began and sustained this program for high school students.  Rotary believes that anyone who has lived outside of their home country, gains a larger world perspective, and with that, gains the ability to be the peacemakers of tomorrow.

As I looked back on all of my relocations, I saw this to be true.  When one person was hammering a single point or a single side of an argument, I wanted to know the other side. As I thought about this more, I realized that this belief “that there was more to know than what was right in front of me” was due to the fact that I had met so many people and learned to live so many different places.

I doubt that I will be a world peacemaker, but I have that ability to pause and consider there may be more to the story than just this.  A pause to consider, what else is there?

When we learn to ask could there me more, we keep our minds open to possibility and gain the ability to see options that others do not.  To be peacemakers, in our corner of the world.

Remember. Write it down!

Write it down.  We all forget.

Until you walk through relocation it is hard to understand.  I think this is why, we as ReloMoms, do not talk about it much.  As we are enrolling our kids in school or we are meeting people in the community, we do not find too many who actually understand where we are coming from.  This relocation perspective.

The second reason we forget is because the plethora of relocation tasks do not end for months. When we get what we expect or want, rarely do we slow to celebrate it or even share it with others.  It becomes yet another check mark, one of many we are working to check off every day. 

Probably never to be thought of again.

As ReloMoms in control and responsible for resetting life, the challenges and fails are what get the most discussion and air time especially in our own heads.  Self judgement, second guessing and doubt reigns as we record each challenge or fail as proof we can’t do this.

This is why we must write down our wins. We have far more wins than we do fails.  The proof is in the relocation itself.  Look at all that was realized and created so far.  Those are wins and just as important as anything else.  Use your wins to build your confidence and shore yourself up to prove you can handle the next challenge.

We need to be reminded that we are capable.  We are strong.  We know what we are doing.  The journal will help you remember what went right!  Lots of things go right.  Reading what you have written will lift you out of the challenges more quickly.

You have the proof in your hands.  Write the wins down on paper and use the proof to keep moving forward.

My passion is to help you relocate well from packing to connecting!

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