Time and time again, candidates and friends alike ask me the same question. Not only is this question very important and pondered by many, the answer can change the course of life.
I believe it to be a blessing to be able to help others by sharing my knowledge and experience. And as this question has been so popular, I have decided to share my own advice on this topic with all of you. So, without further ado, let’s look into the big question on everyone’s lips!
How can I tell if a career is right for me?
The majority of questions I receive are related to choosing the right job. And it stands to reason. Your career path can have a profound impact on your life.
We spend a huge portion of our time at work. If you sleep an average of 7 hours per night, then you’re left with 119 hours per week. Now, suppose you work 40 hours per week. That’s about 1/3 of your waking time. It better be good!
There’s a lot to contemplate!
When choosing a career path, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. Just a few include the job’s location, the company, the salary on offer, future growth opportunities as well as workplace benefits. Obviously, there’s a lot to talk about (more than can be discussed in just one article).
To give a comprehensive and holistic analysis, I will be looking at each of these factors across the course of an entire series.
Today, I will kick-start the series by looking at one important factor when considering a job: its location.
Location Location Location!
If I got a Euro for every candidate that stated they’re open to a range of locations, I would be rich by now. But should this aspect be taken so lightly?
Before deciding to pack your bags for a job, there’s a lot to take into account…
1. Is family time important to you at this instant? Will it be in the future?
2. Do you make new friends easily?
3. Are you competent in the local language, or able to learn it quickly?
4. Will your new lifestyle allow you to participate in the activities you enjoy?
5. Are you willing to travel to see friends and family?
6. Are you happy to try a new diet, or do you have specific requirements?
To help you judge what location may work for you and your next career, let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.
1. Family First?
If you are a family-oriented person, it may be important for you to be in proximity to them or able to reach them quickly. And whilst the job you’re contemplating may appear relatively close-by, poor roads or inadequate public transport can make the journey an arduous (or expensive) one.
Whatever the journey, travelling to see family often takes a toll.
So, if regular contact with family is one of your top values, it may be wise to seek a career which allows for quick and easy visits.
2. Social Surroundings
Do you enjoy meeting new people? Are you good at making friends?
Settling into a new community and making new friends often takes consistent effort.
So, if socialising is important to you, then you may need to be willing to dedicate time to new relationships. Don’t know where to get started? It may help you to share your experience with others in a similar situation! So why not browse the local expat communities on sites such as internations.com or Expat.com?
3. Learning the Lingo
Speaking of socialising, competency in shared languages is a crucial element to forming new ties. And in the context of a workplace, communicating with your colleagues is likely to shape your relationship to your workplace.
So, when considering a new job, you also need to think about your competency in the languages spoken. But don’t be discouraged! An interest in improving, and willingness to try will go a long way.
4. Time Out!
Another underestimated topic is the importance of free time. Think about the activities you most enjoy.
Is it dining out with friends? Or partying until the early hours in the morning? Or perhaps you enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking or walking? Maybe you like a certain type of sport?
Sure, big cities have facilities for almost any activity. However, the inner-city activities can be extremely expensive, whilst nature can be far away, or hard to access.
It might seem trivial, but frequently enjoying your favourite activities is a good way to maintain feelings of wellbeing (and it can improve your performance at work, too!).
5. Jetting around
Do you like to travel? If you’re relocating overseas, it may be important for you to fly in and out of the country.
In my experience, some airports are more expensive than others. So, if you’re planning on jetting about, it may be a good idea to research the typical cost of the flight in question. I also recommend looking into the connections to and from your closest airport.
My personal experience is with Prague airport. It has very few connections. Often, I was left with two options: take an expensive direct flight, or fly with multiple layovers.
Some More Food for Thought…
Your diet has a huge impact on your wellbeing and health. Every country will have different fruits and vegetables on offer as well as different meats, so depending on your preferences or requirements (lactose / glucose intolerant, vegan, vegetarian, etc…) the location at hand might suit you or not.
After all, you need to be able to find a range of foods you enjoy. And if you have allergies or special dietary requirements, life can quickly become complicated!
Eating habits are also to take into consideration. For example, the average dinner time in Spain falls around 10 to 11pm, while in France, people tend to eat towards 8 to 9pm. As food and our relationship towards it relies heavily on what type of lifestyle we lead, it is important not to underestimate its significance and impact.
Over to You!
When it comes to choosing a career, no one can make the decision for you. Everybody has different values, perceptions, and goals.
However, some careful forethought about the job’s location is a wise starting point. And by considering the factors discussed, you can rest assured that your next career move is a step in the right direction (literally!).