What To Do When Your Expat Job Isn’t Working Out

Steps to take when your expat job isn’t working out for you

There comes a time in an expat’s life where they reach a roadblock. The job that you highly anticipated and moved abroad for may be taking its toll on you in many different ways. But before you decide your expat job isn’t working out for you, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you are making the right decision. At the end of the day, you want to exhaust all your options before making the final decision.

When you’re feeling unmotivated to come to work and reaching the end of your wits about the pile of work left to be completed, do these simple things first. It ensures you get a change of scene and a new perception that will help you decide.

1. Have a one-on-one with your colleagues

When you confide in someone you trust, you’re not only sharing your problems but also hearing your problems out loud. Talking to someone about what’s going on relieves a huge burden off your shoulders. When you speak to your colleagues, ask them about the role and if there are any challenges your predecessors might have struggled with, and how they overcame it. Instead of complaining, share your struggles, and look for constructive feedback or help. Ask them if they went through the same thing. Most often, it helps a lot to know you are not the only one.

sharing your problems

2. Meet new people outside of work

Take the opportunity to live like an expat by meeting people outside of your work. It helps you broaden your horizon and perspective to meet people from all walks of life. You can use sites such as Meetup to meet new people to go out for drinks, but use it to do your favorite outdoor hobbies together. Finding a group of friends with similar interests will help you in many ways that you think.

meet people

3. Talk to your employer

Another way to approach the situation when you feel like your expat job isn’t working out is to talk to your employer. After all, they are invested in their expat staff being happy and enjoying their stay. Furthermore, they might even be able to point you in the right direction. Your global HR director is your resource to help solve any overseas position challenges that you may have, such as a fellow worker, the income level or even the global health insurance.

Digital Nomad During the COVID-19 Pandemic

4. Design a Plan B for your expat career

When you tried the above approach and still feel like your expat job isn’t working out for you, there might be other deeper issues that need to be addressed. Maybe the job isn’t something you were promised to be, or you’re either feeling overwhelmed or undervalued. All these feelings are valid. It is important to take care of your mental health first.

If this is the case, then it is time to come up with a plan B. We don’t mean returning home. Instead, talk to your employer to see whether they have a position that better suits your skills and interests. You can also try to find jobs through local recruitment agencies. There’s always a way around it. Make sure you ask the right questions and clearly evaluate your interests to avoid repeating your previous experience.

KEY LEARNING for Expat Employers According to Harvard Business Review

  1. When assigning people overseas, it is best not to assume that employees who have succeeded at home will succeed abroad. It is not just about ensuring they have technical skills but also the willingness to move to different countries and immerse in new cultures.
  2. Employers who are ending expat assignment with a repatriation process should plan wisely. For most expats, repatriation is a huge process of uprooting both professionally and personally. Not to mention they just uprooted themselves from the comfort of their home.
  3. Companies should help employees returning home by providing them with career guidance and finding ways to put their international work experience to work back home.