The Crushing Guilt of Being an Expat

It will happen if you choose to be overseas because you want to be with someone, rather than being sent there by a company. Or if you were sent by a company, and choose to stay on with other companies. Whatever the path to getting there is, as soon as the adventure is over and people at home don’t know when you’ll be back because you now live overseas – the guilt will be a crushing force. 
  • People will die and you won’t be there. 
  • Your family-at-home’s everyday practicalities will melt from your awareness. 
  • You won’t be able to look after unwell/grieving parents properly. 
  • Babies will grow up and you’ll miss big chunks of their journey. 
  • Sisters and brothers will have emergencies requiring wine, long chats and a backyard deck – but a text message is the best you can do. 
  • Budgets for daily life will minimise budgets for flights back home. 
  • Days of annual leave will be spent exploring your new locale, not on holidays back home. 

Shit will change, and you will feel like a terrible daughter/son/sister/brother/aunty/uncle/friend because you chose it to be that way. 
If you get the opportunity to work overseas, it can be pretty awesome, so don’t hold back. But when you choose to live overseas, expect it all to be a little different to a high flying career. Yes, there is a distinction between working overseas and living overseas. Because living overseas is a new way of life that people will see as shiny and exciting and wonderful (which it can be) but will never really understand the exquisite pains that accompany it. 
Cheers,
Sarah
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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  • 9 October 2012
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