Tips to take you from dissatisfied to thriving in your job or career while abroad
For those currently working in a foreign country, it can often feel extremely scary and overwhelming when you start feeling uncomfortable with your current job and wondering whether you should move on to the next thing, especially if your ability to remain living legally in that country depends on maintaining your ‘employed’ status.
Here are a few tips to increase the chances of turning this unpleasant situation into an opportunity for growth.
1. Check out exactly what legal conditions apply to you
EU/EEA citizens living in the Netherlands or other EU countries generally don’t need to worry about this (though some conditions still apply) but, if you are coming from a different country or have been sponsored by your employer, you definitely want to make sure you know what rules could affect you. The EU's Immigration Portal is a great starting point to figure out which procedures and conditions might apply to you.
If in doubt, contact directly the government agency responsible for these issues (resident permits, visas, etc) in your country of (desired) residence. In the Netherlands, this would be the IND/Immigration and Naturalisation Service (they are really helpful!) and in Portugal it is most likely the SEF/Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras.
Becoming unemployed will likely create additional stress and it could mean that your residence permit will be revoked, and you will have to go back to your home country.
2. Assess where you are and where you want to go
Are you still wondering if it is really time to move on or not? Only you can reflect on what feels right at this moment and answer this. You can also use this free sample of the Career Satisfaction test as a tool to get your reflection going…
In addition, be clear about what you are looking for next. Is it a new job, a whole new career, or maybe even starting your own business? (More about starting a business in the EU here and in the Netherlands here)
3. Set a schedule, do your research and take action
Create a regular schedule to encourage you to think about all the important elements and take action (for example, block a few hours every Wednesday; you can use this voucher to get a free template schedule). Our tendency to conserve energy means it’s too easy to remain in an unpleasant status quo.
Investigate what other jobs and vacancies are out there; which ones align well with your personality, strengths and desired lifestyle; and how you can present yourself as a good candidate for it.
Start applying to new vacancies that fit you and what you want (or finally open that business).
4. Use your current job to its fullest
Find out what are the elements from your current job that can help you land the next one (e.g. some technical or team-working skills you are already developing). I know, we are often already too tired and frustrated about still being there but, if you set yourself this challenge, it can feel a bit easier to go to work every day until you find a better one.
5. You don’t have to do it alone: ask for help!
Look for a mentor, or partner with a friend or colleague to create some accountability and keep you motivated. Consider working with a coach to get the support you need to make it.
There is no extra prize for doing it all alone! :)
[First published: 17 November 2021. Last adjusted: 14 December 2021.]
[A version of this article has also been published here by the International Welcome Centre Utrecht Region/IWCUR.]