Take time to figure it out. Smartly
While it is certainly a luxury to be able to take time and rethink life following a relocation (or a baby, for that matter), the truth is, it can be pretty tricky to set a course for your life when all of your references have shifted.
What kind of job could I have in Geneva? Who are the potential employers in my field? Could I work for the UN? Where to start? Should I get another degree or certification to enhance my chances of finding a job?
I have asked myself all theses questions. The problem is, I only asked myself. I thought I could figure it out without any help. I didn't know I could ask for help.
And so I went from writing and translating in my early months here to pursuing a master's degree that I chose based solely on reading the syllabus online to reality shock when I saw it probably wasn't the best choice for someone who wasn't available to work in the field and finally to having a baby that I had wanted for a long time. Quite a ride, I now realize.
So. From my personal experience:
Taking time to look around, and inside, can save you so much energy. Holding on tight to the reins of your life in a moment of change doesn't have to feel lonely. When you are considering the best course of action, keep the following in mind:
You are under no obligation to find all the answers by yourself. Ask for help. Don't just sit in front of your computer asking Google. Ask real people. Go talk to them. They don't bite. They won't think you're silly. The worst that can happen is that they don't have time to talk to you. And if that happens you can always ask someone else.
Every single time I've dared to venture out of my comfort zone by talking to people about my ideas, or asking them about theirs, something positive happened.
We often hesitate to ask for help because we're afraid of rejection or we don't want to be a pain, but actually if you don't ask, you're stopping wonderful things from happening [reading tip: The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer. It will really change the way you view asking for and accepting other people's help]
Draw a plan
This may sound way too methodical, especially if you have just arrived, but I believe everyone can benefit from having a plan. Reflect upon and write down where you are now. What are your professional and personal goals? What is missing and what concrete actions you can take to get there, starting today? If you manage to set yourself deadlines, even better, as long as you can do this in a loving, positive way (as opposed to being a merciless self judge).
Pick up and polish your resources. They are there. You can put them to use. Identify which skills this new life in Geneva has helped you develop. Many of us bear the load of holding the family together and setting up a home, and that's not a minor task. Value your contribution. It's only possible to convince anyone that it's worth working with you if you believe yourself.
Have a mentor
Find someone to motivate you and guide you through this process. It can be a friend back at home. It can be your neighbor. It can be someone you meet through a networking group. If you can afford a coach, even the better, but if not, make sure you have someone who you can regularly chat about your progress and the obstacles you face. In any case, have stimulating conversations with people who will lift you up!
On this topic: would you be interested in a series of workshops where you could learn some exercises from professional career and life coaches to keep you on track and exchange with other women working on a career comeback? If so, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm concocting something and it would be great to know what would be most useful for you.
And if you haven't done it yet, sign up for Bonjour Geneva updates.
Wow, you made it to the end of the article. THANK YOU. Here's a little gift for you. This is something I love to do to boost my motivation. [Just between you and me, I listen to Disney soundtracks even when my daughter is not around]
Know who you are practice
If you're feeling playful, listen to this song from Vaiana (it is the moment she doubts she can accomplish her mission and is about to turn back when her grandma's spirit appears to encourage her). Sing it aloud. Picture your own journey and listen to what the quiet voice still inside you says about who you are. Then dive in and go get things done!