This post isn’t about me in general but it’s more of a tip and what to expect when you decide to work overseas and making that big leap. The content drafted in this article is my own personal experience. Some may have different views on how they took the leap and overcame the risks. You may not find this post beneficial, but I hope it will be for some folks out there.
Most people, especially those who come from small countries like where I live have dreamt of working or moving overseas. Big countries like USA, Australia and European countries are most of the desired places to work in. Most common reasons to work abroad include: Making decent money, Experience, To enhance skills, Personal development, Networking, a comfortable life and to get to see other places. These are the common things that would pop into your mind when deciding to work overseas.
The Big Leap
When I was younger (mid 20's), I had never considered working abroad as I was satisfied with what I made, I enjoyed what I did at work and I couldn't imagine leaving my family behind. There were a few overseas job offers presented to me back then and I declined them because of the same reasons. The main one is family. However, things changed after my son was born. As a father of two and a breadwinner of the family, I needed to work much harder so I could provide them with their needs: food, shelter, better education and not to mention, a comfortable life. And so, I reconsidered the idea of working aboard for one main reason: family.
Mid last year, I was presented with an offer to work and move to the USA. I was excited and at the same time scared because I knew it was going to be a big move for me. So I thought about it over and over again, balancing the risks and the sacrifices to be made. A few days later, I decided to give it a shot but with one condition, and that is to bring my family with me. There's no reason for me to work outside my country without having my family with me. That's a no-no for me. My family and kids are my motivation and that's why I work hard for them. I am very thankful to my employer for understanding me and giving me what I asked. So now I work as a software engineer in a research and development company in the USA.
Yes, it's exciting because you get the opportunity to work and collaborate with different people across the globe. Working abroad will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of a country, its people, and its culture. You won’t just be a visitor anymore, but a temporary member of that community. This insider view will give you a different perspective on all aspects of life, including family life and politics.
But It's Challenging
Excitement comes with hardships too as you start from scratch. Finding a place to live, getting a car because it's a necessity, building a good credit score and of course conversing with people using the english language on a daily basis.
It's also expected to get more challenging at work as you have to speak their language to collaborate and to make sure the people understand what you are trying to convey. In software engineering, you need to learn how to simplify technical terms/solutions to non-technical folks.
You also need to consider that there’s no one around you anymore when something bad might happen to you. All I’m saying is that we can’t rely much of help than what we can expect in our home land. Remember: your relatives and friends are not there for you physically. Just take good care of yourself, be mature and always apply common sense and you should be fine.
The Good Thing
The good side about working or moving abroad in a personal aspect is it enables you to be independent. This is because you have no choice but to do or service almost everything yourself. For example: house chores, cooking, groceries, laundry, payments, basic repairs, etc.
Another thing is it will boost your confidence and eventually master a second language. Chances are that you’ll be moving to a country where you don’t speak the language. Consider this a bonus for when you work overseas, as it gives you the unique opportunity to learn a language abroad and practice your new skills with locals. Speaking the language will not only help you better integrate into your new role, but also help you stand out from the crowd in the future.
One of the major sacrifices that you need to take is leaving your family, relatives and friends behind. It's hard to let go of the people that you see and hangout everyday.
Leaving a company with good people around you isn't easy. Especially on my case that I've been in the company for almost 10 years. The experience, learning, culture and friends around you are priceless.
Leaving the place where you were born is sad. You will miss all the great places that you've been to. Like in my place where I live in a tropical island, I'm surely going to miss the stunning views of white sand beaches, water falls and mountains.
You'll miss all your favourite authentic local food. Well you can probably cook your own when you're abroad but you will have a hard time finding the ingredients you need, and if there are, it's gonna be expensive.
Working or moving abroad is different and you have to blend with the culture and you have to respect that.
Another reason why I haven't blog or write something for awhile because the process of moving to another country really requires alot of time, plus I got alot of things to do at work. Even though I wrote a few decent articles, ebook, contributed in technical forums and conducted a couple of local technical sessions, still I fully understand why I wasn't being re-awarded for MVP this year for CodeProject, Csharpcorner and Microsoft. Taken from my previous article about Tale Of A Professional Developer - Untold
The MVP status isn’t something that you will be working for a few months. It takes time, sacrifice and dedication. For me, it’s a day-to-day duty. In my case, I always find time to contribute almost every day, of course except family day. I am not forced to do it, it’s my willingness, passion and dedication to help others that drives me to do it.
Now that I am settled, and when time permits, I hope I could be able to contribute more again to the technical community and get back to the game. ASP.NET Core and Blazor series are on my to-do list, so stay tuned for that.
A Piece of Advice
In the software development world, there's a big chance of getting an opportunity, especially if you are skilled.
Gain more experience, practice and improve your English (speaking and writing), and always enhance your skills by making quality code. Once you have the skill sets, the opportunity will present itself. When the time comes that you will be presented with an opportunity to work or move abroad with your family and are ready to face all the challenges, risks and bargains, then grab it. I know it's a big move but it should be worth a try. Remember we only live once so don't waste time and don’t miss the opportunity.