As many expatriate spouses do, I gave up my job when we decided to start traveling the world with Foreign Service. I had a great job — the one that paid well and the one that was interesting — but then my husband got an opportunity that was too good to pass on. And so we decided that I can perhaps find something as we move from place to place.
The first country we went to ended up going through the recession less than a year after we got there, so getting a job in my profession in the local economy was not an option. And that’s when I decided that I needed to re-invent myself. Instead of looking for professional opportunities every place I landed, I decided to carry a professional “opportunity” with me. That’s how I came across what I do now and I became an expatriate entrepreneur.
As it is with every type of entrepreneurship, succeeding financially takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. It also takes working on the computer at night, having odd tasks at odd hours — especially if your clients live in different time zones — and taking some time from the family. It is not a “9-to-5” kind if job and that’s where spouses and their attitudes come in.
In various ways. But here I am going to focus on two: understanding and encouragement.
(1) Understanding. When you forgo a full-time job and choose working out of your home, you pretty much stay at home. And, for some people, staying at home means that you are responsible for all the home tasks out there — cleaning, cooking, ironing, etc. If you are working on a business, you probably have just as little (if not less!) time for all the home tasks than you fully-employed spouse does. Yet you are expected to do them. This expectation may create guilt on your part and criticism on your spouse’s part. The same feelings surface when you work at night. In the end neither your business nor your relationship benefit from them.
(2) Encouragement. We all know making money on an idea takes time. Time and a lot of work. So when you spend your mornings and your afternoons and your evenings growing your business, the last thing you want to hear from your spouse is the reference to how your business isn’t really a business but rather a hobby since you have not really made a dime. Doesn’t do a lot in terms of encouragement, does it? In fact, those comments often shut you down, even if they are meant as a joke.
What are your thoughts on this?
People who read this post, also read:
Culture Shock Revisited or Is It Really Just About Going Through the Stages
How to Leave without Regrets
7 Behavior Choices of a Happy Expat
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