I've moved house nine times in 15 years of marriage, and each move has been linked to my husband's job.
We move about every year and a half to two years. This is becoming more and more the norm --and not just in populations such as expats. Some children have had multiple different school uniforms by the time they are 7.
I used to be along for the ride in a kind of martyr way, if I'm honest about it.
Here we go again; I can't believe we have to move again and that I have to leave my stable teaching job in a prep school. I could stay on until I am ready to retire with gifts of a large box of chocolate biscuits and vouchers for a department store to buy myself 'something nice,' if it wasn't for this move.'
I had a lot of attitude about the whole situation. I had this attitude even though teaching was not my ideal job. Really, it was fear of change.
I came to see that the martyr way doesn't work. It's a half-life, an apology. I didn't like the way there was a possibility of resentment building over time, like limescale on a kettle.
I read self-help endlessly and set out to find 'it.' You know, my 'Thing,' my mission in life.
The searching got expensive and was crazily eclectic. I studied photography, interior design, art history, creative writing, sang in a musical and learned how to arrange flowers and play piano (though not at the same time). If there had been night classes in becoming an astronaut, I probably would have tried those, too.
All the while, I was ignoring my passion for coaching books and coaching, as I had the idea that being a coach was not a "real job." Eventually, it dawned on me that I didn't care whether other people thought that coaching was a "proper job" or not. I was claiming it and going to do it.
It's the best decision I've ever made and it was how I stopped being a martyr while following my husband's job around and got to do what I love.
Here's how to be you, even when you relocate:
1. Seriously consider whether moving from job to job is what you want to do until you retire. People used to say to me, 'Oh, it must be so easy for you to move around because you are a teacher.'
I didn't find this to be true, as every school does things so differently and you have to work really hard when you first begin in a new place of work to establish your reputation and trust factor.
If you don't want to keep changing jobs, get a mentor or coach and make a new plan for you.
2. Choose what you want to do, not what fits the regulation idea of what a job is or the kinds of options that were presented by your careers advisor when you were at school. The Internet has and is opening up so many options that were not there before.
3. Accept that you might not get it right first time. In fact, getting it wrong is part of the journey to right.
4. Realize that you are going to need to invest financially in creating this new future for yourself. Ask yourself how much is 'worth it' and make a financial plan to make it happen.
5. Talk to your partner about why what you are doing is really important to you and get them on board. Stay in communication throughout. Read John Gottman books where necessary.
6. Have a group of people you are regularly in touch with who are either at the same stage as you in creating a new way of life for themselves or who are a step ahead.
7. Research training options carefully and decide whether they are really going to help you achieve what you want. Practical skills matter more than certifications.
8. Read books that motivate you to create your new way of life. Read them regularly and do the exercises.
9. Self-care is key. If you don't take the time to care for yourself, you are going to make it really hard to have the energy for this kind of growth.
10. Morph relocation into a strength. What's good about this move?
Some of you reading this might think, well, that's nice for her; her husband helped her pay for her training. This is true and I'm hugely grateful for his amazing support. I support him just as much in what he does and that makes us a team.
The great thing is that this support has meant I get to use my skills in the world to help others. I get to write articles like this in the hope that other women who are in the same position I was won't think that doing work they love in a life of relocation is a lost cause.