I was recently made aware of a very tempting job. The criteria lined up almost perfectly with my skills and experience. It involved greenhouse gas management and sustainability work at a very high level. It involved developing young engineers in the field and representing the business at international meetings and conferences. The pay and conditions were outstanding, too. In short, a great job.
Too bad it’s in the Middle East.
If my life circumstances were different, I would definitely be going for that job. International experience would definitely broaden and deepen my skills and experience. The networking possibilities would be endless. The higher pay would certainly be nice.
So what’s holding me back? Family, for one. My wife and I have lived in the same place now for 11 years. Our boys have never lived anywhere else. We have made friends and built connections with our community. In short, we’ve put down roots.
The other thing is that I’ve been a freelance consultant for a while now. It’s a fantastic arrangement for family life. I work from home so there’s no wasted time commuting. I can choose the type of work and clients I want to pursue. I also find I don’t need to work full-time. I have plenty of non-work time available for family, working on Sustainable Data and other hobbies.
It’s really hard to go from working like that back to a full-time (40+ hours) job. Over the past few years several opportunities to do so have come up. I’ve politely declined all of them.
So why did this international role hold appeal when other jobs haven’t? Partly it was something of an ideal notion I have about working in another country. I’ve travelled overseas quite a few times but have never worked in another country. My youngest brother relocated to London a couple of years ago and is having success in his career and in seeing the world, which I’m enjoying vicariously.
There’s also the scale of possibilities. Working for yourself brings everything down to a smaller scale. I’m often an adjunct to an existing team but don’t typically integrate with larger projects for more than a short period of time. That feeling of wanting to be part of something bigger is still there. The thought of taking off for a big international assignment feels like it would tick that box.
But for now, I’m staying put. I’ll never say never, but with young kids and our solid place in our community, as well as my happiness with my professional working freedom as a freelancer, it’s going to take a remarkable opportunity to budge me from here.