Special Issues with Relocation
Studies have shown that the emotional impact of relocation on an employee and his/her family is great. Relocation, whether nationally or internationally, or even back to the original home, can be quite traumatic. It causes a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety and can divide a marriage and create difficulties, not seen before, with children.
Some of the issues that might face an employee being relocated may be:
- Having a new job with new responsibilities
- Having to get used to a new work environment with different colleagues
- Working in environment with others speaking a foreign language
Some issues that face a spouse of a relocated employee may be:
- How are the children going to react to the move?
- The spouse may not have working papers in a foreign country and therefore may not be able to work
- If relocating to another state, they may have to look for a new job
- Finding new schools, new housing, new doctors, new friends, etc.
Children have their own set of challenges in relocation:
- Leaving the school they know
- Leaving friends
- Leaving extended family
- Having to learn a new language
- Perhaps experiencing loss for the first time in their lives
- Anxiety about leaving the comforts of home
- Leaving relationships and wondering how they will fare with the separation
- Anxiety about what the new place will be like
- Will they make new friends?
- Will they be successful?
- Will they like the new environment?
- Will people in the new environment like them?
It is important for families being relocated to seek counseling before the move, and, if necessary, after the move as well. In this way they will be better prepared for what will be in store for them.
I was the Director and Founder of the Cross Cultural Counseling Center that worked with families being relocated, expatriated and repatriated. In that capacity, I counseled many families and employees in the above issues and consulted with businesses as to how they might help their relocating employees.