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Considering relocating abroad for work?

14 January 2016


Read our 5 tips from an Insurance professional to help you make the decision…

Today's guest blogger is Tom Elford, Associate Director for Oliver James Associates, New York. 

As Oliver James Associates continues to grow in size, profitability and market presence year on year there is now great opportunity for budding entrepreneurs within the business to spread their wings and make the leap to a location overseas. 

This September, I’m relocating to New York to take on an Associate Director role for the company but Sydney, Paris and others are on the cards for the coming years for the next batch of Directors in the business. As a specialist insurance recruiter, it’s been daunting making the decision to leave a desk that I’ve built from scratch alongside a team that are firing on all cylinders and making waves in the market that I’ve worked in for 5 years. 

If you’re considering accepting a position overseas, here’s some advice to help you decide and prepare for new opportunities...

1. The first hurdle involves family and friends. Can I move half way across the world and not have the support network that I have had for all of my life? 

With skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, snapchat, twitter, Instagram (the list goes on!) you will never be far from friends or family. The company that you relocate with will be supportive in terms of flights back at least once a year and unless you are at a remote location there will be multiple flights that friends and family can jump on to come and see you. 

2. Secondly, can I leave and pass on a successful billing desk that I’ve built from scratch and put many years into?

It’s difficult to walk away from a situation that works for you, however many studies have shown if you stay in the same position and don’t make the leap of faith in to a new venture, you can jeopardise at least 50% of your potential earnings. It’s easy to sit in the same role and earn a lot of money but if you can build something up from scratch and let it go to build the next thing your earnings are going to increase exponentially. I put it to anyone that is selected to have the opportunity to grow your own businesses, grab that opportunity with both hands and make full use of successful people around you to make it work! 

3. Thirdly, certain questions arise….where am I going to live? Will I be able to afford living out there? 

This is a common problem that most of us will face at some point whether you are relocating or not. I know many friends who have moved to London and have struggled with finding housing and actually being able to afford it. I think key to this is that at first you have to be prepared for an element of trial and error! Yes, there is a risk that you may end up in a less desirable neighbourhood (that looked amazing online…) but it is a great incentive when you relocate to explore your surroundings, speak to locals and find out more about the city that you are living in. There are so many expat forums and studies relating to living costs that you can review before making the move so you should be able to gain a good idea about the cost of living when you relocate. Most companies will also adjust your salary to accurately reflect the cost of living and will assist you in finding accommodation. 

4. What do I do about commitments in the UK e.g. other half, house, car, pet? 

Visas should be a topic of discussion with your other half right from the onset. Stories of a number of shotgun weddings have been coupled with a few broken homes however in all honesty it can be very difficult to get visas for the other half unless they have a vocation which is desirable to the country. Alongside this, cars have to be sold and phone contracts have to be bought out. Just make sure that you’re organised! Even if you can’t sell something before you go away, don’t panic. Just get it online and wait for the right offer; friends and family can help sort it all in your absence. 

5. Will I have the same social life/friend network abroad or will I even like it? 

With any big change in your life, there is always the element of the unknown. You’ll probably start asking yourself whether life overseas will be as good if not better as what I had before? If you live your life thinking this you will never get anywhere. When moving to a big city you will undoubtedly be overwhelmed by the ‘room for activities’. Joining a sports team, gym or some kind of club is an excellent way of making friends and creating yourself a social group. Yes they aren’t going to be the friends and family that you have at home but you can still have a good time! Enjoy yourself; ‘work hard play hard’ and if it’s not for you, you can always move back to rainy England with your tail between your legs and live on your mum and dad's sofa… 

If you’re interested in global career opportunities with Oliver James Associates, visit 


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