going backwards to get going forwards

Kristen Wiig *photo credit - http://blogs.psychcentral.com/
Kristen Wiig *photo credit – http://blogs.psychcentral.com/

Sounds like a crazy plan right?  Well it is!  But it is what most of us go through trying to make a life in a foreign country.  This seems to happen to me after a prolonged period of what seemingly could be labeled as non-productivity.  I get a burst of momentum that makes me feel nearly unstoppable but to get going forwards means to step backwards.  What do I mean by that?  Let me try to explain it.

Every time I take a trip home (USA) I often get very nostalgic, of course.  Inevitably, this makes me take inventory of the things I want in my life.  I have a lot now but one thing that is missing is a career or simply work that is satisfactory.  I want to be a service to others outside of my family and yeah, I want to get paid for it.

I was raised in a house that evolved with the times.  My mother stayed home with us up until there were 4 of us.  She decided to go back to school and finish her degree then move on to get a Masters degree.  The whole time she was achieving this I was in high school.  You can imagine that this set a very powerful example for me.   By  her achievement, I learned: No matter where you are in your life you can change your circumstances.   She went back to school in a city 2 hours south of our hometown while holding down a part time job.  She did this for several nights a week until she finished her degree.  I remember she needed my help in getting signed up for graduation as she was healing from a surgery.  I went to the office of Library Science to enroll her.  Everyone knew her and were thrilled to meet her daughter.  It was so wonderful to meet strangers who saw my mother in a different way than I had.  It made me proud to be her daughter.

Like her, I love being home with my child.  I am very thankful that we are able to sustain a quality life while allowing me the time to nurture our child’s development.   I never thought I would have the opportunity.  But I also want to give my daughter the example of having both a career and being a good mother/domestic goddess (homemaker is such a loaded word for me so I’m opting to use Roseanne Barr‘s interpretation).  I also want to be more apart of this community.  But in order to get there I have to get back into the workforce.  My options as an expatriate are limited since quite often the most positions of value call for specialized degrees AND experience in that field.  I know this because I’ve been through the gambit a few years back.   In order to get moving forward I will have to go backwards and get a lower level job to a) either work my way up or b) get more education, as my mother did.  I’ve been living here for almost 5 years and it can be frustrating to realize I am still working this out.  I am often worried about making the wrong choice in which direction I want to go.  Education is an investment of your time and money.  I want to be sure that I do something valuable for myself, my family and the community.


About Self-Love life coach

I moved to the Netherlands to be with my husband. After several years living here and getting through some struggles and obstacles, I decided I would help other expats work through these same things by becoming a life coach. I offered these services under the name of the Life Coach for Expats. Some time later I've taken a deeper look into where my coaching can be most effective. Now you can find me as Susan de Vriend, Self-love life coach at www.susandevriend.com. I am the coach who coaches with compassion to support Business Moms find their inner confidence & voice allowing a profound and joyful life to be created on purpose.

3 thoughts on “going backwards to get going forwards

  1. Great inspirational post Susan, seems you are doing a great job at understanding your motivations with this great strategy.

    Many expats I met have unrealistic expectations: they don’t want to go backward and start at a lower level and inevitably they get frustrated. Many also don’t want to explore lateral moves, using skills they have but in another industry or occupation.

    In his book “The 7 habits of highly effective people”, Stephen R. Covey advises to “begin with the end in mind “, starting by writing your own eulogy for having a clear picture of what you want to be remembered for after you’re dead. Using your “ideal end of your life” as a guide, you can then go backward, starting by your past accomplishments, values, needs and explore areas of your life you want to invest in (family, financial, spiritual, friends, work etc.). Doing this exercise regularly helps you make better choices.

    1. Thank you for your comment! It is often hard to accept these huge changes without some remorse of your former “life”. Knowing a system that you grew up with and also one that you know how to navigate is not only comforting but gives a foundation for, in most cases, success. Trying to play the game in a new environment is well, difficult. I know what to expect in an interview in the US but here its quite a different ball game. Its helpful to know where you stand and how you can leverage yourself. I have yet to get that kind of constructive advice from any job agencies or career help resources here. I appreciate this helpful tip you gave from Stephen Covey’s book because it is insightful for the precise reason that you must start by knowing who you are, what you are capable of, and where you want to go. A great building block before diving into a new career and/or job function. Thanks again and please visit again. 🙂

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