A 'Husky' about to make the move back across the pond
The first big move I made for my career was in 2005 when I made a decision to take 2 years out of my life as a then salesman in Financial services, to take a full-time MBA in the USA. The 2 drivers for my decision were:
a. The USA is the centre of the business world
b. The MBA was invented in the USA
So why not study in the heart of it all? I also hoped to work in the USA for a few years afterwards and get some good contacts and experience there. It also didn't hurt that it was $2 to the pound at the time and that I got a scholarship and a part-time job at Northeastern University
1. Other than the usual challenges of getting an MBA; Taking the GMAT, making the applications, writing the application essays, interviewing for the schools, finding the money to go; I'd say getting the Visa sorted out was the hardest part. It required a mountain of paperwork. Further down the road, when I finally got my US Permanent resident card ('Green Card'), it was even harder. There were so many hoops to jump through that I had to hire an Immigration lawyer at considerable expense ( I'm a lawyer by training myself).
Shit, where's my car gone? I need to get to work!
2. My second shock was rather more prosaic; I was just not prepared for the weather in Boston. In the winter, it gets down to -10 C and that's -20 C or more with windchill. You also have big snowstorms. For example, during the last winter, I was in Boston, in 2015, over 14 feet of snow fell in the city. In the summer, you NEED air conditioning in your apartment. It gets up to 30 degrees C and it's also humid in the city.
Returning from Boston to move back to London, 10 years later, was actually a much bigger and more complicated affair. I was now married, with a 6-year-old son, with disabilities and a 9-year-old daughter. I had also just had back surgery at Mount Auburn Hospital and was recovering from that. We had a house that we needed to sell. And Catherine and I both had full-time jobs to keep running throughout this.
Let me back up here a little to explain. My wife, Catherine, had always wanted to live in the UK. She was running College recruiting at her company, Akamai, in 2015, when she was offered the chance to go to London, to run EMEA recruiting there; it was a huge promotion for her, from manager to director, from managing a team of 5 in Boston to managing a team of 20 recruiters, throughout the whole of Europe.
I said 'go for it' and promptly found a job setting up demand generation in Europe for a little-known Cybersecurity start-up called Zscaler (it has since had an IPO and is now valued at $3.8 Billion on the Nasdaq). This brings me to the next point:
3. Corporate relocations have experienced a paradigm shift in the last 50 years. In the 20th century, the husband usually was working and wife, who did not work, would manage a lot of these challenges of moving. Today, more often than not, you are dealing with 2 parents, who both have to manage demanding jobs, throughout this corporate relocation.
ANYTHING that will save them time (above all time) and money (much less important), is an absolute necessity. Make sure you employ all the help you can. For this, we used a corporate relocation company to manage our move for us. We also used a veritable army of staff.
my son, Jack, in our dining room in Boston, Massachusetts, USA
5. The importance of having flexible work. There is no way We would have managed this move so effectively without remote working. I had 2 weeks training Austen, Texas and I travelled back to Europe a number of times to run conferences there.
There was a Sales kick-off in Las Vegas and numerous trips back and forth to London to orchestrate the move. Throughout this, Zscaler allowed me to work remotely, running demand generation for EMEA, from Boston, USA, for almost 4 months.
For that, I salute them. It's probably one of the reasons why the USA is 30% more productive than the UK (it's not all bad, London's productivity is actually 30% higher than the rest of the UK, so comparable with the US). Zscaler's and Akamai flexibility made a huge difference to Catherine and me.