Dear Danielle: Should I Put My Job Before My Happiness?

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Q: “Hi Danielle…
My husband is from New Zealand and I am from Colombia. We were living in Colombia until I finished my degree, and then moved to NZ where we had always dreamed of settling down. But I really struggled to find a job there, as I was a foreigner, recently graduated and with not a lot of experience. It was very tough and I felt useless, but after six months a very good job opportunity turned up for me back in Colombia. After much thought, we decided to come back. That was exactly 1 year ago, and while we are financially stable now thanks to both our jobs here, we have really struggled to adapt in this city. We don’t like the weather, the people, the ambience… and we really really miss NZ. We are thinking of leaving our jobs and go there, trying our luck now that I have a bit more experience, but I am terrified of leaving my security here and having to go through the whole process of being unemployed and looking for jobs again.

What do you think I should do: put my job before my happiness for a while longer, or take the plunge, go back to New Zealand and try to find a job there for the second time?

A: Hey there NZ lover!

Of course your overall happiness comes before your job. You can’t live your life for only your career. It’s a small, limiting perspective and we love space for free thinking and big dreaming.

That being said money is sort of like oxygen. When you need it, you need it! And life costs money. Period.

So what to do? Your heart and soul lives in NZ and your wallet is fat and happy in Columbia. The bridge must be built and I believe you must follow it back to NZ…..but not without a grown up, adult-like plan!

If you both genuinely feel like you have tried your darn-est to acclimate and dive into Columbian culture and it’s just not floating your boat then it is most likely the ideal time to develop an exit strategy.

We’re not just going to pack our stuff, buy a plane ticket and plop ourselves back down in the middle of NZ without a smart and savvy course of action. I would start by consulting your finances. Do you have 3-6 months of savings should either of you not land a job immediately? Or in the chances you land one but discover you dislike it intensely.

If not, discuss together how long it would take, aside from your regular monthly bills, to save up at least 3 months of savings. Perhaps, for example it takes 6 months to save up 3 months of savings. If this is the case you are most likely looking at a move back to NZ in 6 months time. Longer than perhaps you would prefer but in the grand scheme of life not that long at all. Time flys!

This plan can of course can be sped up if you both have jobs waiting for you when you land. This is step two. Collect and revise your resumes. If this is not a forte, consult a resume writer and have them gussy it up for you so it’s impressive and eye catching.

Step 3 is to jump online and begin looking at the job market in NZ. Which companies are you interested in working for? Are they hiring? Can you conduct interviews via Skype and phone? Contact HR and let them know you are extremely interested and would love to be put on a short list for when and if any openings come up.

Now, let’s say you have 3 months of savings and the both of you are in the midst of conducting long distance interviews and things on the job front are looking promising–well then it’s time to begin looking at homes or apartments to rent. You would most likely have a more realistic time frame for the move and can enjoy the hunt for your new home.

You absolutely have permission to follow your hearts and don’t need to stay anywhere that is not lighting your fire and inspiring big, bold generous and kind thinking. That being said…you want to plan for the move in a smart, conscientious way because that is ultimate kindness.


What advice would you give to “NZ Lover”?

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Dr. Danielle Dowling is a life coach and psychologist. Her goal is to motivate women to live inspiring lives and to help them achieve their dreams, whatever they may be! Connect with Danielle on Twitter and Pinterest. Ready to step up your game? Hire her. You won’t regret it.

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By Dana Fox

Founder of the Wonder Forest blog and brand and bestselling author of the Watercolor With Me book series.