As humans, we know the feeling of fear. From when we’re growing up as children to becoming our adult selves, fear shows itself all of the time in tons of different ways. But how do you combat it when it could be the only thing keeping you from living your best life imaginable?
Since I just made my first international move last year, I’m in the perfect position to explore this topic!
One of the toughest parts of being in recruitment is persuading potential job seekers to consider a move offshore and outside their comfort zones. Virtually 90% of initial calls to candidates asking if they would be interested in roles offshore finish with a “Yes indeed” or “Absolutely, we would move tomorrow,” only to be followed up in an email later with “It’s just not the right time” or “the other half doesn’t want to” or “we have these certain traditions, we could never give those up.” This is a constant hurdle that recruiters and international firms have to face when speaking with candidates overseas because so many are plagued with what I’m coining as ‘the fear.’
Why are people afraid?
Is it the unknown? The new start? Having to make new friends? Or is there just too much to do to make it all happen? The truth is, all of the above can trigger fear in someone, and that is because the anxiety felt when considering a move is change and the perceived uncertainty that comes with it.
Many of us like our routines and change can make one feel uneasy. When you think of life in the Caribbean, you probably think of images taken from the movies of sunsets on a yacht, playing beach volleyball with a bunch of good friends, and having a BBQ on the beach. Yet most people then naturally jump to thoughts like “But what about my grandparents” or “Actually, I think I’m on the right path… I’ve been at this company for X years, and if I keep going, I’ll be up for a promotion soon.”
I’m guilty of looking at both sides too (don’t we all?). When I was looking to make my first big move to Cayman a year ago, I wanted to make sure the lifestyle I was moving to was as good/better than what I was leaving behind. I try to put myself in my candidates’ shoes when speaking with them and help to clarify these points, as I’m sure these are just a few of the things going through their head (I know they were in mine!):
The Reality of Moving Offshore: Is ‘the Fear’ Warranted?
Is moving to Cayman difficult?
I’ll be honest here. The first time you set up a bank account or visit the local DVDL to get your drivers’ license might be frustrating and will humble you. You’ll probably be thinking something like “I’m a grown adult, why do I have to do this all over?” Looking back, however, these essential but small things along with buying a car (that may or may not be older than you), obtaining your work permit and finding a new flat in the first few months of living in Cayman are just pieces of the puzzle, and it’s so worth it! Having a sundowner cocktail to celebrate these small wins are priceless.
Is it financially going to benefit me?
With Cayman being a tax-free jurisdiction, you are in a great position to make more money, be able to put back savings, and gain the offshore experience that is going to ensure you’re ideally placed should you ever decide to move back onshore.
How is the work-life balance?
While everyone’s expectations are different, I can safely say that Cayman will likely suit your needs. In my experience of working with overseas candidates, I hear horror stories of working massive amounts of overtime, spending hours a day on daily commutes, and usually despising the work that’s actually being done (and maybe the boss, too!). Here in Cayman, you can expect abbreviated commutes to the office each day, more normalcy when it comes to working hours, and generous vacation time (not to mention, the 12 annual public holidays).
Is the cost of living as high as everyone says?
Moving from the states, I did notice slightly higher prices at the grocery store, gas stations, and in the restaurants and bars, but wouldn’t say it was outrageous. When you factor in your tax-free salary and don’t go out for lobster four nights a week, you’ll adjust just fine!
Is making friends/fitting in tough?
You will surprisingly create a friend group quicker than you think, as there is a large expat community in Cayman and the locals pride themselves on being CaymanKind. Whether you’re into sports, volunteering, brunch, beaching, or sensational sunset views at as many networking events as your heart could desire, you’ll undoubtedly be in your element before you know it.
If you still can’t break the routine of your daily life and are unaware of the fact you might enjoy even just a three-year move to a tropical island, then I’m afraid you might have “the fear.” There are ways to tackle this, though, such as researching as much as you can, joining expat groups on social media, and merely asking your recruiter all the questions!
Looking back on the past year, there’s been ups and downs, but ultimately, making a move offshore has taught me loads, personally and professionally. Now, off to do some stand-up-paddle boarding! Cheers!