Corporate Leaders, It’s Time to Return Home. A Few Tip on How to Get Started. – Silicon Caribe

Returning back home after having significant experiences abroad can leave you with a lot of unknowns. If your experience away was a positive one of education, growth, and connection then you might be wondering if you’ll lose a potentially bigger future than what awaits you back home. If you had a difficult time abroad then you may be making mental lists about how life is going to be much better upon your return. It’s more than likely that you’ve had a mixed bag of both positive and not-so-positive thoughts about returning home, and because you’ve held leadership roles, you’re experienced enough to understand that knowing is better than not-knowing. 

Questions will come up like “ Will it be simple to return home in a leadership role?” or “Will I receive the same overall respect as I did from peers and coworkers abroad?”. The one thing that might be a surprise to even the most confident returnee, is that no matter what, returning comes with a whole host of unknowns. 

What’s true is that leaders must strive to find ways to bring their newly found knowledge and experience back home – to use that knowledge to support themselves and start new lives once again. 

One thing that both leaders and most expatriates have in common is their ability to be determined in the face of challenge. They have a vision for their life and a vision for improving industries, culture, and systems. They are culturally aware of what innovations will lift the future for themselves and the country they come from. 

This determination and vision  is necessary for the journey back home. Expatriate leaders should apply the same system they likely applied when leaving to the journey of returning home, in order to secure a better transition that allows them to pick up in a better position than when they left and to avoid unnecessary disappointments. 

Have a Plan

Prepare for your return. Many people apply the thought process that since they once lived in their country and have family there, they know what to expect. They may think that’s the easy part and unfortunately are surprised when it’s not. In fact, after spending many years away, one can think of their past home life in an idealistic way. To even romanticize the past therefore minimizing all the troubling reasons the decision was made to leave in the first place. 

Before you leave is the time to “plug in” to your former culture, opportunities, advancements, new workplace, family and extended family, neighborhood, etc. Start making calls, video conferences, and reading news resources to ask those you know what it’s like in the country now? Ask them questions to understand the reality of the situation. Make plans to visit for extended periods of time prior to a move in order to get acquainted (or reacquainted) with people and areas you plan to live. Then formulate a plan for where you’ll live, work, and enjoy your days so that you can avoid any potential issues for your family upon your return. 

The result will be that you’ll not be so bogged down with surprises and disappointments. In fact, you could plan a future as to how you will contribute to where there are still issues. Like starting a professional support group where people in your home country can connect to people you know in the country that may be more developed in that area / industry. 

Culture Shifts

The longer the time away, the more change one may expect from their home culture. Studies have shown that people who move from their home countries to seek other opportunities are largely friendly people, ready to speak up and demand their rights. But, upon returning with more leadership experience and knowledge, one might find their voice to be louder than others and that can be alienating. So it’s best to watch and listen when returning. Take in the changes you see so you can plan to acclimate to them or have a more informed plan to help to facilitate improvement. 

Recognize that however large or small – change happens. Both you and those around you may have changed. And the country’s culture too. This can be somewhat difficult to detect by phone calls to those living back at home. In fact, it’s likely that old friends have changed just as you have. Those you think would be close to you moving back home may lead very different lives now. This is simple to deal with, however – keep expectations that no matter what, you will look for the good in the changes that are inevitable. Change isn’t as negative as many often think.

Consider, how to build a little bit of a new culture around you when returning home. If the present culture is not aligned with your passions and ideas, perhaps research different areas of your home country that are more amenable to your way of thinking. Perhaps living closer to a populated city rather than closer to relatives is more in line with supporting you as you move forward. 

Build a Support Team

Most leaders wouldn’t dream of returning home unless they have secured a new job in their home countries. If you’ve done that, congratulations! If your company doesn’t have a repatriation process already in place, ask your H.R. support staff if they have resources available to you for repatriation. This could include setting up an initial period of time within a “buddy” system to help you and/or your family with getting acclimated with housing, utilities, transportation, etc. Find out through human resource contacts if there are others hired who are newly returned home and how to connect with them. 

Who knows, perhaps one day you’ll be a resource for others who are seeking to return home as well. Always pay it forward by helping others behind you on the journey.

If you are thinking about returning to your home country, hear from others who have already made the leap and thrived at Pocmi’s Global Job Fair week. Sign up at 

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