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How to Survive Working Away from Your Family

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Making the decision to work away from your family will always change your life, for better or for worse.

If you’ve made the decision to relocate for work without bringing your family with you, it could be for many reasons. Perhaps your children are at a critical point in their education, and you don’t want to disrupt them during this important time. Perhaps your partner has ageing parents they need to care for.

The truth is, sometimes your relocation awards your family better opportunities. The money you send them can provide them a better life than they would have without it.

However, you always need to consider the human cost. Almost all marriages struggle when one partner is away for long periods; some don’t survive.

The partner left at home can suffer by suddenly becoming the only hands-on parent for the children. Lots of people find the housework of a family home almost unmanageable when left only to them. They will often struggle from having little time left to themselves; and when you are truly in love, they will miss you terribly.

Before you commit to working away, you and your partner need to make sure you’re stable enough to try it- and consider all the consequences. Once you’ve made the decision for certain, there are ways you can make it work, but it will require commitment and planning.

Here are our tips on how to cope when working away from your family:

  1. Make Sure Your Partner Has Support

If you pack your bags and leave without providing proper support for your partner, your relationship is really going to struggle.

Before you go, make sure your partner has the full support of the people around them. Tell their family and your family they will need extra help with the kids during this time. Don’t be shy to ask close friends to check in regularly and offer support.

If, for whatever reason, your partner is isolated in the community in which they live, and you’re making enough money in your new job to do so, consider getting some help in the house. Even hiring a cleaner to come one morning a week can really make a difference in how your partner copes with the housework.

  1. Make A Schedule to Talk

Don’t leave it to chance. If you’re casual about when you call home, life gets in the way and you could miss it. The time you spend talking to your family can make all the difference with your job satisfaction, and the satisfaction of those at home.

If a time difference gets in the way, talk to your boss about allowing a scheduled skype call during work hours. Seeing the face of your kids and your partner regularly can remind you why you are working away.

  1. Send Gifts Back

Now more than ever before, don’t miss birthdays. You want to remind your family of your love and care, even when you’re not around.

Send your partner sweets and flowers as a surprise, to let them know they’re in your thoughts. Post the children a toy when you get your pay check.

If you’re working in America and your family is in Mexico, send money to Mexico with a money transfer app like Pangea Money Transfer. A little boost in your partners pocket can put some sparkle in their smile. Giving will make them feel good, and you.

  1. Make the Most Out of the Experience

It is best for both you and your partner to try and make the most of the time apart in whatever way you can. Enjoy socializing with your colleagues, and encourage your partner to spend time with their friends.

Develop new hobbies that keep you pleasantly distracted, and encourage your partner to do the same. Try and share each other’s interests as much as possible, so you grow together, while apart.

  1. See Your Family as Much as Possible

If you’re earning enough you can fly back every weekend, fly back every weekend. If it can only be once a month, make it once month. If you can only do big trips every six months, do that.

Whatever is as much as possible for you, you need to do. Nothing makes up for time spent face to face. Use that time to really talk with your children and partner, and get to know their fresh hopes, interests and dreams. Make sure you play and have fun, and relax like a normal family.

  1. Don’t be Ashamed if Your Need to Go Home

If working away feels like it isn’t working, don’t be ashamed to pack up and go home. Even if you are abandoning a good salary, there are more important things in life than money, and your loved ones are one of them. The time you get with your partner and children is special, and something you will not get back. If it feels right to book a one-way flight away from your job, do it and don’t look back.

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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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