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The Transient Life of an Expat

Three Unique Qualities of a Life Abroad

Sumanley Xulx-Pixabay

As an #expat, life can, in many ways, be a transient lifestyle. Being transient could mean moving every few months or every few years. You determine your frequency, be it for your career, adventure or otherwise.

In some cases, being transient comes with the nature of your job/career such as diplomatic postings or disaster relief management. Other times, it is by design by the expat who is seeking new options to live and work outside in multiple locations over a timespan. In either case, the choice of pursuing employment outside your country of origin or the place you consider your permanent home puts you in transient mode.

In a July 2018 press release, Finaccord shared data from its market research study on expat. Finaccord defines expatriates as:

“individuals who establish their residence in the territory of another country for a temporary period that is, or is expected to be, of at least 12 months and a maximum of five years, having previously been resident in another country.” (Finaccord, 2018)

Finaccord reported that there were approximately 66.2 million worldwide in 2017, a significant increase from around 52.8 million expatriates in 2013. Based on the compounded 5.8% rate of increase, Finaccord predicts that there will be around 87.5 million by 2021. Despite various on-going political, economic, and environmental changes, an expat or transient life is experiencing steady growth.

Even with such data, anyone who chooses to be on the move, from country to country, still encounters some unspoken perception about their chosen lifestyle. Thus, being a global wanderer comes with the following assumptions.

1. No Consistency to your Resume

Clipboard with paper, a pen and laptop on a white surface
Markus Winkler/Unsplash

Your resume can reflect many short-term positions and appear to an employer that you lack commitment. Being transient can mean you are at a position long enough to gain funds to move or you have the right skills or expertise thus, you’re pulled and transferred to another location. You have also opted for being location independent, doing jobs that don’t match your qualification e.g.creating a start-up or bartending which do not align well with past experiences on your resume. By choosing to be a nomad, whether it is for blocks of months or years, you can limit your career opportunities. However, be intentional about the skills and expertise to develop along the way to keep your option as open as possible. Nevertheless, you will have gained and can demonstrate your ability to develop micro-careers along your journey.

2. No Permanent Home