I’ve actually moved from home in Australia to hot and humid Singapore as one of the many expats here. Its been a lingering thing of me and my partner. We have wanted to move overseas for work for a while for the travel opportunities, and also just to see what it is like to work outside of our home country.
Where to go?
In early 2016 we had to make a call on where we could next call home. For years we had brainstormed ideas like Chicago, Brooklyn, San Francisco, maybe even London, Toronto or Vancouver. Basically we were adamant on going to the USA for the expat life. The culture, the food, the music, and the opportunity to explore all of the different states.
I called a friend who I worked with in Australia that had moved to the US for work. I wanted to get a feel for what he felt life was like over there. The call was reassuring to an extent. Food was good, lots to do on the weekends, people were nice.
The downside? Its cold, and the work itself was a bit of a drain as you would need to travel alot. One week is spent working at home, the next would be on a remote site. Working at home doesn’t sound like a bad idea in your home city at first. However while overseas you want the opportunity to connect with anyone around you, including work colleagues. Working at home can seem lonely.
That wasn’t it though. The feedback from my partner was not fantastic. She’s a qualified accountant, but in going to the USA it would mean having to relearn the American accounting standards. Possibly even do conversion courses in order to be qualified there. This really didn’t seem appealing to us at this stage of our lives.
USA seemed like an unrealistic goal for 2016, so we decided to look for an alternative.
Singapore is the answer
One place we had never thought of was Asia, particularly Singapore. I had been to Singapore for a holiday back in 2010. I had also gone over for a work conference in 2015. It wasn’t a particularly exciting city as it is quite small. What it did have were plenty of jobs in both of our fields, an abundance of accommodation, cheap transportation and food, and most importantly, a fantastic travel hub for travelling. Seemed like a good place for an expat.
So in July 2016 we thought, why not, lets start applying for work. We had spoke for years about moving, but we had never set in stone any actions. We both felt unhappy with our current jobs felt strongly about the need for change. On a personal level we were both in a state of limbo. Everything sort of stopped for us when we decided to move. We stopped buying stuff as we knew we weren’t going to be able to use them for long. We didn’t plan any future holidays because we didn’t know where we would be the next year.
The job hunt
The feeling was a bit exhilarating applying for work. It was an exciting time as we applied for work, whilst waiting anxiously for the phone call back.
We both had very little success in convincing organizations to hire us. The calls were not coming in, neither were any successful emails. Only generic rejection emails which we were expecting anyway. Feeling a little demotivated we started to connect to recruiters on LinkedIn to sell ourselves. Emailing of CVs with very nice emails seemed to get us a little bit more progress. Phone calls started to come in from recruiters asking why Singapore, and what we wanted to do there. Though the effort was nice, it didn’t seem to get us any further into the Country.
What we had learnt was that Singapore was clamping down on the flow of foreign workers. This was in response to complaints about the lack of employment opportunities for the local home grown talent. Several measures were implemented by the government to stem the flow, despite being known as an expat friendly destination.
After three rounds of video conference interviews, I managed to land a role! I don’t want to get into specifics but, decent salary, a bonus payment, and a few weeks of accommodation. I would start work in four weeks!