Category Archives: career transition

Repatriation: 8 causes of “re-entry shock”

Repatriation can be more stresful than the outward trip
Repatriation can be more stressful than the outward trip

I am a long term expat with two international moves under my belt. Three if you count the move from England to Wales. Both my children are “Third Culture Kids”  (TCK) having been born outside their passport country.  So I know first hand that a successful international experience can be an enriching one, personally and professionally, for both the expat and his/her family.

Increasingly there is a great deal of corporate support during the outward process to guarantee a seamless transition into an expat assignment.   But I know from any number of stories heard socially and professionally, that repatriation is quite often not supported as seriously as the outbound transfer and even neglected totally by many companies. This is both financially and also in terms of transition supervision.


In theory, the expat is going back to a situation with which he/she is familiar and it is often incorrectly assumed that this process will be problem free.  But re-entry to a country of origin can actually be more stressful than the outward transition, with the stressors intensifying according to the length of the international assignment.  Long term expats with multiple moves under their belt, with portable careers and skill sets, report additional difficulties.

8 causes of re-entry shock

Expats talk of “re-entry shock” and feelings of reverse homesickness are very common. Re-assimilation can take anything from six months to five years depending on the length of the overseas assignment and the degree of local integration experienced  in their expat lives.

The are 8 expectations to manage:

  1.  The home environment will be the same – the expat has usually lived a life changing experience. There is a tendency to assume that practices in the workplace of origin will be unchanged and professional relationships can be picked up where they left off. This is almost always not the case. These too will have evolved, particularly any nuances in the balance of power and influence which may have developed and changed during the period away from base. It is very common for the expat to feel excluded or passed by, especially if the re-entry is to a central headquarters. Many expats make a decision to return to HQ for career development reasons because they perceive being away from headquarters reduces their visibility quite literally. When they get back they are considered to be out of touch.
  2. New skills will be appreciated and maximised: Feelings of frustration are commonplace if accompanied by few or no opportunities to maximize any new skills or experience. If the expat experience does not seem to be valued, disappointment will be intensified. Unmet expectations can even lead to depression and the employee leaving the company.
  3.  Family and friends will be interested – the expat has usually had an exciting time, using professional opportunities to enhance their personal experiences via travel and other activities. Returning expats report that old friends show very little interest in their overseas lives to the point where they cease to talk about it. In some instances it is perceived as bragging.
  4. The returnee will feel at home  – many cultural changes will have taken place in the culture of origin during the international assignment which the expat will not have been part. The expat can feel like a “foreigner” in his or her own country and customs and practices that were once completely normal to them now seem alien. The expat location was their home.
  5.  Career Transition Coaching is not needed – to support this stage of career development is invaluable to engage all stakeholders to achieve successful re-integration and to maximize the return on what has been a significant corporate investment. The reality is that repatriation process should be positioned as part of an ongoing longer term career strategy to maintain motivation.
  6.  Family and Partners will be fine  – this is part of the thinking process that needs to be re-examined by many companies as the professional and personal continuum is blurred during the return to the country of origin. The expat not only has to manage his/her professional re-entry, but will be impacted by negative experiences to which the family is exposed. So if the trailing spouse and any children are struggling, especially those born outside their passport countries (TCK),  then the expat will be under even greater pressure professionally.
  7. Loss of expat perks – depending on the seniority of the assignment expats miss very often the financial perks of an international mission which could include company car, petrol allowance, school fees, flights home etc. On the return these benefits tend to cease.  In some regions (APAC, Eastern Europe) domestic support is provided and/or is very affordable.
  8. Expats will not miss their friends and overseas lives – international communities tend to be very open and welcoming, as well as offering a variety of cultural experiences, shopping, travel and  food items and so on.  Adjustments will need to be made  contributing to the feeling of homesickness.

So, for many the challenges of  “coming home”  can be just as significant  as  the transition of “going overseas.”

If you can’t measure it – don’t mention it

Why "if you can't measure it -don't mention it makes perfect sense".

Why “if you can’t measure it, don’t mention it” makes perfect sense.

The Peter Drucker  phrase “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” has been around in management training manuals for decades.  With some dissenting views, it is widely accepted if not as a business truism,  certainly as  a useful guideline and management tool.

In career management what is also gaining credibility is the line “If you can’t measure it – don’t mention it.”

I’m a big subscriber to that philosophy.


We are seeing a convergence between the marketing techniques usually associated with entrepreneurs and businesses with individual self promotion (in biz patois Personal Branding)  with the the same measurable values starting to become applicable. Many balk  at this shift,  feeling that people are becoming commoditized.  But are they really? All this really involves is simply a move from a task and chronology mindset, to a result, achievement and skills focus.

Just as we don’t care about the detail of the business process for any organisation,  we are also starting to expect the same approach on individual resumes and profiles.  We don’t care how smart phones are made. We just want to know what they can do for us. When we  buy jars and tubes of emulsified chemicals from L’Oreal, we buy products that are hopefully going to  magically transform us – even if it’s only in our imagination. We are buying the added value. Why? Because we are worth it.

The management accountant who produces monthly reports and forecasts using Bex Analyser and Excel would be better placed telling us what he used that information for,  rather than describing the  detail of the routine task.  If this can be followed with a metric and results so much the better.

If you are “young and dynamic”  I need to know what difference that will make to an organisation. If it means you have just graduated  at the top of your class with the most up to date mathematical models to support faster analysis of business processes, at your finger tips. Tell me that.

These are just two conversations I had this week alone.

Forget cute, metrics matter!

Very often people are so focused on being cute, zany or idiosyncratic that their message becomes simply verbiage and we have no idea at all what they mean.  I am highly literate so always recognise the individual words,   but sometimes I have no clue what the person actually does in a joined up sentence. “Effective change agent,  crisis manager,  business turn around leader.”  A crisis could be a merger, takeover or a blocked loo.  What sorts of businesses, crises and changes? What were the outcomes? Can this person do that for us, is the over-riding question of any employer.  If it’s not clear and the question has to be asked,  the risk of losing the reader (me) has already increased. I have the attention span of a gnat. And I am slow!

Just as when we buy a lap- top we will want to have some information on the basic features (weight, operating system, colours, memory, hard drive etc)  the main questions will be centred around what value that lap- top can add,  how we can benefit from it and how we can best use it for our own purposes.

Job search processes are no different. If a computer had a “buy this computer”   sign on it, wouldn’t you ask “Why? What will it do for me? ”

Candidates are no different.

Take the poll! Professional relationships that turn sour

Be glad you have some career scar tissue! It's called experience.

Be glad you have some career scar tissue! It’s called experience.

Can you really be friends with your boss and colleagues? 

Why we need career scar tissue.

When you get to a certain age we have all had any number of knocks, disappointments, bad experiences and betrayals. Sometimes the wounds are deep and take a while to heal leaving a build up of cumulative scar tissue.

Many try to cover it up, ignore it completely or have the psychological equivalent of laser surgery. But lumped together this becomes the well of experience we can tap into and learn from.  Getting these knocks early in your career can actually be a bonus. So to use that old bumper sticker phrase   “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Nowhere is this more sensitive, valuable  and variable than in the area of personal relationships in the workplace. Is it better to get burnt in your early career and learn some lasting lessons in the best school of all?  Life.

Charmed life

I had lived a pretty charmed existence, with  almost no scar tissue from my early career. My deepest wounds were to come later,  for which I was completely unprepared.   At that point I was betrayed and duped by people close to me,  or  whom I had known both professionally and personally.  I thought I knew them,  so I was completely thrown for six  when I found myself let down and even conned.   You see,  I had built up no scar tissue.

Three years ago an encounter with a rogue recruiter  left me wiser and poorer.  He disappeared owing me a sum of money large enough to matter,  but not significant enough to make it economic to pursue him through the courts.  This was his modus operandi.  I  found I had been an easy  target.   My lesson was to be much tighter with my paperwork and my research and more contained about personal interaction. After a period of extensive cynicism where I viewed everyone with deep distrust, I am finding a balance but do remember to touch my scar tissue when in doubt .

Jeff is  27 and a Junior Consultant with a major international organisation. He was in two interview processes recently,  one with another similar organisation where the job content was less interesting,  but offered an excellent compensation package. The second was with an organisation where an old family friend would be his boss.  He had  been made a verbal offer for what seemed like his dream job. He had instantly established a rapport with the hiring manager,  a familiar face from his High School days. They  had played squash a few times and a start date had been agreed.  Jeff turned down Job Offer 1,  but then  sadly, Job Offer 2 failed to materialise.  An internal candidate was appointed.

Although Jeff hadn’t resigned from his present role (he nearly did) so he does still have a job, but a  more junior colleague was promoted over him.  This in real terms is demotion by another name. He had discussed his job offer conundrum with his current boss and colleague with whom he is very good friends at their regular TGIF pub outings

The moral of these vignettes:

  • Just because someone acts like your friend  it doesn’t mean to say they are.  I found that out to my cost. Your boss in particular will put organisational needs first. Your co-workers can be your competitors.
  • The blurring of professional and personal relationships can cause difficulties.  I was a victim of white-collar fraud which is more serious and intentional. But caution when confiding personal information in the workplace even with peers,  is always advisable.
  • In any process you need to find the steps involved and who  the decision makers are.  A line manager may want you on the team but may not know of other factors playing out in the background: budgets, internal HR policy etc. Try and get as much in writing as you can. People  make commitments in good faith and are over ruled. Others go beyond their authority level to impress.
  • A verbal offer is not binding.  Sort out contractual arrangements  before  rejecting other offers and especially discussing the situation with your employers.

Jeff is upset,  angry and frustrated. Is he wiser? I hope so!

Upside? He now has some career scar tissue!

10 tips for Career Changers

Career Changers

Career Changers-  Is your blanket in the drier?

Career Changers are often nervous and apologetic for being uncertain about not knowing exactly they want to do.

What they usually do know and are very certain about is what they don’t want to do.

As Marilyn Ferguson says ” . . It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.”


Being in transition is fine, if it’s part of a strategic plan to research and review options. If there is no plan then that’s drifting and dreaming.  The possibility of ending up on a career path which is not right, is high. Many career changers expect a “eureka” moment of enlightenment, but mostly the right opportunities come about as a result of a high level of painstaking  methodical research and detailed planning towards a specific goal, or even goals. And then making a considered choice. This becomes more confusing when we are all exhorted to reach  for our passions. What if our passions don’t pay the bills?

Here are  10 things to consider

  • Create a strategy:   Recognising that you want to change is easy. Creating a structure to support that change is more challenging, particularly if there are time pressure issues of being in full-time employment. Set up step by step plan, allocating time to cover even small parts of the process.
  • Hating your current job:  Many career changers claim to hate their current jobs,  but care has to be taken to examine what that involves – exactly. Is it the company,  the team, the boss or the location that are irksome? Is it boring and if so why? Also examine not just the downsides,  but the positive aspects as well.
  • Research:   this is time-consuming but critical and it is vital to be thorough.  Talk to your network,  research online or set up informational interviews about new functions, sectors or companies. Make a generous time allocation for this exercise.
  •  SWOT analysis:  Identifying strengths and weakness and having a profound understanding of  transferable skills is essential to this process. This requires a high level of introspection and one which many struggle with. Get professional support if that would help.
  • Acquiring skills :  a direct outcome  of this exercise establishes if there is a skill set deficit. Identify what you are missing and establish if the gap can be filled with volunteering, temping, an internship, or even taking a training course before making a decision to resign.
  • Strategic positioning:   when was the last time you looked for a job?   The last 5 years have seen dramatic changes in the job search and recruitment sector. How up to date are you? Bring yourself up to speed.
  •  Feeling underpaid, under-valued and overworked. Many career changers feel the grass is greener elsewhere and are attracted by high salaries and super benefits.  Envy of friends or peers can also be a strong motivator.  The saying ” no such thing as a free lunch” very often  applies. There is a reason why the office has a taxi policy after 2100,  or showers and a gym on the premises.  It’s because they are used, usually frequently. Sometimes our friends don’t paint an accurate picture of their own situations.
  •  To please others:  partners, family  and friends can be hugely influential in determining career choice.  Consider their motives before deciding.  Do they want what’s best for you – or themselves?
  • Create a new network:   as well as tapping into your existing network reach out and make connections in your target sector, company or function. Alumni networks, professional groups, online platforms are all good sources to extend your network.
  • Find a mentor:  having someone who will support and offer neutral input can be hugely useful to career changers.
Transition is good - but you need a plan!

Transition is good – but you need a plan!

Why couples need congruent not dual career strategies

Create a congruent career strategy

Create a congruent career strategy

The traditional notion of a successful dual career couple  seems to me to be outdated.

I’ve just led a workshop at the #JUMP13 Forum in Brussels on “How to be a successful dual career couple“.  The first thing that struck me was  how confusing this very concept is:

What is successful?  One couple’s perception of success and a dream life  is another’s nightmare. We all have our own ideas of what it means to be successful.  Research carried out by LinkedIn  “What women want at work ” study”  suggests that for women the meaning of success has shifted from achieving a high salary to establishing a balance between  their professional and personal lives

The notion of career:  what does that mean  in today’s world when meteoric  linear careers are a thing of the past and portfolio careers are  more typical.

What does dual mean really?  (Definition  – Consisting of two parts, elements, or aspects)  This can cover a number of set ups:

  • two individuals within a relationship pursuing their own goals.  This is characterised  usually by the woman being caught below the glass ceiling while her partner strides purposefully to the top.
  • both members of the partnership supporting one career:  The Obamas would be a good example of this,  trailing spouses  or stay at home parents who  then have to deal with a parenting gap.
  • One career/one job:  typical of this would be the man pursuing a traditional hierarchical career and the woman compromising to accommodate family needs. This could include accepting a job below her skill set and ability,  or switching to working part-time – both common options for women.

So how can we manage the complexity of modern life coping with conflicting demands on our careers,  relationships and  of course ourselves?

Congruent Careers

I believe we will be seeing more of what I call congruent career strategies  (meaning when careers are in harmony or alignment) , where both careers are considered  jointly and equally. Not just that there are two  separate elements. Focus might indeed switch between the two parts at different points.  The main difference is that this would always be in line with consciously stated and discussed goals and a jointly agreed  harmonious vision,  rather than a reliance on unconscious beliefs and objectives, which is what most of us tend to drift into.

This would allow the pool of educated women to reach their potential and  for there to be shared responsibility for both revenue generation and  family,  split equally between both partners. Men would be relieved of the stress of being the main breadwinners and allow them to be present rather than absent fathers and partners, leading richer and fuller lives. The possibility to pursue two careers within a couple is no longer a luxury for many,  but economic necessity.

We all know that our professional and personal lives are very intertwined and problems on one side invariably spill over into the other. Yet they are continued to be viewed separately with unsettling consequences posing difficulties for couples trying to create successful career strategies.

Let’s look at recent  trends

Recent complex, over lapping and discordant  trends tell us that developed economies face aging populations and declining birth rates,  presenting a worrying future for today’s governments.    We  actually need couples to have children to support future economies.  But there are some significant disconnects which indicate that trouble is on the horizon.

60% of European graduates are women and we make up 50% of the workforce,  yet occupy very low levels of senior positions in most developed economies. We carry out 80% of household chores and take 80% of parental leave.  We earn 20% on average less than our male counterparts.    We are creating a demographic that is unfulfilled, dissatisfied,  but above all under utilised.

Choosing the right partner

Sheryl Sandberg suggests that choosing the right partner is the most important career choice that women make. Yet with between  33-50% of marriages ending in divorce ,  many of us are clearly not getting it right.   Our choice of a partner is made at a time when we are least equipped to make sensible decisions:   madly in love and deeply in lust.  Very often the failure to create jointly agreed common goals and to rely on unstated unconscious beliefs  means many couples end up in relationships with people they eventually barely recognise,  let  alone would choose a second time round.   Susan found out that she and her husband had intrinsically divergent parenting values when their son was 14.  This was after more than 10 years of frustration and tension resulting in their eventual divorce.


Faced with the challenge of coping with family and professional life causes many women to opt to work at  levels lower than their capabilities,  or to switch to part-time hours  as part of a dual career strategy  (one career/one job model).   This reduces their pensionable earnings,  leaving them financially vulnerable in  later life, another general negative trend lurking on the horizon. Yet an additional reason why a  congruent career strategy would be advantageous to the dual career models.  And of course all this begs the question that the divorce rate might be stemmed with a more conscious and joint approach to career planning in place.  In Belgium 33% of families are now run by single parents,  an increase of 26% since 1991.


In the workshop of about 50 women,  it was clear that the burning issues were not just in the workplace.  The conversation focused on how to cope with the practical issues of:

  • corporate cultures and education systems that strongly favour the one career/one job,  or one career/two person models making it difficult for both men and women to find balance
  • the constant battle to avoid doing or managing it all.
  •  finding the time to nurture both their relationships and themselves.
  •  selling the concept to their partners

Many used  professional  language for strategies to deal with issues in their non professional lives.  Low value work  ( a.k.a. ironing), time management,  prioritising,   parent mentoring , unproductive and lost time ( commuting) and outsourcing

The  use of online technology to make communication more effective was clearly helping:  splitting grocery lists on-line, date nights scheduled into Outlook   and a heartfelt plea for an app to manage family life,  not just those aimed at mothers!   Whoever does this will be a millionaire overnight.

Persuading men

Some alluded to the difficulty of persuading  their partners to engage in a more structured and participative approach to joint career management.   Gen Y are exhibiting a desire for a greater balance between professional and personal life than they experienced with their Boomer parents. All research suggests that married men living with their wives and more involved with their families lead richer lives.  They live longer, are healthier,  happier and  enjoy better sex lives. It should be a no-brainer easy sell!

If the notion of dual career success is changing for both men and women, what we need to see now are the same changes reflected in our work places and government policies.

If you feel your career strategy is out of alignment with your partner’s, check out my programme:  Creating a Congruent Career Strategy. This programme is offered to couples on a face to face basis  (based in Brussels)  or for busy couples  via online webinar coaching with different locations possible!


Left holding the baby: Maternity leave without a strategy

Left holding the baby: Maternity leave without strategy

Left holding the baby: Maternity leave without a strategy

According to the Economist  (December 31, 1999) the oral contraceptive is  ” the greatest science and technology advance in the twentieth century“. This gave men and women hitherto unparalleled access in the developed world, to widely available and sophisticated birth control.

Pregnancy now is an event that is usually carefully planned.  Well mostly!  It seems that it’s after conception that the planning becomes a bit haphazard! When I coach clients around their maternity leave, it tends to be to deal with a problem on re-entry to the workplace. This can be in any time timeframe from months to years.  Very few women are like  Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer who bounced back within a couple of weeks! However,   I can count on one hand the number of times I  have coached a woman prior to maternity leave.

Small print
Women, depending where  they are located,  could  normally expect to return to a similar position,  at a similar level to the one they held  prior to their maternity leave.   The length of time can vary between countries.  Note well that the phrase does not stipulate ” the exact same job, in the exact same place, doing the exact same thing“.  This small phrase can cover a multitude of possibilities.

It is important that women have put their stake into the ground with regard to their return as early as possible. This is particularly important for senior women who are more difficult to replace on an ad interim basis than those in junior roles. In these cases if organisational shifts are made to accommodate the absence,  then additional  attention is advisable.

What strategies should a woman consider prior to her maternity leave?

  • Understand your company’s policy and  your statutory rights:   Many women become unstuck simply because they fail to inform themselves on maternity leave policies and the protocol for communication  in their organisations or even their legal position.  There can be wide differences from one organisation to another and between geographies.  It would generally be expected that you inform your immediate superior and/or the HR function,  normally in writing. Initially you will  only be able to give an estimate of the timeframe involved until your due date is confirmed.  .
  •  Be part of the cover strategy: If you are serious about your career you will indicate that you intend to return to work.  Make sure you are part of the process to find a replacement or arrange cover. You have the right to change your mind later about your return.  Some women do,  but this is a luxury that many cannot afford.  If you are running a team you should have succession plans in place. If you don’t, now is a good time to start making them.
  • Establish communication lines:  in some countries employers are not allowed to contact employees while on maternity leave. Nor do you want to be caught up in business minutiae while ” topping and tailing” your newborn.  If you are a senior employee, particularly in an operational role,  you will set guidelines with your direct reports regarding how you want to be contacted,  the timing and frequency of the contact and for which issues.
  • Preparing for the unexpected:  Sometimes events overtake everyone. Bosses are replaced, mergers and other organisational restructuring can happen in your absence.  Don’t allow yourself to be sidelined in any discussions if possible,  although this can be difficult if you are in the middle of giving birth and all you can anticipate is the next contraction.  Before you leave make sure you have all key emails and documents relating to your own performance, job description, address book and maternity leave agreements off site or on your own computer. I have a catalogue of nightmare scenarios reported by women whose statutory and contractual rights have been ignored or abused while away from their offices in times of change.
  • Maintaining visibility: At a senior level drifting off the radar is never  a good idea.  During your maternity leave consider scheduling ad hoc attendance at some key meeting, or perhaps a monthly briefing call with your replacement. You need to do more than drop by with the new arrival on your arm.
  • Establish childcare support in advance:  check out childcare options and decide which suits you best. Some crèches and day-care centres  actually have waiting lists. You may want to set up hiring processes for nannies.   Some women are also shocked at the cost of childcare and how it eats into net salary.  Think of this as a strategic long-term  investment in your career.   Also factor in the arrangements you make with your partner  about the distribution of childcare responsibilities. As Shirley Conran said  “You don’t need a pair of breasts to take a child to the dentist.”
  • Plan for contingencies:  Think ahead –  what will you do if your baby become sick or there are other issues? Have back-up plans. Note the plural.
  • Re-entry debriefing:  Prior to your return,  set up meetings with key stakeholders to establish the process you are going to follow for your strategic re-integration. This could involve  discussions on the future role of your replacement who will now go back to a more junior role,  announcements, hand-over procedures, kick-off meetings etc.

Clear communication and managing expectations can support a smooth transition and go a long way to avoiding those unexpected surprises.

What has been your experience?

Early retirement: Dreams can go sour

The flotation of a private international company on the stock exchange made Martin, a long serving board member a multi-millionaire. Within a relatively short period he had access to wealth that wouldn’t put him on any global rich lists, but provided that he didn’t do anything crazy, would guarantee  him the very comfortable life style that most people only dream about – for the rest of his life. He had no need to work again. Ever. He was 47 and jumped at early retirement.

Meet Jean who inherited his grandmother’s property portfolio, selling at the top of the market in 2007 to make a small fortune. He retired from his role as Engineering Director aged 49.

5 years later their dream situations are far from idyllic. Both feel lonely, isolated, possibly even mildly depressed.   Their relationships are under strain. The children are now either in university or working abroad. Friends are at work. Non executive directorships have not materialised. Perfection has morphed into problematic.

When considering early retirement at what is in reality a relatively young age to stop being professionally active,  it’s a good idea to take these factors into consideration:

  • Do you really want to stop work altogether or simply change career?  Sometimes the wish to retire early and not wanting to work at all, becomes confused with an inner signal of a need to do something different. Many people believe that switching direction in late 40s is not an option,  but that is no longer true even in the corporate world. It is always good to discuss the personal aspects of early retirement with a transition professional, not just  financial advisors.  There are many options including becoming an entrepreneur.
  •  Do you have a retirement strategy and goals?  To give up what has been the structure and fabric of your life requires a strategy,  particularly in the medium term. Make sure you have one.  What will you do when the thrill of having breakfast at 1000 at home and wearing pjs all day wears off?
  • Do you have hobbies and pastimes that will occupy your time and stimulate you intellectually? Senior execs who  have taken early retirement  mention frequently the lack of intellectual stimulation as well as the ” buzz” and social engagement they gained from the positive aspects of their senior professional roles. Do you have substitutes? Can you take personal development or other courses,  do voluntary work or acquire new skills?
  • What are your friends doing?  Many men particularly complain  of a buddy shortage. Generally their energy has hitherto been channelled into their careers and their friendship networks tend to be smaller than their female counterparts.  Although the retiree can now go sailing at the drop of a hat or play golf during the week, their friendship groups tend to be reduced and in any case their pals are not available.  Many are now deferring their retirement  dates, so the time when friends become available for week day outings is also likely to become deferred .
  • How is your network?   Networking is a life long activity and particularly for those seeking non executive directorships, a vital component of any early retirement strategy.  Steps should be taken to position yourself in the pre-retirement run-up. Unless you are strongly visible and high profile, these positions will not come to you.   You will have to go after them.  Think carefully before disconnecting from business associations and professional networks and cancelling subscriptions to journals and newsletters. Do you have an online presence? Even if retired I would recommend a professional online profile to maintain visibility.
  • How is your relationship? Many men taking early retirement very often do not factor in the role and input of their partners, leading to unforseen relationship difficulties. Professional women may expect their men to assume a greater domestic role, a foreign assignment for many executives, especially if there are children living at home. Non working partners may feel as though their space and routines have been invaded and resent the impact on their day time previously autonomous schedules.    Many transition experts will also bring partners into any pre-retirement coaching sessions and it’s always useful to prepare your relationship for this next phase of your life.

It’s indeed strange to think that what would be a fantasy for most of us in today’s economic climate, can actually have a downside. Early retirement even with  a sizeable bank balance is not without challenges. Like any major transition professional support and preparation is advisable, especially when the dream starts to go sour.