Relocated overseas by employer, now they won't send us home

(21 Posts)
BoobOperator Thu 22-Aug-13 01:24:39

I wrote out a huge post but decided it would identify us as we're in a (I think) fairly unique situation.

DH's employer relocated us overseas for a defined period. There was nothing in the contract about the cost of us relocating home at the end. We queried this at the time but were told they always handle overseas relocations in this way. A new contract detailing costs of relocation is drawn up when you are moving back into a role in your home office. They have offices all over the world and frequently relocate employees, although DH is the first in a long time be relocated as far as we have.

DH's contract expires soon he has been told informally it will just be renewed. It's not good value for money to send us home soon, it's been expensive to send us here and we've just been granted new visas (which we did offer to pay for ourselves). I really want to go home after the contract period is up. I am struggling without my family and as a trailing spouse. I knew this would happen, I told DH it would, I'm kicking myself for drifting along with it despite knowing it would probably end this way.

Has anyone else experienced this? I suppose we could get ourselves home if we sold all our belongings here (so no shipping costs) and DH resigned, but heading back to the UK with no belongings or jobs sounds like absolute madness doesn't it?

Sorry to hear its not working out for you. I must admit that I've never heard of any company paying for relocation following resignation. If your dh resigns he won't be bound by any contract so the company has no obligation to pay for relocation home.

I guess the only way out is your dh making it known that you would prefer to relocate back home and hope that something comes up. Given the time, effort and money relocating you in the first place, and the obvious fact that there is still more work to be done where you are now, the company would have to pay for someone to replace your dh. I'm sorry but it doesn't look likely......

Is there anything at all that can be done to help you settle more where you are? Can you tell us which country?

Barbie1 Thu 22-Aug-13 01:34:14

Hello,

Firstly how Long have you been in your current country? I only ask as another trailing spouse. This is our fourth relocation and for us it's the furthest we have ventured too.

It takes an awful long time to get used to living away, hence my first question.

Having asked dh about his contract he told me that for overseas relocation is is pretty much as your dh described.

If I really hated it here dh could talk to his employers and as long as there is suitable placement else where they would try to relocate us again. try in the very loose sense of the word. I think they would offer me some kind of assistance to help me settle more before anything drastic was done.

The project dh is currently on means to leave this island dh would need to be reassigned with work or jump ship so to speak.

I would advise against your dh 'jumping ship'. Can he at least look for another job back home first? That way as least if you do have to relocate yourselves you will have financial security at the other end.

Can't help anymore than that I'm afraid, although I can relate to the whole trailing spouse situation..in fact I even started a page on fb called the trailing spouse to moan and bitch about it all wink very therapeutic!

BoobOperator Thu 22-Aug-13 02:20:20

Thanks for the replies. Yes butterflies that's what I meant, if he resigned we would pay our own costs (i.e. just flights because we'd have nothing to ship) but that means coming home without a job which would be pretty dire.

Barbie nearly 2 years now, the contract was 2 years. How long did it take you to settle into each location? DH works long hours and we have 3 small DCs so I feel like I'm constantly grafting and quite lonely. We can't afford a car here which doesn't help with the isolation. Our youngest is nearly a year old and a terrible sleeper. He had awful colic for the first 5 months which went away and now seems to be back. In the last month I've had 3 nights where I've had about 6 hours sleep, the rest of the time I get 2 or 3 hours in broken stints and he's just crying the rest of the time. He won't nap in the day for more than 20 minutes. I really miss some support from my mum! sad More sleep and a job outside the home would help really. I think I will struggle work wise as I've not worked in this country though.

Barbie1 Thu 22-Aug-13 02:34:26

Boob, it sounds tough sad

It takes a while to feel settled. I was in the Middle East for four years. Wondered what the bloody hell we had done for the first 6 months and then it clicked. I loved it. Both children born there.

We moved to France, hated it. Cried every week even though it was closer to home it could of been Timbuktu for all I cared. Never settled.

We are now in Korea. Have been here for 2 months. It's a strange little island and I'm sure it's going to take longer to settle here than anywhere else. The difference is I expected it and know what is coming.

I still have my moments, I have lost my temper a few times and have cried hysterically demanding to go home (by that I mean the Middle East not back to the uk)

My husband is very good, he is reasonable but firmly reminds me whatever problems I have here will only follow me to the next place.

You have to make things easier for yourself. Get a cleaner if you can, a babysitter to enable you to have a few hours to yourself. Is there any mums local who could meet within walking distance?

Where are you if you don't mind me asking? Maybe there is a local fb page?

Barbie1 Thu 22-Aug-13 02:38:47

I'm not sure i made that clear, I'm originally from the uk but really don't want to return. The benefits of being an 'expat' works well for us.

The reality of returning to the uk doesn't appeal to either of us. Yes it would be nice to be closer to family but the sacrifices we have to make in order to do that would be huge, we would lose a huge amount of benefits, private health care, private schooling, lifestyle, dh would technically demote himself by going back.

In tough moments I look at my two children and tell myself we are here for them, they will reap the benefits in the future.

Wow, lack of sleep is a killer and with a dh working long hours, no transport and no other family support, I'd be booking flights back home too. Barbie has made good points about finding more help. Mums groups are normally a good place to start, whether expat or local. Are there any mumsnetters near you? You've been there a while so I don't think it's a settling problem, more just a mum at the end of her tether and needing support from home. Let us know where you are, I'm sure someone can come up with some ideas to help.

Barbie, at the risk of high jacking the thread, I remember when you were off to Korea. My bil and sil are in Ulsan and dh used to travel from singapore to busan every month. Glad to hear you are ok. We moved from singapore to Texas last month, move number 10 in 17 years. Not keen on the first 6 months anywhere tbh.....

Barbie1 Thu 22-Aug-13 03:03:27

Hi butterflies...

Hope your move went well.

I'm sat waiting for our final shipment to arrive. Unlike most expats here we bought all our belongings. It makes wherever we are feel more like home and the children get continuity.

For that reason we couldn't afford to jump ship, have you any idea how much a 40ft container cost shock sorry my very poor attempt at trying to make the op smile.

Op, today I need to visit a doctor. It's days like this that I wish I were back near the parents so I can drop the children off.

Instead I'm faced with the dilemma of child care. It makes day to day life so much tougher. Other thing becomes a high issue <sigh>

My best advice is really get a support network of some kind. Whether it be paid or not.

deXavia Thu 22-Aug-13 03:15:02

Adding to this for both Barbie and Boob
I was in Korea for 3 years and now 2 years on I am still 'home sick' I loved the place. Barbie not sure where you are but if I can help at all with any contacts etc just shout. In fairness the first 6 months were tough, but then it clicked in respect that I just accepted the madness and stopped trying to make it fit my ideas, I had to fit into Korea.
Boob if you want to be expat but not where you are now then either your DH has to push and push his company for a new posting or find another job elsewhere (who for a new hire may or may not pick up costs - depends on industry and company). But reading your post be careful not to jump ship for the wrong reasons. Sounds like you have a huge amount on your plate. Would it be that different elsewhere - esp given a DH in a new job? I guess what I'm saying is can you make changes where you are to improve things - childcare to give you a break (or sleep), move somewhere else within the country/city you are in so lack of a car is less of a problem... Not sure what would make the most difference but its worth a shot. A successful placement abroad will give your DH more leverage to get the next one (again if you want to stay abroad) so it's worth looking at what you can change instead of hoping the problems would disappear in a different country.

Barbie1 Thu 22-Aug-13 04:28:37

In in geoje.

I totally agree with having to fit Korea not korea having to fit me.

It's ok, not the worst place ever and to be honest it's very beautiful.

I am struggling due to dd 3.5 being out of nursery since may, and for the first 6 weeks we were without our belongings. She starts full time in 2 weeks. 8.30-2.30 5 days a weeks.

I'm frustrated at the education options. There is one school suitable and it has to be a full time placement. Personally i think it's too much. I would like her to spend a little more time with me.

There are zero options for my 19 month old ds. Then from two he is expected to go full time too' something which I'm not willing to do.

Shopping sucks too. So hard to go to one store and do a weekly shop. Our weekly shop consist of at least four different stores just to get basics. In 40 degree heat and close to 90% humidity it's bloody tough, especially with both children.

It will improve. I will see the positives. We will settle.

After all, what other options are there?

BoobOperator Thu 22-Aug-13 06:35:04

Thanks, you've all been really kind when what I probably deserved was a virtual kick up the backside! Settling in Korea puts things in perspective, we're in Australia!! I do actually like it as a place to live, it's just the feeling cut off that I'm struggling with. I went to a postnatal group after DS was born but I was having such a shocker with colic and the only mum not on her PFB. I always felt a bit inadequate when I went.

You've all hit the nail on the head, the things I'm unhappy about will follow me home, I need to keep reminding myself of that and have a chat with DH about how to make my life a bit easier. Moving area would help. It's very reassuring to know our contract set up is not unique, I thought we'd been really stupid in not nailing that down.

barbie that's hard. When DS was born we had a long stretch of temperatures around 40-45 degrees and it made everything that little bit harder. I hope you can find some education options that aren't full time. We had the opposite problem, DS1 waited almost a year to be offered 2 days. He'll be 5.5 by the time he starts school next year. I hope you got on ok at the doctors, I end up taking all the DCs and offer various threats bribes but they still treat it like a visit to softplay.

mykingdomforasleep Thu 22-Aug-13 06:44:42

Hmm being a SAHM in Australia without a car would be very tough. Is there no way you can buy a second hand one? Does DH have a car? If so can you drop him to a station etc so he can get public transport to work?

Whereabouts are you?

diamondsagirlsbestfriend Thu 22-Aug-13 08:28:49

Boob where abouts in Australia are you? As maybe I can suggest some support groups or things to do with the kids, so you can meet new people.

Salbertina Thu 22-Aug-13 09:02:54

Sorry its been tough. Reality as sahm overseas not easy- as you identified it sounds more the isolation than the location which is the key issue. Can you list down groups you could join, types of support you could get, however small??
We are in a similar position and when we leave will be paying for our return and all costs- dh nay or may not have job to go back to. Think many companies are much tougher like this now than in the past.
Why cant dh explore poss job options on uk or wherever before jumping ship? Makes sense surely. It may not be that you go back without a job. That may be our situation though, gulp! And will just have to manage as we can/- contracting work etc. not easy but we'd have to do the same if made redundant in uk.

deXavia Thu 22-Aug-13 09:19:29

Barbie - wait til the snow and -20 sets in! Welcome to Korea - home of extreme weather wink But mid autumn festival is soon, and the humidity usual drops back and the festival itself is great. If you can get to the Mountains it's a stunning time of year. Not sure which education system you are going for but in the early years the Korean one is great and my DD loved her time there, although yes the hours are long. I don't want to hijack Boob's thread so feel free to pm me if I can help at all.
Boob I do think you need to work out a way to change the situation there - transport, social circle and some kind of help/break. I do t know Australia but there are many MNs who are there and I know they will be able to offer help - it may be worth starting a thread being more open on where you are or joining one of the Australia threads.

runningmad Thu 22-Aug-13 09:25:24

Yep no help in getting home and the contract was changed to and suddenly landed with 30k per year bills which was almost the entire net salary. Result has been hell and that is an understatement.

Salbertina Thu 22-Aug-13 09:38:02

Poor you Running : (
Yes, we're dealing with plummeting local currency against £ (when we came with £s was the other way round, oh joy but what can you do? Being an expat is higher risk than not) this aline has costs us thousands. 10% inflation here... But not for salaries : (
I know a few expats paid in sterling, watertight contracts with shipping, return costs guaranteed but i know many more without this safety net.

BoobOperator Thu 22-Aug-13 10:01:08

Thanks again everyone. I think I'll start another thread under my regular NN, and drop you a PM Diamonds if that's ok? I didn't want to link this thread up with my regular NN because family at home know my NN and have searched my posts in the past. That's a whole other thread though!!

Running that's awful. What can you do? Have you sought legal advice?

Mutley77 Thu 22-Aug-13 13:29:34

boob - I can identify with you quite a lot. We have been re-located to Australia with DH's company - I arrived pregnant with DC 3 and am struggling - was also not sure I wanted to come.

It sounds like we are on a similar kind of "deal" - which is that we can stay here as long as the work is available and they need us although at the moment the contract is limited. Our re-location back may or may not be funded by them, depending on whether they are happy for him to leave and have a role in the UK that DH is suitable for that makes it worth their while funding us to come back. Otherwise he is likely to be able to get a role in the UK with the same company but we would have to fund ourselves getting back - so I am banking on this option and we will use our savings to do it if we want to get back against their wishes.

It does make sense if you think about it as they can't spend money shipping people according to their wishes - it has to be in the business interest I suppose.

I totally relate to your experience of mother's group!! When we were asked what word described our experience of motherhood - I was the only one that said "totally exhausting" while all the other PFB mums said things like "wonderful". Unfortunately I gave my answer second in the group so couldn't adjust it to fit once I realised they were all saying the same thing!!!!! I don't seem to fit in naturally anywhere as the school mums all have established groups and the baby mums just have their babies. I had such a great support network in the UK with a wide circle of friends built up over many years that I feel odd being the billy no mates everywhere and it is lonely as well as hard work with no help of any kind....

diamondsagirlsbestfriend Fri 23-Aug-13 08:58:24

Yeah send me a PM Boobs, I'm happy to try and help and give you suggestions if your in an area i Know

homeaway Sun 25-Aug-13 15:47:27

So sorry to hear that you are all having a hard time. Just an idea that you probably have thought about but how about inviting all the school mums around for a coffee , or the neighbours. I am sure people will come and maybe you can make friends that way. It is really hard to break into an established group of friends . Motherhood is exhausting and wonderful and depending on the day more of one than the other smile. Join any groups that you can so that you meet a wide variety of people although with young kids that is not always easy. Are there any expat groups where you are ?

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