I took a hiatus from blogging due to several recent events, most of which are fodder for future blog posts. The first one being that I’ve started a(nother) new job.
I’m working as a Relocation Specialist for a company which provides destination services. If you’re unfamiliar with the term it relates to the receiving end of the relocation process. My job is to help new arrivals in Toronto find a home, schools and daycare, acquire their government documents and generally show them around the city and their new neighbourhood. It’s part-time, contract work which means I’m self-employed, work from home and get paid by the assignment.
I’m amazed I didn’t think of this job before but put it down to the fact that a) we’ve never been provided destination services by any of the companies who relocated us, so I only vaguely knew such a thing existed and b) my stupidity on not viewing my hometown as an “expat destination.” I found this job through a referral at the FIGT conference (thank you, you know who you are!) so again would like to plug the importance of networking when job hunting. In fact the woman who hired me says she ONLY hires via referral which I thought was rather interesting.
While I’m probably a perfect candidate for the job – my former life in real estate in Toronto means I know the city well and having been relocated myself so many times I have a good understanding of my clients’ situation – in reality I’ve found it quite a learning curve. So at the moment I’m investing a huge amount of time researching everything from how to get a government health card for an infant who’s not a Canadian citizen, to night clubs and restaurants for young, single professionals. Not only have many things changed in Toronto since I last lived here, but some things I never needed or experienced. So far it’s fun, interesting but also a bit scary as I’m expected to be a seasoned Toronto expert and yet I still feel far from it.
A destination service specialist/consultant is a great job for any trailing spouse as they’re needed pretty much anyplace you find expats.
- Flexible hours
- Not stuck in an office
- I’m learning lots about my city
- Workload varies and therefore income varies
- Dependent on someone else finding work for me
- Tiring if driving around for a full day
- Some weekend work (although I can decline it)
- Business calls can be at any time
- Working alone
- Knowledge of the city you live in
- Willingness to learn and research
- Strong people skills
- A 4-door car
- Computer, printer, cell phone
In my former, pre-expat life, I was self-employed as a real estate appraiser, so in many respects the job and lifestyle are similar. However for anyone used to working regular hours in an office it could be quite an adjustment. My biggest problem so far is missing the interaction with colleagues because I’m working from home. I probably need to find some kind of local networking group, but if you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.