Tomorrow is Irene’s birthday. It also happens to be our 8th year anniversary. Although we have only been married for 1 year, we have been together for 8.
This year will be a huge year of change for us. It begins with Irene starting a new job next month. In 34 days, she will be flying off to USA where she embarks on a new life without us by her side. Zoey and I will be cheering her on from Singapore while she navigates a new job in a new country on her own.
I am so proud of her.
When I found out that she had gotten a job offer from this new company, I was ecstatic. She has worked extremely hard in the past 2 years to strategise and upgrade her skills to get a job with one of the big technology companies. While I have been blogging, writing books and building a business, she has been working on getting a better job. Part of the reason why it is so important is because software engineers are massively underpaid and undervalued in Singapore. Many companies consider software engineers as dispensable and often hire them as cheaply as possible. To seriously advance your career as a software engineer, you need to move into management as quickly as possible. If not, be prepared to be seen as doing the grunt work and having not much value. For Irene, she does really great work right now and although the company she currently works for pays her well and values her, she has pretty much reached the ceiling for career advancement there.
The reverse is true in USA. Software engineers are highly paid and highly valued. In fact, they are in such high demand that a number of the top technology companies conduct hiring events around the world to bring talented people on board. Irene was interviewed by one of these companies in November and hired shortly after. They are providing a fantastic package including full relocation, a generous salary and bonus with stock options. Because we are married and have the right paperwork, this package includes moving Zoey and myself there as well.
Except we won’t be moving with her immediately. Instead, we are going to split the family up for a few months.
If Irene had been offered this job 2 years ago, I might have packed up and gone with her immediately. After all, there would have been nothing to hold me back in 2014. With a baby in one hand and a dormant business in the other, it would have been easy to up and go.
Now is a completely different story. Zoey is in a new school and I am currently involved in a number of important projects. It is impossible to simply move without tying up the loose ends.
Since beginning our relationship 8 years ago, we have seldom been apart. We go on holidays together and the longest we have been apart is probably a week or so when one of us have been on a business trip. This year we are looking at a minimum of 6 months apart. Possibly more.
I am not looking forward to it.
Being in a long distance relationship is hard work. Being a single parent is hard work. Starting a new job in a new country without your family and friends is hard work. This year is going to be about hard work.
The thing about hard work is sometimes you can work smart.
We choose to let Irene go ahead first as we know she will need time to settle down into a new country and new company culture. She does not need Zoey and myself there with her as distractions. This will make the transition a bit easier as she can focus solely on getting settled in and learning the new skills she will need to do her job well. It also gives me time to wrap things up in Singapore while bringing my consultancy business global by transitioning it into an online business.
Being a single parent will be hard and I am fortunate to already have a great helper who will assist in making sure Zoey gets to and from school on time, is well fed and entertained when I am at work. I also have amazing family and friends who have offered to help babysit if I need their assistance from time to time.
Long distance will be hard, but thankfully we have great communication tools in place. We WhatsApp each other daily throughout the day and will definitely continue to do so even when living in different countries. There are plans for Zoey and I to go visit at regular intervals, so hopefully that will help with the distance.
This year is going to be a great big adventure for us. It has the potential to change our lives significantly. At the very least, it has already helped us to grow as a couple and as a family. I’m looking forward to everything else that 2016 has to offer.