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Pack up or continue?

Pack up or continue?

Old May 15th 2016, 4:11 pm
  #1  
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Default Pack up or continue?

I moved with wife and kids ( aged 5 and 3 now) from the UK in 2014 to work in finance in Qatar. The experience is mixed so far (wife did not like Qatar and I am ok with it). Unfortunately my wife and kids had to move back in Dec-2015 as one of my kids needed learning support in the classroom /speech therapy which we could not get in Doha. I am currently on my own in Doha but visit my family about 2 times a month for 3 days each (Friday-Sunday). I am at crossroads in terms of deciding next steps i.e. do I pack up and go back or continue for sometime. My gut feeling is that I don't want to leave with having a job back there. The considerations are:

Good:
-Can save some money even with the current arrangements (assuming I don't have to pay tax in UK)
-Live 5 minutes from work
-Can see family often enough ( I think)
-Work is interesting but not stressful or back breaking
-Wife is happy in the UK (she never liked Qatar in the first place), kid 1 likes school and the kid that needed support is getting it

Bad:
-I miss my wife and kids
-The bureaucracy at work frustrates me (all about form filling or getting approvals rather than doing work sometimes)
-Some of the people (generally locals) don't understand the need to work or work quickly or work diligently which is discouraging
-4-6 overnight flights a month are tiring

I acknowledge this is not a perfect arrangement, so want to hear about people who were/are on their own in the Middle East with families in the UK.
-Is this sustainable?
-If it worked for you how long did it last?
-Any advise that you can offer?
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Old May 15th 2016, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

Continue. Shovel the easy money into your UK bank account and refocus on tolerating the rest of the crap that goes on in Qatar. Clear any UK debts/ mortgage and start setting aside some savings for later life. Cut back on your UK visits, which are expensive, use Skype more and let the family visit you in Qatar from time to time.

I've done this for near 6 years now, in very similar circumstances to yours. Been tough, and gets harder as time goes on. Every expat leaves Qatar at some point, it's just a matter of when.
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Old May 16th 2016, 12:55 am
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

Happiness over money every time.

If you're not happy with the situation fix it. Just make sure that the grass is actually greener before jumping the fence.
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Old May 16th 2016, 7:06 am
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post
Happiness over money every time.

If you're not happy with the situation fix it. Just make sure that the grass is actually greener before jumping the fence.
Agree with that fully.

Although money is often part of the happiness equation.

I was thoroughly pissed off with working for big companies in UK for the 10 years before I moved to UAE (with another big company). Left wife and kids at home because the kids were in crucial stages of their education. Far less frequent visits than you have, but its worked (I think). The difficulty in assessing the situation, though, is what life would have been like if I hadn't done what I did -- another 3-4 year stint with a big UK company working closely with egomaniacal MDs before mutual tolerance snapped? All the while my stress levels increasing. That pattern was pretty-much repeated win UAE, but I believe I've now rediscovered my niche (which I deserted 15 years ago).

My family relationships are defintely different from what they'd have been had I stayed in UK: with the kids, I miss(ed) being there for constant support; with the wife, in some ways it works better (partly because I'm less stressed work-wise). But these things are so personal its impossible to offer advice.

I guess it partly comes down to how much you need the money. If its a significant part of the happiness equation, don't ignore that fact. (And I don't mean happiness as in how many shiny objects you can accumulate -- unless, of course, that's what floats your boat -- but in terms of what underlies most of our decisions: security).
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Old May 16th 2016, 11:59 am
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post
Happiness over money every time.

If you're not happy with the situation fix it. Just make sure that the grass is actually greener before jumping the fence.
Follow this advice , the travelling will wear you down in the end , it's not feasible long term .
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Old May 16th 2016, 2:03 pm
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

Hiya, I'm doing something Similar, after 10years of Living and working in London, we wanted change and to be close to family in Sri Lanka, so the Missus moved to SL with the dog and (I'm based in Muscat) go every other weekend. Fly Thursday evening and Return Sunday directly to work. We don't have kids not sure of the decision if it was the case. As the direct flights are at odd times and in the morning, I have used Fly Dubai so a 1 hour stop in Dubai (Thursday evening - Sunday morning). I've been here for 6 weeks now, and flown 3 times. I have to be honest being solo is not brilliant but so far its working an the money here certainly helps.


ER
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Old May 16th 2016, 2:52 pm
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Exclamation Re: Pack up or continue?

Originally Posted by cookiedad View Post
I moved with wife and kids ( aged 5 and 3 now) from the UK in 2014 to work in finance in Qatar. The experience is mixed so far (wife did not like Qatar and I am ok with it). Unfortunately my wife and kids had to move back in Dec-2015 as one of my kids needed learning support in the classroom /speech therapy which we could not get in Doha. I am currently on my own in Doha but visit my family about 2 times a month for 3 days each (Friday-Sunday). I am at crossroads in terms of deciding next steps i.e. do I pack up and go back or continue for sometime. My gut feeling is that I don't want to leave with having a job back there. The considerations are:

Good:
-Can save some money even with the current arrangements (assuming I don't have to pay tax in UK)
-Live 5 minutes from work
-Can see family often enough ( I think)
-Work is interesting but not stressful or back breaking
-Wife is happy in the UK (she never liked Qatar in the first place), kid 1 likes school and the kid that needed support is getting it

Bad:
-I miss my wife and kids
-The bureaucracy at work frustrates me (all about form filling or getting approvals rather than doing work sometimes)
-Some of the people (generally locals) don't understand the need to work or work quickly or work diligently which is discouraging
-4-6 overnight flights a month are tiring

I acknowledge this is not a perfect arrangement, so want to hear about people who were/are on their own in the Middle East with families in the UK.
-Is this sustainable?
-If it worked for you how long did it last?
-Any advise that you can offer?
You may find eventually that your wife and children will get into their own routine and you will disrupt it every time you go home to the UK....I once read in an expat book about the "King is Home" syndrome (which is very common when spouses are hardly ever at home due to their work).

They have moved on without you being in their lives very much and they get irritated when you feel like a celebrity who must be fawned over when you step over the doorstep, yet to them you feel just like a short term visitor.

If your marriage is very strong then it will survive, but I've been an expat for just over 2 decades and have seen many of them failing as the spouses just grow apart...and not just physically. You need to have a long, hard discussion with your wife; she is basically a single parent and it's one thing if there is an "end date" but if it is to be for many more years she may find it very difficult to cope.

Here's an example: my best friend (an Aussie expat in the US) got divorced when her spouse left her and returned to Oz). She realised that she was pretty much ostracized amongst all the wives in her neighbourhood and all the invites for nights out, dinners, barbies etc. dried up....they were all scared that she would be after their husbands!

Last edited by Englishmum; May 16th 2016 at 2:53 pm. Reason: spelling
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Old May 16th 2016, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

Originally Posted by Englishmum View Post
...

Here's an example: my best friend (an Aussie expat in the US) got divorced when her spouse left her and returned to Oz). She realised that she was pretty much ostracized amongst all the wives in her neighbourhood and all the invites for nights out, dinners, barbies etc. dried up....they were all scared that she would be after their husbands!
Interesting. I've been abroad for 8 years with 'er indoors in UK, and she has a great social life. Maybe she's already pinched one and I don't know...
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Old May 17th 2016, 4:34 am
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

Stay but agree an end date with the wife.

That way you can plan your exit starting from the day you will leave. EG: how much cash do we want, I need to have a job lined up by then etc etc etc.

That way your family have something to look forward to, you have something to work towards, you have a realistic goal to hit (financially for example), you have an actual plan.

Worst thing in the world is drifting in this region. I've done it for 4+ years until I realised I wasn't really achieving much. Very frustrating on one hand but wicked good fun on the other.

The Mrs and I now have a plan. Life is much more enjoyable with a plan. I like a plan.

PLAN.
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Old May 17th 2016, 8:53 am
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

Originally Posted by Bahtatboy View Post
Interesting. I've been abroad for 8 years with 'er indoors in UK, and she has a great social life. Maybe she's already pinched one and I don't know...
I bet her social life is not as good or varied as yours I bet.
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Old May 17th 2016, 3:30 pm
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post
I bet her social life is not as good or varied as yours I bet.
Says he, just back from near-horizontal jogging in Beijing
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Old May 18th 2016, 6:16 am
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

Originally Posted by Bahtatboy View Post
Says he, just back from near-horizontal jogging in Beijing
They call Beijing, BJ for a reason.
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Old May 19th 2016, 10:02 pm
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

I haven't read all the thread but is it possible to work remotely some days? That way you could extend your visits in the UK a little.

Also watch out for the tax man if your family lives in the UK as it strengthens your ties to the UK.
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Old May 27th 2016, 6:07 am
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Default Re: Pack up or continue?

Family first!
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