The secret to finding a job, making new friends and becoming part of a new community
Two of the most common dilemmas many sea changers share is finding a new job and making friends when they move to the country and don’t know anyone. If either of these are stalling your sea change, I get it!
Maybe you’re despairing that there are no jobs for someone with your expertise and even if there are, you don’t know anyone in your new location who could help you find one.
If you’re approaching retirement you may not need the income from a job but you still want to become part of a community, doing interesting, meaningful things, with people you like.
Thankfully the answer to both these dilemmas lies in what you already have – your ‘assets’. Whether your sea change or tree change is a success (or not), depends on how you use them.
Discover YOUR Sea Change Assets
What do you think of when you hear the word 'assets'?
Your first thought maybe your home, your business or an investment property. While you're on the right track, we're going to discover assets you may not have recognised as such before.
Your Skills Assets
Your professional and personal skills are incredibly valuable when you need to find a job and make new friends. When making a major life change, it’s a mistake to believe your skills will no longer be relevant or needed.
Every skill you’ve gained over your life so far has the potential to be open doors in a totally different way.
Organising/Co-ordinating, Building Relationships, Project Management, Managing Teams, Sales, Problem Solving, Fixing Things, Writing, Researching, Digital Marketing, Teaching.
Make a list of all your skills and qualifications, highlighting those which may be transferable.
Your Strengths Assets
What are you good at? This isn’t a time to be modest! Your strengths could fill a need in a new workplace and community more easily than you think.
If you’re not really clear what your strengths are, ask people who know you. Friends, family and colleagues can easily identify what they value most about you. While some of their responses will validate what you know, others may be a surprise.
Your strengths provide insight into your interests, talents, values and principles.
Persistent, overcoming obstacles, technical knowledge, helping people, focused/driven, creative, innovative, supportive, caring, reliable, positive (‘can do’ attitude).
Make a list of your strengths, starting with those you enjoy using most. Include examples of where you’ve used these strengths and the difference they made.
Your Experience Assets
Your experience is unique which makes it the most valuable of all your assets. No one else has the same experience as you!
Experiences where you’ve achieved success; overcome hardship; done something unusual or achieved success all provide compelling stories.
Your stories are like magnets that have the potential to make you irresistible to future employers and potential new friends.
Ran a successful business; saved a business; unusual travel destinations; overcame serious illness, volunteering experience, written a book, played in a band, led a team to success, solved a problem, organised an event, created a website.
List each of the defining experiences you’ve had which made a big difference and positive impact on you and others.
- What was the situation?
- Why was this important and meaningful?
- What became possible as a result of this experience?
Your Interests and Passions Assets
Now let’s identify what you truly care about and are deeply interested in. This includes professional and personal interests.
These are your most important assets – failing to identify them could lead to the wrong job or spending time with people you don’t really connect with, like or have much in common with.
When you’re pursuing your best interests and passions you don’t notice time passing. These are what you’re keen to learn more about and do more with.
Keeping fit/health, important causes, hobbies, creative pursuits, volunteering, food/wine, politics, spirituality, technology, organic farming, living off the grid, social justice, travel, eco-tourism, profession related interests
List all your interests, passions and bucket list items, including those you’re keen to pursue, but haven’t had time in the past.
Now you have your 4 Asset Lists, it’s time to make them work for you.
Putting Your Assets to Work:
- Find a new location
If you haven’t yet decided your sea change or tree change location, your Asset Lists will help narrow it down.
When you’re researching and comparing different regions and towns, look for those which offer the best opportunities to use your skills, strengths and experiences and pursue your interests.
- Start conversations
Your Assets provide great conversation starters and rapport builders to break the ice with new people.
Whether it’s a potential employer who can help you find a job; new acquaintances at church; a real estate agent helping you find a new home or the local café owner you're chatting with over a coffee, they’ll all be curious to learn more about you!
Ask questions to uncover common interests and share relevant experiences to build relationships.
- Connect what you have to offer with what’s needed
This is where you join the dots. Once you’ve established relationships, discover what’s available and what’s needed in the workplace and/or community. Their needs are your best opportunities.
Be flexible and open to new ways of using your assets. It’s amazing how often my seachange clients say, “I’d never thought about or pictured myself doing Xxx before I moved and I’m loving it!”
How Real Seachangers Found Jobs and Made Friends
Michael’s transferable skills and experience landed him a new job
When Michael moved from Melbourne to Armidale, NSW, he didn’t know where to begin to find a job. With a successful and varied corporate career behind him, he felt like a ‘jack of all trades’ and was unclear about what type of country business could employ him.
Together we identified his skills, experiences and strengths which clarified what he could offer. Armed with an updated resume and refreshed interviewing skills, he secured a short-term, temporary consulting job which helped him make connections and establish local credibility.
Next, I introduced Michael to a respected and well connected friend who soon matched Michael’s Assets to the needs of a large regional accounting firm.
Within a few weeks, Michael was appointed as the General Manager – a job which provided meaningful work and new friends.
You can read more of Michael’s story in The Great Life Redesign.
Kate’s interests, passions and skills create new connections
Kate and her husband were fed up with the mad pace of city living and when their second child came along they decided to move to the Surf Coast, Great Ocean Road region of Victoria.
While their children provided an easy way to make new friends (through mothers’ groups and school), Kate didn’t want her life to be ‘all about the kids’.
A former consultant, Kate’s many skills included writing, organizing groups and project management. Friendly and upbeat, building relationships is one of her strengths.
Kate is also passionate about climate change and preserving the environment which led her to join the local Climate Action Group. Focused on increasing the take-up of renewable energy, she’s planted trees and lobbied government to successfully oppose an environmentally unfriendly development.
Using her Assets helped Kate connect with new like-minded friends whilst making a positive difference to her local community.
You can read more of Kate’s story in Sea Changing Made Easy – The Emotional Side.
Frank & Annette’s knowledge, skills and interests open new doors
The prospect of retirement was full of unknowns for dairy farmer Frank and former teacher Annette. Moving to the Bay of Plenty town of Katikati, New Zealand, they didn’t know many people or how they were going to spend their time.
While they’d done their research and found a town they thought would be a great fit, there were no guarantees. Frank was used to spending a lot of time by himself on the farm. A natural introvert, talking to strangers and making friends wasn’t something that came easily to him.
Within a few weeks, they’d joined the local Probus and Travel Clubs to make friends and pursue interests they now had time for. Putting his practical farming skills to use, Frank joined the local Men’s’ Shed and Annette's teaching background soon led to regular volunteering at the local Museum.
For both, the skills they’d spent a lifetime building were the key to creating connections and friendships in their new community. Today you’ll often find them demonstrating old farming equipment and bygone skills at agricultural shows and showing children where their food comes from.
They've created a fulfilling life making a positive difference in their community and, like many successful retirees, now laugh that they’ve never been busier.
The key to a successful sea change is intentionally connecting your assets with what’s valued and needed in your new community.
You already have everything you need to find a job, make new friends and create the lifestyle you want.
It’s time to put your assets to work!
Having successfully reinvented herself through 10 career and 4 major lifestyle changes, Caroline helps mid-career professionals harness the power of change to achieve success in business, work and life