Should I leave abroad to work or go back home? I’m 28, a freelancer for two years in media/photography/journalism with expertise of nearly a decade in the field. I have never lived abroad because I always found work at home or excuses not to leave my home town, but I am part torn apart because I realize and understand my opportunities to grow as an individual and earn the money that could secure me a better life are not necessarily bound to my country.
I suffer of depression and anxiety for 7 years now. Currently on treatment for the first time, I am in Barcelona, to take care of a photography show I’m part of.
I was offered a managing editor job in Berlin for a big popular project in arts&publishing and my future employer flew to Barcelona to meet me. He offered me “a chance to grow”, pay for my rent for the first 3 trial months and give me a flat salary of 1500 eur, saying we will renegotiate after the trial. It’s too little money from what I learned to live in Berlin when you have to pay taxes, health insurance and rent, so I’m biased whether to go for it or not. Other than that, I discussed with the former editor in chief and he was very dissatisfied with his 4 year experience there, advising me to strongly avoid taking the job. His words were overworked and underpaid. The other way is to go back to my home town, Bucharest, take a job as a PR for an art space which opens in September, continue with my magazine editor in chief job that i have at home and participate in 3 photo shows in the Fall. I am not in my home town now, been switching places to stay for the last 3 weeks a lot and failed to find a job in Barcelona. I took the chance to try to relocate because I had the exhibition and being nearly 30 I said this might be my chance. But I’m stranded and often depressed inside, although I try to connect and meet new people every week. I tried to leave alone, I have no boyfriend and no friends here. I met everyone as I arrived, so maybe I was lucky and these are first world problems, but still for me it’s very hard to decide whether to go home and work that possibily fulfilling job, where I know everybody and everybody knows me, or to take a leap and go to Berlin no matter what. Being in a foreign country is like being stuck in a bubble where I’m not a tourist and not a local either, so it’s very hard for me to grasp the right chance and make a decision.
I need an honest advice, please.
And thank you. (From Barcelona)
I can understand the struggle you are having. It is difficult to have so many choices and yet none of them seem exactly what you want.
I think I’d look at this from another perspective. I would review your life and think back over the times that were peak experiences for you. When was it that you felt truly alive and engaged in your life? By identifying these powerful times it gives us an understanding of when we were using our top character strengths to the utmost. While doing something different is always valuable, to consider doing something different that allows you to use your strengths is even better. You can read more about character strengths here, and I would highly encourage you to take the character strength survey and to learn more about yourself. Using your strengths in making this decision should also help you cope with the symptoms of depression.
My hope for you is to feel being pulled to the future by your strengths — rather than only being pushed away from your pain.
Wishing you patience and peace,