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Around a year ago, I asked the company I work for to relocate me to a foreign country mainly for personal reasons, specifically to be close to family. In addition to this, I had the idea that it would be good for international experience since I deal with clients worldwide and thought it would look good on a resume. I was living in the States prior to moving.

After working abroad, I realized that I missed home and I was under many false impressions about living/working abroad. My salary in the origin city was significantly better than the salary after relocation, and the work was more challenging. I had also slowly started to establish a life for myself in the origin city prior to leaving, primarily finding friends, social groups, and even events. After having this experience, I realized that I had a better quality of life in the origin city.

I also have heard comments from coworkers that my work on the old team was valued greatly and that my manager enjoyed working with me. My assumption is that my manager in the origin city could potentially be open to my relocation back, though this topic has not been broached.

I signed a relocation contract prior to moving which stated that all relocation expenses will be covered so long as I stay with the company for a year, minimum. The year is almost up so I do not believe there will be any contractual issues. Should I decide to relocate, I would opt out of this contract since I do not need the financial assistance and personally do not like being bound by paperwork. To be clear, the contract is regarding financial assistance for moving and not the terms of the relocation itself.

How do I discuss this with both my old and new manager, as well as higher management (since they have a say in the company I am working for)? Are there any professional implications because I have reneged on an international relocation? I imagine there may be “sociocorporate” issues, i.e. embarassment with moving back since colleagues are under the impression that I am here permanently, but not sure if there is anything else to consider.

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  • fgysin's answer is spot on. Companies are run by people. Relocation is always a risk for a company. Since the company is large enough to have multiple offices it is likely that you aren't the first to get "homesick". It comes down to how valuable you are to the company AND that you are being upfront AND non-threatning AND putting artifical deadlines on the discussion. If you are valuable - meaning is it less costly to keep you than find someone new and get them up to speed - they might pay the relocation again. Companies really do want happy employees that aren't afraid to take a risk.
    – DogBoy37
    Commented May 17 at 11:37

2 Answers 2

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I think there is no "secret recipe" here.

Be open and honest about your reasons, and explain them as well as you did in your question above - and I think you will be fine.

I would however suggest that you make sure to thank your company for the chance to relocate, and maybe sum up in your terms what the one year relocation did for you, what you learned and which goals you were able to achieve and how it helped you grow and develop - and especially how this makes you even more valuable as an employee.

This will help set the right tone, as in "my relocation was not a waste of time/money" but instead simply a opportunity that you were able to take up and learn from in a way which also again benefits your company.

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  • @keshlam " And head out allocation " *head count? Commented May 18 at 5:57
  • Thanks. Only way to fix a comment typo is delete and repost, so:
    – keshlam
    Commented May 18 at 8:20
  • Of course they may balk at paying for your relocation back home, even if otherwise open to the idea. And head count allocation may mean you can't return to your previous department, though if you have significantly deep knowledge of that it would be an argument in favor of juggling things to make that work. But yes, the way to ask is ... to ask.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 18 at 8:21
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I signed a relocation contract prior to moving which stated that all relocation expenses will be covered so long as I stay with the company for a year, minimum. The year is almost up so I do not believe there will be any contractual issues. Should I decide to relocate, I would opt out of this contract since I do not need the financial assistance and personally do not like being bound by paperwork. To be clear, the contract is regarding financial assistance for moving and not the terms of the relocation itself.

First of all I would wait until the one year mark has passed before giving any indications that you are wanting to move back to he original work location. I have worked for companies that won't let you apply for a new position until you have been in your current position for 6 months. You could see job openings, but you couldn't apply for any of them. It is possible they could block your ability in a similar way.

By opting out of them paying for the 2nd move that eliminates one area of concern they will have. It also opens up other positions where they don't have a large enough budget for relocation expenses.

Keep in mind there is no guarantee that you can get back to the project, team or exact location your worked at before.

Going back to the old place has its own issues. The dynamic has changed, and now you have to adjust to the new dynamic. They could have promoted people since you lift, there could be new people.

How do I discuss this with both my old and new manager, as well as higher management (since they have a say in the company I am working for)?

Don't tell your new manager. Telling them too early informs them that you could quit at any time. You need to know your options before you tell the current manager that you are leaving. In some companies the current manager is the last to know, others work the opposite way. Know your company.

Start with talking to your old manager after the year mark has passed.

Are there any professional implications because I have reneged on an international relocation?

If you were moving at company expense every year or two, they would eventually tire of the extra cost. But if you do this one time, and you only last a year, there shouldn't be a big problem.

I imagine there may be “sociocorporate” issues, i.e. embarassment with moving back since colleagues are under the impression that I am here permanently, but not sure if there is anything else to consider.

Some employees and managers are hurt, and confused, every time an employee quits or transfers. Don't worry about that. Everybody hopes the job is permanent but they also know it isn't true.

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    I know a number of people who have moved, at the same companies expense, every few years. Usually as part of a development plan to rotate them through different business areas in preparation for a promotion.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented May 17 at 15:14
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    +1 for "Going back to the old place has its own issues." The past is always (has always been) better than the present. Truth is, it's apples and oranges, and one of them often has had an interval to be distilled down to only its better moments; the rest forgotten. Life is change, within you and without you.
    – Fe2O3
    Commented May 18 at 3:01

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