What Can You Do With Your Job When Moving Abroad?


If you currently have a job but are planning to temporarily move to Mexico or somewhere else abroad, you’ll have a major decision to make. In my case, when we moved to Mexico, I had already left my previous employment situation. My wife, however had to make some decisions.

As both a working artist and teacher, my wife really had two jobs to put on hold for our trip to Mexico. As an artist, she is self employed. She can work almost anywhere, as long as the art she makes can be transported home or wherever it needs to go. She may be missing out on certain opportunities to meet face-to-face with people in San Francisco, but she’s trading that for the experience of living abroad.

Leave of absence

As a teacher, my wife is lucky enough to work for a very flexible non-profit organization which sends working artists into the local public schools. Her choice there was easy. They graciously allow their artists to take a semester off whenever necessary without losing the privilege of working when the artist returns. In this way, it's really an open door leave of absence policy.

Those of you with “regular” jobs would all be so lucky to have such an open leave of absence policy. You might be surprised though that it’s more common than most people think. In this economy, you might be afraid your job will be gone when you return. If you’re a solid employee and like your job, this is probably a smarter option than simply resigning.

Working remotely

If you can't take a leave of absence (either due to company policy, or because you can't afford it), working remotely might be a great option. Whether it's possible really depends on the type of job you have. If you're already telecommuting, you could approach your boss about telecommuting from another country. You'll have to take time zones, internet connectivity and your own potential for distraction as considerations.


Resignation may be the most viable option for most people who want to move abroad for some time. It doesn't necessarily have to mean that you won't return to the same employer. I have had two prior employers ask me to return as an employee years after I left to pursue other opportunities. It really depends on your relationship with the company.

For other people, resignation can be a powerful motivator to make some dramatic changes. If you can afford the time being unemployed, you will really be able to clear your mind when living out of the country. Stepping away from your former life for a while can help you see with fresh eyes. Your old priorities will start to seem more or less significant in different ways, and you may decide to take up a different career when you return.

Whatever you decide, keep in mind your original motivations for making the trip abroad. Make sure that your employment situation (and potential lack of income) won’t weigh too heavily on your mind while you’re away.

Do you have other creative ways of dealing with your job when moving abroad? Please, tell us in the comments!

This is part two in a series of posts called living in Mexico.

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Hi, I’m Corbett Barr. I’ve been writing here since 2009. Join my email list for new articles about supporting yourself doing something you love: