In my first blog, I talked about the decision to relocate from Milton Keynes to Cornwall and what impact it would have on my ability to function as a consultant and, how it might affect our family life.
Now that we have been here for eight months, I thought it was time to provide an update to the first article, explaining some of the challenges we have faced to date with the aim of helping others who may be considering a similar life change.
When we moved to Cornwall in February 2016, I was in the concluding months of delivering a project for an East London Borough. Fortunately, I was able to organise my week to work from home for at least two days each week which allowed me to maintain a good work-life balance and schedule my diary to avoid the dreaded Monday morning and Friday afternoon travel. So far so good, the only downside being the financial hit in additional travel and accommodation costs.
As this project neared completion as normal I began putting feelers out to my contacts network to identify other opportunities and was surprised at the number of people who assumed that, as I lived in Cornwall, I wouldn’t be interested in working much beyond Bristol! This was my second – and almost more difficult – challenge of being located in the South West and one I hadn’t really considered. It has in truth taken a lot of convincing some people that working away is part and parcel of life as a consultant/interim. You travel to where the work is. Whilst it might not be ideal, I have always accepted it is part of the job and almost always take on a project based on the task rather than the distance from home. What I am unable to say at this point is whether I have been overlooked for roles because there is an assumption that I live too far way to want to, or be able to, take on the project. Only time and feedback, will tell.
For the last five months I have been undertaking portfolio work for a public sector consultancy, which is a change from full-time project delivery. Whilst this has been great for flexibility, (I only need to travel for meetings) I have discovered that unless there is a strong pipeline of work, it can be a bit sporadic in the number of working/billable days. I can though see a future for myself in delivering this sort of work as it offers the perfect balance I’m seeking, but this is only possible if there is sufficient work available. Another thing to work on.
I think it’s fair to say there are some pretty big challenges associated with relocating away from the main population centres of the UK, so I would advise anyone who is thinking of doing the same to consider the potential barriers to work and the additional costs involved. However, despite these challenges, we have already begun to put down roots. As well as being nearer to family, we have forged some great friendships, the boys love their new school, Rachel has found work which she enjoys, and we’ve discovered some stunning locations on our doorstep. We’re happy and it already feels like home, so we know we made the right decision already.
October 14, 2016