Ivon worked for a major retailer in the UK before moving to WE Fashion in Utrecht, Holland, to work as buying and merchandising director for kids wear. He started last year in February.
What were your main motivations and reasons behind your international relocation?
My family were my main motivation, my wife is Dutch.
How has relocating helped your career?
It opens your eyes to opportunities you wouldn’t have thought of before. Working for a big company in the UK you don’t always realise how much you’re learning, and then coming here makes you see that you have a lot to offer. Because of this I’ve managed to get a lot done in a short period of time.
What’s it like living in Utrecht? How does it compare to the UK?
I prefer it here, I wanted to move away from London anyway and now my commute is far shorter, my work/life balance is better and you get more for your money here.
What do you do outside the office?
I have two kids so driving them to all their clubs takes up a lot of my time! Everything is within half an hour’s drive here and the traffic is better than the UK so that does leave time for more; I like to play golf and I’ve joined a hockey club.
What personal growth opportunities has relocating offered?
I’ve had really positive feedback and the promotion opportunities are better here. Because I enjoy my role and it’s less stressful, I definitely have greater job satisfaction. But I do think you have to have the right personality to relocate; I have networked aggressively and was proactive in finding a job I wanted. Waiting for something to come your way will be much more of a struggle.
What’s the hardest thing about relocating?
Probably finding a place to live, but I’ve also found that you have to get used to the culture quickly in order to make it work. The Dutch can be very direct, which sometimes means you get more done. But the rules and regulations here can be quite frustrating, back in the UK you’re expected to get on with things, but here processes are longer and that often slows things down.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make an international relocation? What will they need to consider?
As with any job move it’s important to research the company. My advice would be to find a role you’ll really enjoy, don’t just fall in love with a country and decide to move there. You might like living somewhere but you still have to go to work every day, so it’s more important you’re happy in your job. Ask as much as you can about the role in your interview, it will make life easier when you start.
What advice would you give to someone for trying to juggle settling into a new country and new job?
When you’ve found somewhere to live, concentrate on your job and network, network, network; that’s really important. My biggest piece of advice to someone moving to Holland is to set up and fill a bank account here first, you can’t do as much with a foreign bank account, so if you want a TV contract you’ll need a Dutch account!