It’s been 2 years since my move from America to India. The fear & confusion I felt when making that decision, is a faded memory– like an old wound that leaves a bumpy scar on the skin.
Now, having adjusted to a new life– happier, detoxed and destressed– I have squeezed, reassuringly, the hands of many friends who wanted to make the same difficult decision to move home. A question I got from all of them is:
“What if I move to India, and it doesn’t work out?”
So what if it doesn’t work out! It made me wonder what prevents them making these decisions– kids? age? marriage? society? money? I wanted an answer and did it through the way I knew best– a survey.
If you’ve lived abroad; thought of moving back to India; and love data driven decisions– this is your read.
The objective of this analysis is to understand the motivations behind a relocation specifically of non-resident Indians, from abroad back to India. A non-goal, would be to argue for a move to India. The underlining assumptions are, that living abroad has material comforts and access to more money, making the move back resistance-full.
More than 500 NRI’s (Non Resident Indians) responding to the survey on “Return To India”, while, 90 Already Returned Indians obliged. I got responses from all over the world, but mostly from San Francisco Bay Area. The Returned Indians spent an average of 7.5 years abroad before moving back.
Data speaks volumes. But volume plays a big role in skewing and bias in the results. I’d strongly suggest: Take the results as mildly directive, or even better– a soft amusement. Demography, Gender, Age, Education, make the results a certain way and I’m merely penning down what I concluded of it. Others would make different judgements.
PART I: NRI’s Survey Data Analysis
WHAT DO NRI’S FEEL ABOUT MOVING?
NRI’s are CONFUSED!
You’ll see in the graph below—there is a overwhelming majority of people, who have parked the thought of moving back to the back of their minds, waiting for a trigger, reason or event to actually make it happen. These are the ‘undecided’ or ‘confused’ people. We see that only 30% are in favour of moving back and more than 50% are confused.
And even with the 30% who said Yes– Intent doesn’t necessarily mean action— So an NRI who’s saying ‘YES I’m going to move back to India’, might not actually do so.
The NRI’s are overwhelmingly confused, and it is collaborated with this word cloud of the responses. One word jumps out and it reads “Confused”.
ARE YOU TOO OLD TO JUMP?
I wanted to check if this decision to move back or not, is influenced by age— from the graph below, it appears that the older you get, the more decisive you are— which doesn’t surprise us, does it? I’d say, after 40’s the will to move is weaker.
WELL, IS IT DIFFERENT IF YOU’RE MARRIED?
Does marriage change the decision to move back to India? I was not able to see a significant conclusion from the data– In fact, the only insight I could make, needs to be taken with light humour pill. It shows a pattern one could dispute, but publishing it anyway — because funny :P. I’d conclude:
- Single people start with “I want to move back to India”.
- When they are seeing someone, they are like “Hmmm, maybe not, I’m having fun here”.
- After marriage, they are more inclined to re-consider! “Perhaps I DO want to move back to India”.
WHAT ABOUT NRI’S WITH KIDS?
What about kids? The graph showed that having kids has not skewed any of the feelings in any one direction— In fact, quite a large number of NRI’s with kids, want to move back to India. (Note: 85% of returned Indians said that their kids adjusted very easily to India).
SO, WHY DO NRI’S EVEN WANT TO RETURN?
“For Parents. And for getting out of the routine life in the US and experiencing the thrilling life in India”– A respondent.
The results clearly pointed out the topmost reason to return— supporting their parents! The reverse, which is– getting support from parents and community– is second on the list for NRI’s. It is so true– India has a very strong community feel, and easy availability of support of the logistical and mental kind.
A large number of people want to do something for the country. I loved how a respondent was inspired and said his reason to move back would be: “Was fascinated by Rang De Basanti and wanted to do something for my country. No kidding.”
A large number talked about monotony: “Combination of factors. Such as family ties, giving kids Indian life experience & bored of monotony of US life. “ and one of my favourites is a lady from New Jersey who said her reason was “Hated cold weather”. I can’t agree more!
SO WHAT’S STOPPING THEM NRI’S?
Money, job and Infrastructure are the top reasons for not returning. I split the responses by gender, as I wanted to see if women have a different reason from men.
More women are worried about infrastructure and work environment, than men. But the primary worry for all, is $ Money, $ Monie, $ Moneh! We will analyse money in a later part of this article, to see why your fears for money need to be re-evaluated.
PART II: Expectations VS Reality
THE NRI’S SALARY EXPECTATIONS
I split the NRI salary expectations data by age, because In India, number of years of experience is the guiding indicator for the level and salary you’d receive. From the graph below, we see a non-trivial number of NRI’s, in their early 30’s, are expecting a salary of One Crore+ . That is $150,000. I asked a recruiter friend if she knew NRI’s at that age range who get a One Crore+ salary— she said ‘They are very very few in number’.
If you move on a US salary of $150,000 or more to India, send me an email 🙂 I want to know how you did it and you can buy me coffee while you’re telling me. 🙂
SALARY EXPECTATION VS REALITY
You’re expecting too much!
If we compare the NRI expected salary, vs the reality— the Indian salary looks skewed towards the lower range. For example as many as 32% people are getting salaries < 20LPA while only 20% expected it.
This means two things
1. NRI’s are expecting too much. Only to be disappointed. I personally know three friends who interviewed to move to India– Unhappy with the “low” salary offered, they rejected all job offers, and decided to stay back in America. I put the word low in quotes, because, as one fully understands— your low, could be my high.
2. There is a possibility, and a high one, that you might have to move to India DESPITE your salary, and not because of it. 50% respondents were actually happy with their salary offer, the other 50% were not happy— an even split. The good news is that a large number of people move on a “low” salary and then find jobs that suit their expectations better.
The story of planning to move back and abandoning the plan, is a story of countless Indians. Though there is no judgement here, or ‘failure’ in doing this, I’d just like to add– abandon or accept all the offers, but don’t torture yourself and stay in an unhappy life. Choose life over material.
IS INDIA CHEAPER OR WHAT?
So if the salaries in India are “low”, is India affordable? A large number of people said
‘You don’t need so much money to live in India’.
On asking if its cheaper for people with kids, we see this response:
I’m not very confident of what this tells us— expensive is a personal decision and this needs more digging.
One respondent wrote: “You don’t need too much money to live in india. We didn’t move for high salaries to begin with. Having said that I believe we make enough to live comfortably in India, we don’t have to think twice about spending in things we enjoy. We can afford a nice vacation every year (for foreign vacations) we have to save for two years. We save more than when we were in the US! :)”
DO YOU HAVE AN “NRI ADVANTAGE” AT JOB APPLICATIONS?
About 70% agree that NRI’s have an advantage while landing a job. I’d like to point out that this advantage could be prominent, assuming all other parameters are the same. One mustn’t be confused to think that it is ‘easier’ to find a job In India. Job search is equally hard all over the world.
More than 50% recommend coming in at a senior level, and a large % advised to move within your current company.
SO, TUMHE JOB KAISE MILA BABUA?
If you are an NRI reading this page, hopefully this section will give an you direction on where to start your job search.
- Lets start with the knowledge that 70% returnees found it DIFFICULT to find a job.
- While 50% don’t think you need to come to India to interview, about 40% believe you should come to India physically to interview for your job.
- 32% returnee’s quit their jobs and moved unemployed.
- 30%, transferred within the same company.
I personally think job search is a stressful experience all over the world and its neither better or worse in India— it is dependent on you.
WORKING IN INDIA: WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
The returned Indians replied with many many comments— I’ve published snippets at the end of the article. You can read through them in detail, but a summary graph here, shows that India is the new land of opportunities! Its a great place to explore and try out different things— a new career, your own company, or trying a hobby as a profession.
WHAT PROBLEMS WILL WORKING IN INDIA ADD TO MY ALREADY LOADED PLATE?
Relax. It’s not as bad as it appears. Returned Indians found professionalism a problem, (though no one gave an examples of what that actually means). We do see longer lunch and chai breaks in India— it’s a cultural thing! You can read the select statements at the end of this post, to understand work issues.
SO, ARE THEY LIVING HAPPILY AFTER?
As high as 80% returned Indians were happy with their move. My guess is the remaining unhappy 20% are probably spouses 😛
I asked 3 questions in sequence— Are you happy with the move, Are you missing living abroad and Do you plan to go back abroad. The results surprised me. 60% of returned Indians plan to return back abroad.
Carefully look at this Alluvial diagram– follow the Green colour from left to right.
I was surprised to see a non-trivial number of people who were a) happy with the move, and b) didn’t miss living abroad, but DID plan to go back abroad.
Let’s think about this carefully and what it tells us— that the traditional worry of ‘what if I don’t like it in India and have to return’ needs a rethink. The perception of “failing” because of a second time move back abroad, is clearly false. There are perhaps other factors at play— like green card, money or simply ‘This is the right thing to do at THIS time in my life’.
Read on for more details from the NRI’s and Returned Indians. It’s wordy, but worth it if you’re trying to make a decision.
PART III: Select Statements- Hear it directly from NRI’s
Lets read select statements from NRI’s about their feelings about India, and guidance from Returned Indians. I’ve selected a few statements from the 100’s that came in.
- A lady speaks about how time has changed her feelings- “A little confused and afraid but deep in my heart it’s what I want. Funny how things work, all I wanted to do when I was in college in India was to live in San Francisco, 14 years of living in SF make me yearn for India”.
- This person said that if he knew the indian salary beforehand, that would put him at ease — “Confused. Not sure how the lifestyle would be after spending more than 5 years abroad. I’m confused if I should leave behind everything . Once I move back to India, there’s no looking back. May be if I could know what work package that can help.”
- This person moved to India, and then moved back again- “I am confused because the quality of life and pay scale differs a lot in India. I have had moved back once and regretted the call and after spending 2 years in India came back to Dubai. Obviously, we miss our family and friends staying away from our country and that’s what makes us to think to return back.”
- Will I regret it? Is a common question one asks- “The process seems very intimidating. I wonder if it’s a purely emotional decision that I will end up regretting later.“
- NRI’s Frustrated with foreign life: Outsider feeling in America makes him want to move back- “I want to go back and live among my people. I want to live in a country that calls me their own.”
- He wants to give back to the country- “I’ve been in US for more than 10 years. I have everything I ever wanted.. but no mental peace. I’m ready to throw in the towel on everything in life and become a school teacher in some indian city“
- Job related concerns for NRI’s: Applying for jobs is hard (but I’d argue it’s hard all over the world)- He says “I’m clear I want to move, but I’m not even sure how to start. I’m applying to companies in India, but not getting calls. That’s probably because in In- dia, employers expect the candidates to be in India and available immediately, without having to wait for months for the employee to join.”
- If he got a good job while in America, it would make it better for him “Getting a good opportunity in India as- sured before move would make the move much easier.“
- How do I return to America? Is the question on his mind — “The immigration landscape of USA is getting unpredictable. Confused whether I am closing the door behind myself once I exit USA. What sort of options do I have to return back to USA.
- Infrastructure and Quality of life worries for NRIs: A senior Software Engineer from SF talks about an ultimate dream- “(I’d like an) NRI city where infra (traffic, parking) / schooling / facilities (parks, bike-lanes, hospitals) are like US but comforts (maid, driver) are like India :)”.
- This respondent is concerned about quality of life, even though career might do better- “If not for parents, i can- not find a good reason to move back. My career is likely to do better in india – but the time i get to spend with children and my overall quality of life (not financially, just the overall quality) wins over that by a huge distance.”
- “I love India but life was too full of running around for the basic necessities”
- Kids & their Education Concerns: Many were worried about their kids education and some are past that point, like this gentleman- “Always Wanted to return to India but now 53 years old. Daughters just graduated from college. Took American citizenship few years back. So not sure”.
- Education quality “Am really confused. Am not sure if my son will even be able to get the education he wants.”
Select Statements from Returned Indians
What are the Advantages of working in India? I asked Returned Indias what how they felt about the work environment in India and here are selected replies
1. A responder, who spent 11 years in San Francisco, said- “Peace of mind that you work in the country you were born and more importantly not worry about visa green card issues and only focus on work! :)”.
2.You can do a lot more, says this person- “Freedom to fly under the radar to work on moonshot projects can help achieve faster pace of work satisfaction and to help one’s country directly or indirectly (via taxes etc)“.
3. A lady in her 30’s from Australia agrees- “The number of opportunities and the variety of roles + exposure you get in India with the right complexity to always keep you on your toes are available more in India than abroad. The work environment in India is challenging no doubt but this is exactly what’s needed for growth .. and growth is not always vertical ☺ “
4. You can’t underestimate the advantage of having chai around- “Language and advantage of being local helps you progress faster simple things like local food availability of chai round the clock”.
5.We find that empathy wins. “Family oriented work culture where coworkers are friends”.
6.This freelancer shows us how much he can do- “I work as an independent consultant. I am also an adviser to a not for profit organization and teach at a University (on and off) in the capacity of a visiting professor. In US I had a 9-5 job. It would have been difficult to work as an independent consultant there.”
7. More opportunities! ”Unimaginable opportunities to take risks. Proximity to family. Nothing beats the feeling of staying at HOME “
8.A startup founder said “I am running a startup. If you can build a good team around you then work environment is pretty much same as US.“
9.Another startup founder said “Start up culture is booming and there are a lot of opportunities out here”.
10. About 5-6 have mentioned language- “Less communication problems due to mostly similar language, accents, culture and thinking.” I also agree with a guy who says it’s easier to explain things to people here: “Easy to explain. Can be informal at times.”
11. This gentleman talks about how his coworkers are bright-“I work in Software Engineering. Lot of bright and hardworking youngsters. Ready to put extra hours to finish the job done. Flexible work hours (everyone understands the fact that traffic is bad and you can decide to WFH at times).”
12. Many Leadership opportunities- “Great satisfaction in contributing to something bigger than oneself. Being a leader in the field rather than one of many cogs of the wheel. “
13. This person summarizes what being in india means to him: “Opportunity to give back to motherland. Better position in the organizations back home. Family ecosystem and getting back to the roots. Celebrating festivals on the day and not the next weekend”
14. Another Summary is “you make good friends as compared to abroad. Food is cheap and lots of options. Having returned from abroad you can climb the career ladder quickly. “
15. How do you adapt?- “Once you learn the “Indian” ways of dealing with challenges AND the pace at which these things move, you can actually live a very productive life. Spend your money on the “right” services if you want to be happy here.“
16. Money works for you here!- “Your money will go farther, so you can save more, travel more”
17. Careers for Women?- “Career progression for women is possible due to support system availability.” And another seconded that “Support system ( easier to work with ready labor and extended family to attain work life balance)”
18. You might have unfounded fears- “Unlike the perception. The work culture in India has become quite open and casual. Work life balance is good”
19. And I found this sweet lady who simply said- “My husband felt easy in India only.“
20. Sense of belonging- “Being an Indian there is a sense of belonging which I terribly miss in US when not at work. Every now and then are nuances which make you feel like an outsider.”
21. The same lady points out- “Satisfaction of contributing back from where you came. Kids approach me for 1:1 career coaching. It is very satisfying to help shape careers of next generation.”
Returned Indians talk about Problems with working in India
After going through the positives, let’s read through the areas of concern that respondents pointed out
1. IT companies are pretty much the same- “I don’t believe any of these is true especially IT companies behave pretty much the same way in both India and the US let’s say none is better than the other!”
2. A person in an NGO said the most interesting thing “Most organizations (especially the non-profit sector where I am engaged in) do not have robust Operational systems in place. For example communication is still largely verbal use of email/ digital media in work is limited (getting better), appraisal systems are often not presentand there is resistance to change. But I have seen things improve for the better in last 6+ years since I moved back.”
3. One guy said “ Coffee 🙂 grammar, and food“ . He maintains the coffee is bad, grammar is bad and the food, is also bad :D.
4. This lady had a poor experience with work-life balance- “I lived in the building adjacent to work. I worked everyday 9-6pm. I would go home cook eat dinner and dial right back in at 9pm and the meetings would go till midnight. After 2 yrs I was fed up and relocated back to US.”
5. This lady has described how she felt differently from her co-workers in terms of time management- “My team and I had a great camaraderie at and off work but I just couldn’t do as many breaks as the rest of them would take. Breakfast, Morning coffee, then lunch, afternoon coffee, and then break at 5-6pm if some of them decided to stay late. I started saying No after a while and was deemed as a snob :)”
6. Biases during promotions- “I have seen unfairness in India due personal bonds which may be formed (as India is a very social culture. Team members invite their peers and bosses often for parties etc).”
7. Difficult to compartmentalise work from personal life- “Because WLB is so poor is in India several times you will find employees in MNCs trying to fix home issues while at work and when at home trying to do their work.”
8. Immaturity at the workplace- “Folks working in product companies with experience > 7 years are more mature.” About Ethics “Youngsters don’t have ethics and integrity many a times”.
9. Office Issues- “Not keeping time/ deadlines, unnecessary paperwork and delays.“
10. Ethics- “Culture of not questioning status quo or “why” something is done in a certain way. For example, I repeatedly faced things like candidates not showing up for interviews, candidates not showing up on the date of joining (with ridiculous excuses like “My <some relative> died”).”
11. Freelancer says- “If you’re in sales, then be prepared to be treated like shit by some customers.”
12. Buried deep somewhere in a review someone said “out of sight out of mind”. And another said that at a lower level “people pulling other people down rather than grow themselves”
13. “Some organizations are highly professional but many others are not. Your background gender connections etc matter over your performance.”
14. Job finding issues- ”Finding a job is a big problem. Oversupply. People will hire only if you have prior industry and function experience. Your soft skills you bring to the table won’t matter much. Of course there are exceptions like company who finally gave me the job.”
15. This man asks if the pain is worth it- “Someone could argue that If I have to deal with politics and attitudes I might as well be in a country where they pay me more.
16. One person summed his disappointment up- “As good environment as US (US based company), good work life balance, freedom to work on what I want, salary equivalent for the same quality of life as US, thoroughly disappointed with the work culture and professionalism of youngsters. “
Overall Advice from Foreign Returned Indians
So what are they advising you?
1. One of our respondents had to let go of his love— deciding between her and his country, he chose his country. “I was in a relationship in the US but my partner did not want to India because she was a US citizen. I had to let her go when I decided to move to India. Unless one knows what exactly they want and what they are willing to let go, taking this decision is going to be tough but one thing that which I love now is that whenever I board an international flight now or even a domestic flight as see people returning to US especially after Christmas, there is a weird happiness on seeing my return ticket back to India because now I know I would be back after a stipulated time and I would not be gone away indefinitely.“
2. “The struggle is real. Make a choice and never look back!”
3. One respondent, after 10+ years in San Francisco has the most lovely story to share. It would be helpful to read each sentence- “I always wanted to move back the day I landed in the US. It is because I never had plans to settle in the US and I knew it on day one (not because I was homesick but I just knew it intuitively). After years and years of planning when to move, I finally planned seriously to move in 2008 but eventually moved in 2010 and found a job in Hyderabad after moving. It is a tough call if you are expecting to move with a job in hand. People here are not ready to call NRIs in the US hours and entertain any interviews. As a hiring manager, I don’t look at resumes outside Hyderabad, not even the neighbouring Bangalore. Although I got married a year before I moved, my spouse was supportive enough to move back the year after marriage. In hindsight, she says, if we had stayed there another couple of years after marriage, she would have got used to living there and moving would have been tough. I was never afraid of moving back. In fact, I was more afraid of getting settled in the US owing to its methodical, systematic approach of life in the US. Ironically, life in the US makes you not think or use your brain and things just go on and on in a mundane way. While in India, you are always on your toes, active in thoughts. It is true that there are challenges but that’s what is thrilling about life in India, and that’s why Indians in the US feel life is bored there but majority of them don’t come back because of one and only one thing – MONEY! Nevertheless, it is always important to understand (even after you move back to India) where you have been peaceful more (in the US or in India) because problems exist everywhere and it is only in the individual’s experience that a problem becomes a blessing for one and a problem for another. To me, one’s country (India in our case) is like our mother. No matter where you stay in life, when you visit India, it always welcomes you with the same feeling of motherhood which the child will never understand!”
4. “My only advice to folks thinking of moving back: Don’t think, just do it. You won’t regret. “
5. “I like living in India because of better social life but did not like the work culture especially at junior level.”
6. “It was difficult. Even though I had a plan to move back [to india] already discussed with my parents and my wife years in advance, when the time actually came to move back there were hesitations. My wife had the biggest reservation about moving back and the move was the hardest on her. It’s already been more than 7 years since we moved back and sometimes we miss the”ease of life” in the US but that feeling is diminishing by the day. My last trip back to the US last year convinced me that our move back was a good decision. There’s lot more professional scope here”
7. “If GC worked out in decent timeframe I would have not come back.”
8. “Glad I have made the move. Travel time here is higher but the amount of help we can afford means I don’t need to worry about things I hate — Cooking, Cleaning, Ironing, Washing clothes, Nanny. “
9. This lady moved with a bad job, waited and then switched to a better one. “One unhappy job in my bucket and with some wait and a lot of patience I was able to land a good job. They just always want you to have some Indian work experience as well…. “
10. “Set your priorities- family, money or career and stick to your decision.”
11. For those with kids “Moved from a high paying job in a tax free country back to India to setup a new venture – with two kids. One 2.5 year old. Second 3 months old. Was tough initially for us – but we adjusted back to India and it’s idiosyncrasies, and are happy that we made the move. From a work life and talent potential perspective – abroad is better. From a warmth and family support and friendliness with a plethora of opportunities for the right person – India is better. “
12. Gun laws “Always had the intention of moving back. Although it took 2 years towards the end to mentally prepare and eventually make the move. Was never planning to settle abroad being the only child and parents wouldn’t move to US. Additionally, US is a very expensive country for running a family with kids with very less investment options compared to India. Very easy to just go in debt to live a materialistic lifestyle forever. Primary education in US is very average compared to India, which has its own flaws though. And last but not the least, wouldn’t have wanted kids going to schools with a fear of a madman holding automatic guns killing randomly. In hindsight, i feel completely vindicated. “
13. Spouse was a reason- “Spouse was a big reason to move, I was skeptical but I am very happy with the decision. Do not miss US at all.” Another said “My spouse was not happy after staying abroad for 15 years. Moving back to India was going to change that, so we decided to move. We were confident about the move. India didn’t surprise us, life style wise not much has changed except time in commute. “
14. “If you like uncertainties (adventure, taking risks, believe in god, don’t follow rules), India is for you. If you like to live a predetermined straightforward life, go abroad.”
15. This respondent moved within the same company “. Yes, India was really surprising because I worked at the same company – so the same field – but things were drastically different in terms of work-life balance, skills (I could do much more than people at my same designation). But things are also less rigid, and there’s always a way to get things done. This means you can be less stressed about timelines (works both as a positive and a negative thing). “
16. A Pre-Uber era lady, spoke about her issues with rickshaws and drivers. She moved back to the US after a stint in india- “At EOD, you can only perform well at work if your mind is rested and not stressed about non-work problems, which for me was very hard. So we moved back to US in 2006 and have been here ever since. Currently no plans of going back, even though I miss my family to bits every day. “
17. “Move to India if entire family is on the same page and is absolutely for the move. Don’t make the move if you want to ‘give it a shot’.”
18. “Moved because spouse started startup in India – I didn’t want to move but am now happy I did it.”
19. “If you can learn to accept certain practical shortcomings like traffic, lesser infrastructure etc. and enjoy the positives like more family interaction and the indian way of life, your move will be fruitful”.
20. This gentleman gave me some flak 🙂 – “After living in the pacific northwest for two decades, it has been so damn hard to see what my dog has been reduced to in terms of access to dog friendly parks folks vets etc, in India. I read your FB post with some interest but it’s the same thing, it can be summed up as “Yes India sucks but whatever ….thanks to romanticization I have managed to ignore said suckage plus food is awesome 🙂 “
21. Work made her move back to the US- “Husband was feeling highly patriotic after studying and working in US for close to 10 years. I unwillingly agreed as we were getting married but was unhappy as I was in the peak of my career. Moving back to India, adjusting to an overwhelming social life was difficult. Getting a job was not difficult but getting a good environment challenging work and good salary was a big challenge. After 5 years in India we moved abroad again as we were not satisfied professionally. “
22. “Initial months were extremely tough, driving, paved footpaths (lack), dust, pollution, commute, getting personal work done, shopping, public places (rest rooms). It took us a good 1 year to remould into Indian ways. People (carpenters, plumbers, home improvement guys) try to take advantage of you because while living abroad we have a notion of believing everything a service provider says. This happens because we forget the Indian ways and need to be extremely careful in dealings. “
23. I LOVE this advice “ Woke up one day and decided that I want to come back. The many friends and family in the US said that I was nuts. In the end, I decided that I must do what makes me happy, not do something just to get validation from others. That’s a general life lesson as well that’s served me nicely over the years. “
24.”I moved before I was married hence the transition was easy. Moving with family can be a stressful experience with that constant feeling of uneasiness at the back of your mind – will I adjust ? will my kids adjust? etc. etc. I have seen both – people who moved back could not settle and hence returned AND people who moves back settled in as if they had never left. At the end of the day – it’s a personal and subjective decision.
25. Global citizens “There are significantly more opportunities for qualified professionals (especially in IT industry) to have stints in various countries, accumulate that experience and build a truly global career for oneself. All one needs is a sense of adventure! :)”
26. Embrace “Don’t come back with high expectations. It is your country, embrace it as you would embrace your parents (with their quirks and shortcomings)”
27. Temp job, valuable for those with kids “I went to US with my spouse. We both were sure about return to India. Had definite deadline in mind for returning from US (before older kid goes to first grade). It still took us extra 2 years to plan and execute our return since figuring out jobs/ business for both of us was very difficult. Parents’ health condition was deteriorating so finally we came back without one of us knowing next job opportunity. I was lucky to get a temporary job arrangement within next 6 months and my husband kept shuttling between US and India (he still goes back and forth 3 years after the move). However, I have support structure here and a job I like (even if it is temporary). Kids have adjusted after first 6-9 months of transition period (which was very difficult and “unsettling” for older kid). I am happy. If you do not expect life to go on exactly like you lived abroad, one can adjust here and enjoy the unique Indian style living with all its colour, festivity even day-to-day headaches! I don’t have regrets about moving back to India. “
28. A veteran who has moved back 13 years ago has this advice “My wife and I both went to grad school in the US. We moved back as a couple with no kids in 2005. India didn’t surprise us much at all. I think we both knew what we were coming back to. While my wife moved her job to India with a 75% salary cut, I started my own company (gave up a nice job at eBay). We never even seriously discussed whether this was the right decision. We adapted some of the “Indian” ways, like having a “Dhobi”, not having a dishwasher etc. But we also forced some of our surroundings (parents!) to adapt to our ways, like making it a point to take vacations, buying “Dahi” instead of making it at home :). I will admit that I was lucky to have control over my work environment (it was my company and I made the rules, mostly) and we were also both lucky to not have long commutes.Now nearly 13 years after the move, probably the only thing we miss is going out for camping in state/national parks. We wonder if that’s just a function of the stage our family is currently at. But one thing I’m sure of – we would have missed a lot more if we did not make the move! One final word of advice to any- one planning to move – don’t do it saying “we’ll see how this works out for x years”. Then you’ll almost certainly go back, with scars.”
29. Stay focused on the reason “Moving to India is never easy, however, so staying focused on the reasons you have moved to India for is very critical to keep you on track while settling down (first 2-3 years).”
If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me.