I recently announced on my social media feeds that my wife Claire and I will shortly be moving to Ireland. As many have pointed out, it’s a Big Move, exciting and scary all at the same time. Here’s the story of how this happened…
I lost my job back in November 2019; I was working from home for a software company based in Montreal, with the occasional travel across North America to go see partners and attend trade shows. December 1st always signifies the beginning of the “Well-The-Holidays-Are-Coming-Up-So-Everything-Is-On-Hold-Until-The-New-Year” season; not a great time to be looking for a new job.
It had been well over 30 years since I’d had to scour the job market looking for a new role; I went from my early days employed in I.T. to having my own company for 24 years to working for this Montreal-based software vendor. The job market certainly has changed, and the Human Resources processes around hiring have become absolutely dehumanized (I’ll write about this another time).
Just 5 years ago, Alberta was booming, money was flowing, and everyone had great jobs. Then the “bust” of the “Boom ‘n bust”cycle came, and it’s now a much different story. Many people are unemployed; I met people in workshops I attended who have been out of work for a year or more: HR specialists, accountants, engineers, IT folks, etc. Calgary now boasts one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada. My prospects were demoralizing, to say the least.
“So where is the IT/tech sector a little more active?” I asked myself. Then I remembered: Ireland! This little European country lowered the corporate income tax for companies, resulting in many tech companies setting up shop there; this created massive job opportunities in the IT & tech sector.
I told Claire about this and asked her if it was an option; would she be open to a move there if I managed to find something? She said, “Yes!”
Claire has had a love affair/obsession with Ireland since she was 13 years old; she read about the Celtic goddesses and traditions, dreaming about the day she could finally visit. That happened in 2015 – we both spent a quick week visiting the west coast: Galway, the Connemara region, the Aran Islands, Doolin, Limerick, the Cliffs of Moher. It was a magical week, too short. We promised each other we’d be back to visit some more.
I made contact with a company in Waterford, in the south of Ireland; we exchanged emails, had a conversation over Skype, and I ended up going to Ireland for two weeks in January 2020. I was interviewed and got the job offer. This was now REAL!!!
I now had to go back home to start planning all the logistics of the move! Claire had to tell the parents of her dayhome kids that this was happening, and that she would be closing down to make the move. This was a heartbreaking affair – Claire is an incredible early childhood care educator, she gets very attached to the kids in her care and is very passionate (she actually won an Alberta provincial award back in 2018 for her work!), so this came as quite a shock to the parents.
At this point we’re in the process of selling all our furniture; it is way too costly to ship this stuff overseas, and pretty much all the rental houses in Ireland come furnished. We just started rebuilding our lives together 3 years ago, buying furniture together, making a home, and now it’s all got to go! On the one hand, there’s a sadness to all this – seeing people leave with your favourite pieces, the feeling of – once again! – uprooting our lives after having moved to Alberta just 3 years ago. But to George Carlin’s point, it’s all just “stuff”, and we’ve accepted to let go any emotional attachment to this “stuff” in exchange for a grand new adventure – living in Ireland and experiencing the European lifestyle!
We’re looking forward to being there, and if all goes well, we’ll be there by the end of February. We’ve got a small vacation home rented until the end of April, which will give us a good 2 months to find a longer term rental. We’re hoping to be in one of the beautiful coastal towns, like Dunmore East or Tramore; this would put me about 10-20 minutes away from work – no big commute, just a wonderful drive through the Irish countryside!
One of the drivers for making the move is the opportunity to visit more of Europe; neither Claire nor I have had the opportunity to spend any amount of time there, and flights within the EU are very inexpensive compared to within North America, so we hope to take advantage of this and visit some amazing places.
There’s a lot of “carpe diem” in all of this; it’s about seizing life by the horns, as it were, and experiencing it to the fullest. I am incredibly grateful to have a partner like Claire in my life with whom to share these adventures.
We are looking forward to cliff walks, strolls along the many beaches, discovering the various towns, cities, and regions of Ireland, the food, and of course, the many pubs! I’m not sure, but there may be one or two pints of Guinness consumed along the way!
And of course, we can’t wait to share our adventures with everyone, as well as welcome those friends and family members who want to come and visit!