Have you updated your GPS to make the most out of your professional transition as an expatriate spouse or humanitarian?

Today I’d like to talk to you about a very common problem among the expatriate spouses and humanitarians I support: they’ve long forgotten to update their GPS!

What do I mean by GPS?

Our brains contain an incredible number of mental maps. These mental maps are our representations and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us.

When I say that they haven’t updated their GPS, I mean that they haven’t updated their beliefs about themselves, about others, about what surrounds them, about the job market, their career path, their profile and so on.

Imagine you’re going on a long road trip and the GPS in your car was last updated more than 5 years ago! What’s going to happen? The maps are out of date and no longer correspond to the reality. With this GPS, you run the risk of going off course several times, getting lost along the way and never arriving at your destination… or at least very late! Your car’s GPS needs to be updated regularly to work.

The same goes for your brain and its mental maps. Just like your car, it’s essential that you regularly update your perceptions, assumptions, beliefs and knowledge about yourself and the world around you.

I often notice with the people I work with: they come with deep-rooted beliefs about themselves “I’m too much of this or not enough of that”, about their career path “It’s too atypical, it doesn’t make sense, no one will understand it”, about what the job market is like today “They’re looking for experts. I lack certain qualifications”. These beliefs are generally negative…and are based on assumptions.

These beliefs are often based either on an experience they had 10 years ago during a job interview, or on stories they’ve heard around them (my colleague tells me they’re looking for such and such a profile), or on what the press says (after 50, you’ll never find a job).

They are rarely accurate, and in any case deserve to be revisited and updated.

If you want to make a professional transition, it’s essential that you start by questioning the validity of the knowledge you’re relying on!

Get into the habit of questioning what you think you know about yourself, your career path, your past experiences, your skills, your profile AND about others, your environment, and the job market.


  • What are your beliefs? About your background, your profile, what you have to offer, who you are today, your strengths and weaknesses, your desires and needs. About the job market, what is a career transition, your definition of success, etc.
  • Where do your beliefs come from? From your fears or those of the people around you? A lack of self-confidence? An imposter syndrome? Stories you’ve heard without really remembering the source?
  • How old are your beliefs? Are they still relevant today? Hasn’t the job market and society changed? Isn’t what an employer is looking for today different from 5 years ago?

In short, ask yourself if there are other theories and points of view than the one you know so far?

Faced with your professional transition, it’s essential that you seek out new information, keep an open mind to what’s out there today, and be ready to change some of your beliefs!

It’s important that you update your GPS. Make sure you don’t get stuck in obsolete representations, don’t let yourself be trapped by false beliefs, don’t lock yourself into your current situation, because of beliefs or knowledge you think you have about yourself and your environment.

As Pascal said, “Woe to the man who, at least once in his life, has not questioned everything.”

I’d like to leave you with this idea: question what you think about yourself, your profile, your career path, the job market, a professional reconversion, what a future employer might think, what you could aspire to.

Question everything, seek out new information, don’t let yourself get stuck in your beliefs.

Take the time to update your GPS, it’s what’s going to enable you to make your transition in the best possible conditions.

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