single in silicon valley

Relocating to Silicon Valley? This Single Thing is Not Part of the Package

No one likes to talk about it, not the expat or global mobility manager.  After all, it’s not part of the relocation package, but it’s there like the elephant in the room. Yes, when it comes to relocating for work, finding love is the least important consideration to accepting a job posting. Everyone assumes it happens or it doesn’t.

Eventually, though, expats need to form relationships, romantic or not, as its perfectly normal to bond with other human beings. They seek relationships to motivate them to wake up in the morning and go to work–  to do good work, especially if they’re relocating without knowing a soul in their new environment.

Global mobility managers don’t need to play Cupid, but it doesn’t hurt  to look after their client, because if their assignee is alone, it’s not going to be easy. The best they can do is help them forge friendships.

Still, regardless of their actual status, many of them would want to enjoy the comfort, companionship, and romantic affections of a partner. It is simply human nature — especially to those who are experiencing extraordinary bouts of loneliness during their first few months in a foreign country.

According to the BBC, this is one major predicament facing single expatriates in Sweden, touted to be one of the best countries in the world for an international post. The respondents interviewed in the article attest that they do value the financial independence, career opportunities, and flexible and comfortable standard of living that the country offers; what do they bemoan is that for many of them, it takes as long as five years for them to find and have a quality long-term relationship with a Swede.

In the United States, one can find romantic partners similar to them because it’s a melting pot of diverse people. One can also find romance with the locals, of course, but it’s easier said than done. From the male point of view, this Quora post, How hard is it to date women in Silicon Valley?, is quite helpful and illuminating. There are other countries where it’s easier to find love, if that is the priority.

In the States, the matters of the heart “where character, and not color, counts,” progresses slowly but surely. The Boise State Public Radio reported that about 5.8 million weddings in the country were interracial or intercultural. Immigrants, their children, or foreign workers found a partner that they felt they could spend the rest of their lives with, and made the relationship formal by tying the knot. The same report says that a tenth of all U.S. marriages among opposite-sex couples celebrated the crossing of ethnic, racial, cultural lines as two people became one.

A study by The Huffington Post mentions that some U.S. states rank higher in this intercultural connection more than others. As of last year, California (Northern and Southern), Texas, and Georgia made the top states that openly encouraged “interracial dating.”

What does this all mean for global mobility managers who can’t help but notice that their single assignees tend to subtly slacken on the job sans romantic partner? Well, it’s not really up to them to console their assignees regarding matters of the heart, but they would be better prepared to understand where their assignees are coming from.

The best they can do is connect their assignees with their community. It’s not too common for global mobility managers to know their assignees’ respective ethnic community. If they did, it will make their jobs more interesting. A meet-and-greet with other expats may help give newcomers the support system they need.

Double-dating with colleagues and friends might be a step in the right direction. Blind dates, fixed with prospective partners with compatibility levels by well-meaning supportive and knowledgeable friends, are another.

Connecting with like-minded people may also cue in the assignees to the state of romance in Northern California. Reading up about romance in forums is also helpful.

Romance and relationships are never easy roads to travel. In the end, the global mobility manager can only serve as a guide and as a friend to show the assignee their options in finding romance. What assignees have to realize is that in the States, no one talks about finding romance or relationships. It’s just too personal.

It’s nobody’s job but the assignees’, so it’s even more important for the latter to do their research before making that big move. Finding romance is also work.