How are you doing Heidi (Design Your Own Future)

Every company is dealing with the consequences of the Corona crisis. We asked the opinion of our relations/contacts on the present and the future. Today: Heidi Los, Owner and career coach for expat partners at ‘DESIGN YOUR OWN FUTURE’.

What impact does corona have on your work at DESIGN YOUR OWN FUTURE?

Although I am not able to do in-person group trainings at the moment, my work as Career Coach for Internationals did not change that much in the past year. I have been working online for 8 years now. What has changed is the impact of the Pandemic on the clients that I work with. International moves were put on hold for some time, followed by long periods of quarantine. The fun and exciting part of an International move was hard to find for many Internationals. They didn’t have any opportunity to reach out and make new friends and learn from the new culture. They’re stuck in their homes and the only thing to do was errands and work from home. They could not set foot in the new culture, in the new neighborhood and so on. They stayed, more than ever, in close contact with their friends and family back home, so feeling homesick was also a factor... On top of that, some of them had to navigate their homeschooling children which made it even harder. When Internationals managed to pick up their job search, it was very nice to see that many of them landed a job, despite the lockdown.


Which changes due to Corona have you experienced as positive?

In the Netherlands we live by the agenda, both at work and in our private lives. As an example, it’s very unusual to drop an activity with friends on the same actual day. Corona has put us back in our seats and forced us to live in the moment. With my empty agenda I happened to read a lot more and I was still able to connect with the people I care for.


What will be your first thing to do when everything opens up again? 

Hug my parents, for sure. And give my sick mom the massage that she needs and deserve badly. For me, that was the hardest part of this Pandemic. My parents don’t live next door, but I try to visit them weekly or at least every other week. They are getting older and need more support. They are doing fine, but it has taken a toll on them and that makes me feel sad.

I am also looking forward to seeing young families loosen up again, so they don’t have to struggle, switch and choose between the conflicting roles of parent and teacher.

My wish list is even longer, I will visit at least one mountain soon after this chapter in history is over.


What is your best personal memory of 2020?

Besides playing board games and walking with my family, I really enjoyed the temporary

‘I AM…project’ that I executed with 2 friends during the first months of the lockdown in 2020. We asked 100 women from 100 countries to share their picture and story of how they were doing at that specific moment in time. You can find this lovely overview of more than 140 messages and pictures: IAM.2020z on Instagram. It was a temporary project and we all felt truly connected, all those women across the world. It was amazing.


Finally: which message do you want to give personally?

Be curious (and do what you can do) about other people, about other cultures, about yourself. Curiosity leads to more insights in many ways. You will see the bigger picture better and sooner. The more you know, the more you understand the reason why [fill in the blanks], even if you still don’t agree with it. As you take things as they are you might even see the positive side. If you respond in a more forgiving way -also to yourself- it will make your life lighter. And, if you are ready for the next step in your own career, don’t forget YOU have to DESIGN YOUR OWN FUTURE, nobody else will do it for you.

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