Expat midlife crises unheard of in China

Expat midlife crises unheard of in China

Expat midlife crises unheard of in China

As more attention is paid to the psychological impact of relocation overseas, would-be expat professionals are seeking locations where they can avoid emotional traumas.

Expat forums across the world regularly feature sad tales of expat suicides, often blamed on relationship issues but also linked to work-related failures. It’s now understood by HR companies that major lifestyle changes can cause anxiety, depression, alcoholism and even full-blown mental problems, with expatriate males in the 40-50 year bracket more at risk than younger expatriates. This age group is, it seems, more susceptible to thoughts of physical decline and impending mortality.

Feelings of desperation, especially in expats with less-than-fulfilling jobs and mediocre salaries, are difficult to defeat, and a lack of genuine friends makes the situation worse. The risks extend to all expat destinations, but one popular hub in particular seems to provide protection against the progression of depression and feelings of worthlessness. China is that destination, and reports on the majority of middle-aged expat professionals suggest the country provides a new lease of life as well as more fulfilling jobs with better salaries.

In general, expats in China are respected more than in other world countries, as their expertise makes them sought-after commodities. Midlife crises still hit, but many who’ve found new, younger partners or girlfriends have improved self-images as a result. Earning higher salaries than in their home countries, starting a family and enjoying their new lives protects them from depression and the risk of mental stresses resulting in suicide. They’re still in a midlife crisis, but it’s in a different form, with most returning mentally nd emotionally to their younger years.

Another aspect of working in China which favours contentment and a positive outlook on life is that expat workers rarely have to contend with maintaining and progressing in a career where there is fierce competition from up and coming new arrivals. Once that pressure is off, professionals can concentrate on their jobs without spending time looking over their shoulders and fearing for their position within the company. All told, the work and social environment in China seems to be set up to get the best out of expatriate workers in every part of their lives.

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