Kieran McEnery moved from Cork to Boston just five months ago, but he’s already starting to feel at home there.
Relocating for work can be a tough decision to make. While the right opportunity can open up so many doors for you in terms of your career and give you a whole new perspective on things, moving from your home is a big change. When that move takes you across the Atlantic, it can feel a bit intimidating.
With the right support around you, though, it could be the best decision you ever make. Take Kieran McEnery from Fidelity Investments as an example. He moved from Cork to Fidelity Labs in Boston just a few months ago, but he’s already settling in nicely.
Here, he describes what that move was like and how Boston compares to his beloved home.
Where are you from and what’s it like there?
Cork. It’s Ireland’s largest and southernmost county in Ireland. The city of Cork is quite small, but the county spans a larger area and has beautiful natural greenery and a lovely countryside. Cork is a sport-centric city with an abundance of popular sports while also having a unique culture.
It is known as the ‘rebel county’ and, as I have heard on many occasions (even about myself), the accent is pretty distinct, even within Ireland.
How long ago did you relocate and what prompted your decision?
I relocated at the end of May 2018. The reason for the relocation was twofold. I was looking for a new challenge to take me out of my comfort zone to help me grow as an individual, and to help me advance in my career. The type of work I was looking to get experience in was a big part of my decision to change, and an opportunity that fitted that criteria and appealed to me arose.
Describe your role in Fidelity Investments.
My role is as a principal software engineer within the Fidelity Labs team to architect, design and build pilots and new products. Fidelity Labs rapidly develops new products and businesses to revolutionise the financial wellbeing of Fidelity’s current and future customers.
I work closely with the product and design teams to develop prototypes, pilots and full-scale applications in a fast-paced environment. I provide thought leadership on technology solutions and ideas to support business goals.
What do you like most about your job?
I like the fact that I am challenged on a daily basis and am always learning. I get the opportunity to work with a team of intelligent people who help me grow both as an individual and in my professional career.
What were the biggest challenges of relocating and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge by far is being away from my family, which is something I continue to work on. I’m lucky we live in an era that has such great technology, which allows me stay in regular contact with them in multiple ways.
I like to immerse myself in activities to keep myself busy, which also helps, but knowing I am only a relatively short flight away and have multiple options for flights makes it that bit easier. I do plan to go back to visit when I can and also know I’ll have them come visit me too, which makes the transition easier.
What were the major differences between Ireland and Boston?
Overall, Boston is very similar to Ireland. To date, the major challenges have been around accommodation and learning how that process differs to Ireland, and also learning about the health system in the US.
Other smaller differences include the tipping culture and the weather. I have been pre-warned about the cold, snowy winters you can get in Boston but that is something I will have to prepare myself for, especially it being such a large contrast to the humid summers.
How do your working life and other supports help to make you feel at home there?
I am very lucky – I work with a great team and they help on a regular basis. Also, I’m fortunate to have some family friends in the area who have been a great support from the moment I decided to move. Support, from finding a place to live in the right area to more routine trivial items such as locations to shop and social events to attend that would interest me, has been a huge help. One example of this support is where my new team organised a welcome pack for me where each team member got me something to welcome me to Boston and the US, ranging from some authentic maple syrup from Vermont to a Boston Red Sox baseball cap.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
I’m a big sports fan and Boston is a great city for sports. There are so many different sports, from both a playing and watching perspective, and there is something all year round. Another major plus is that there is a large Irish presence, and everyone is so welcoming and kind.
What advice would you give to others who are planning to relocate for work?
If you decide it’s the right decision for you, fully embrace the move, challenge yourself to do things you would not have done before and get involved in as much as possible.