Should I Stay or Should I Go?



Brexit and Mobility for People, Not Stuff.


As the United Kingdom oscillates between accepting and rejecting the implications of Brexit, the business community remains uncertain as to which actions to take with the EU. Like a sinking ship, many international companies are abandoning the United Kingdom and seeking refuge on more reliable terra firma. Financial service giants such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Citi, and Deutsche Bank have guarded their sang-froid and taken steps to relocate personnel and shift assets en masse.


London’s Square Mile will hemorrhage more than 12,000 financial service jobs by the end of 2019 onto the continent inundating cities like Paris and Frankfurt with a trove of valuable clients and enriching anemic economic terrain with new opportunities.


These mobile professionals bring not only valuable industry know-how but valued people- their families, kin, relations. Often when companies relocate human resources they prioritize the physical move. One recalls the sharp stand-up comedy of the late George Carlin- “My Stuff,” criticized the importance people accord to their physical possessions. To paraphrase –the only reason to possess a home is to house irrelevant Stuff. The prioritized engagement of relocation companies and real estate brokers mirror that image. Major firms think that Stuff comes first while families, children, and people come in at a distant second.


The term Global Mobility elicits that perception of moving things, resources, and stuff around the globe. No worries, as long as the company gets the stuff to the intended destination. But to be truly Hegelian, Dasein, is not about stuff getting-there but about people being-there. To that end, shouldn’t the term of Global Mobility evoke the movement of people and the address of their concerns rather than prioritizing inanimate objects? If Jane Employee is granted the opportunity to move abroad and then accepts the prospect, it’s not her stuff that will keep her up at night, au contraire, it’s the well-being of her family.


Where are the kids going to attend school? Do they speak the local language? Will they make new friends and fit in? Statistically, the majority of families make the commitment to move house based on their children's feasible adaptation to a new school system. Indeed, when fianlly settling on a home, those same families decide based on the residence's proximity to the best-fit school. Families prioritize their children, not their things. Global Mobility should therefore reflect this universal truth and be renamed Human Mobility. It’s high time we learn that a home is for families, not stuff.

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