Sudha Thakur, IndiaSudha is an SEO and Social Media Specialist who relocated from India with her family, and has found that the Isle of Man's nature, safety and lifestyle has given them a home where they can enjoy a great work-life balance together.
1. How long have you lived on the Isle of Man and what made you move here?
I moved to the Isle of Man from Chandigarh, India in February 2016 with my 8 month old son to join my husband, Neeraj, who relocated 4 months before that. I would say that my husband’s job brought me to the Island. Neeraj spoke highly of the place in terms of natural beauty and public safety and overall lifestyle. I did my research too and came across some beautiful photos on the internet and came to know that the Isle of Man is not only famous for fast motorbikes but is one of those unspoilt places with paradisiac landscapes and an extensive coastline. Coming from an inland city in India, I have always been fascinated by coastal cities, lighthouses, soaring cliffs and ferries. So I am kind of living the dream.
2. How would you describe it to someone who has never been?
It is a beautiful place with mesmerising sunrises and sunsets. I would say living on the Island has helped us to be closer to nature. A simple walk on Douglas promenade feels like we’re on holiday. People are very honest and friendly and always willing to help. It’s very easy to maintain work-life balance here as there’s very little traffic and the commute time is much less compared to any big city. There’s public transport to reduce carbon footprint that includes an Island-wide bus service with comfortable seating and WiFi enabled. There are cycling routes around the Island if you would like to cycle to work. You are naturally inclined to appreciate the things around you without the constant buzzing and annoyances of city life. Financially, the Isle of Man is very attractive too; there’s no stamp duty, if you ever plan to buy a house here. There are no capital gains and inheritance tax either.
3. How did you find a job on the Isle of Man?
I paid a visit to the Isle of Man Government Job Centre and they told me that being a dependent of a Tier 2 skilled migrant visa, I am entitled to a work permit, when I find a job. They told me about their website and that I can look for jobs online and apply. I applied for this job advertised on the suggested Government job portal by Search and Select (a recruitment agency on the Island) on behalf of RL360 for an SEO and Social Media specialist. They arranged my interview with the company and after 2 successful rounds I landed the job.
4. Tell us about your job – what do you enjoy most about it?
I work in RL360’s Marketing Department as an SEO and Social Media Specialist. My job involves doing keyword research and optimising the web pages, keeping an eye on Google analytics and Google search console. My key responsibility areas also involve implementing a positive online presence for the brand in Google SERPs and monitoring brand mentions across the web. The social media part involves creating a monthly social media calendar, sending out updates and handling customer queries coming in via social media.
I believe that a job isn't just a way to make money; it should help you grow both financially and emotionally. I absolutely love what I do. The SEO and social media world is ever evolving and I like being challenged and try to keep myself up-to-date with the latest in digital marketing.
5. Do you feel there is career progression for you on the Isle of Man?
Yes, there is a lot of scope for digital marketers on the Island. More and more brands are now opting for a digital business strategy to transform their business, streamline their processes and make use of online technologies to enhance interaction with customers and employees.
I personally feel that career progression also depends on whether or not you are updated with the latest in the digital marketing world. But there’s undoubtedly a need of digital marketing professionals here on the Island to help local businesses gain a good web and social media presence. It’s a great way to reach out to the world for any sort of business whether it’s a life company, a local real estate agent or an Island based charity.
6. How was your experience moving to the Isle of Man?
Our experience of moving to the Isle of Man was very smooth. My husband was offered a job as a Senior Software Engineer on the Island on a Tier 2 visa by an Isle of Man company in 2015. For my job, because I was a dependent of a Tier 2 visa holder, RL360 applied for a Work Permit on my behalf and I received it within a month’s period. I would like to add that the staff at the Immigration office in the Isle of Man are very helpful - you can drop them an email or just walk into their office if you have a query and they are happy to assist.
7. What difference has living on the Isle of Man made to your work-life balance? How do you spend your free time?
I have always thought that the term “work-life balance” is a myth, but you can master this balancing act if you are living on the Isle of Man. My son, Aarav started school in September 2019 and with me being in a full time job I was a bit worried about his new school timings. I didn’t want to send him to an after school club unless I really had to. Thanks to the flexible office timings, I start early and leave just in time to pick him up from school. I spend quality time with my son after school, take him to hobby classes like Taekwondo, swimming and football.
My hobbies include dancing and playing badminton. I also choreographed a Bollywood dance for my friends in the Douglas carnival back in 2016 (I did a 2 year certificate course in Bollywood back in India, so that helped). On weekends I love to cook traditional North Indian food. Although I don’t like eating out much, when we want to eat some good Indian food, we go to Flavours - the Indian cuisine restaurant in Douglas.
8. What’s the best-kept secret on the Isle of Man?
Even when it's dull and overcast the Isle of Man never ceases to amaze. I would say the best kept secret on the Isle of Man is that it has some amazing stargazing spots. You can see the Milky Way or Northern Lights on most clear nights in winter when cooler temperatures strip the air of hazy humidity. My little one loves it when we go to Marine Drive up Douglas Head on a moonless night to see stars stretched across the sky.
9. What opportunities has living on the Isle of Man given you and your family?
The Isle of Man has given us time. We can do everything at our own pace without as much stress of things getting in the way. The decision to move to the Isle of Man has had a positive impact on our lifestyle, health and overall wellbeing. It is a great place for people who love walking and hiking, especially with the abundance of beautiful coastal footpaths and cliffs. Every year, Neeraj participates in the Parish Walk in June which is an endurance challenge where competitors have 24 hours to complete a difficult 85 mile route. Among many other beautiful moments my son, Aarav, had his first snow-experience here on the Isle of Man. Not too many things in nature are as beautiful as experiencing the first snowfall, especially for a 3 year old (it snows here once in every 3-4 years).
10. Why would you recommend the Isle of Man to others looking to relocate and what would be your top tips?
It’s not easy to up-root your life and leave family and friends you grew up with behind and come all the way to a foreign country to start a new life, but I would say it’s totally worth it. This is now our home. It’s one of the safest countries in the world to raise kids, and I would give it 10/10 on other attributes like gender equality and having well developed public education and health care system. My top tips for newcomers - If you need basic things like furniture or kitchenware for when you arrive on the Island, you can buy second hand items from local Facebook groups to start off. For groceries, Tescos deliver right to your doorstep. There’s Robinsons for Chinese, Indian and Oriental fresh food supplies and plenty of affordable delivery and take away restaurants in Douglas, if you have just arrived and don’t feel like cooking for the first few days.