© The Author(s) 2019. Is it time to reimagine the kaleidoscope career model (KCM) beyond gendered career patterns? In this article, we draw upon the KCM in a novel way to show how skilled migrants, just like a kaleidoscope, adjust their career parameters and construct bespoke career paths in order to cope with the career disruption of an international move. Specifically, the study unpacks the careers of 38 skilled migrants in Ireland and suggests an alternative explanation for skilled migrants’ underemployment. The findings show that this macro career transition – from home to host country – presents both opportunities and challenges for individual migrants in their quest to balance their work- and non-work-related demands. The study contributes to existing literature and debate on skilled migrants’ careers in the business and management discipline by presenting a more complete overview of the concerns and instrumental career choices of skilled migrants in the host country.