Relocating for Work: Determining If It’s the Best Move for You


Landing a new job or getting a promotion both feel great, but sometimes new work comes with a requirement to relocate. Moving can be exciting. It can also be terrifying. Don’t let your emotions guide this important decision, use the following tips to explore your options and come to an objective conclusion as to whether a change in location is the right choice for you.


Evaluate Your Relationships

If you are young and single, travelling may be a great way to meet new people. At the same time, it may take you far from family and friends and leave you socially stranded until you have time to rebuild your social network. If you have a spouse or children, you need to consider their needs when it comes to things like employment, school, friends, and family. Take into account as many objective factors as possible, such as how good you are at making new friends, how much childcare will cost with/without grandparents shouldering some of the burden, and how often you plan to travel home (e.g. weddings, birthdays, holidays, etc.).


Take Stock of The Company

Moving is worth the risk if it helps you achieve long-term career goals. That said, if a company isn’t doing well then you may be looking for another job sooner than you would like and searching in a new, unfamiliar city may be a major burden. The job may still be worth taking, even if you expect the company to fail, if you will gain experience or build a network for your next career move. Don’t forget to consider whether your career will suffer or not as a result of refusing to move.

Take a look at how well your industry is represented in your new location. If your industry is well-represented and your company fails, finding a new job will be easier. If your company is the only game in town, then the loss of your job means relocating again. If you can make connections with employees from your new site, try to get a feel for morale in the workplace.


Balance Salary with Consumer Prices

Make sure that any salary bump is enough to cover changes in your cost of living. Be creative because it may be that the new city is very expensive to live in, but has great public transportation. You may be able to ditch one financial responsibility in order to cover a gap due to changes in consumer prices. Housing is just a part of cost of living. You will need to look at groceries, utilities, transportation, health care, child care, and the cost of leisure activities. Use a cost-of-living calculator to help make crunching the numbers a little easier and more objective. You can also speak to a local real estate company, such as Taylors, to get an idea of housing costs as well as transportation and miscellaneous expenses.


Explore the Work/Life Balance

If at all possible, visit the new city before accepting the position to get a feel for how much you will like the job and the lifestyle. Try to get a feel for what your day-to-day life will be like by testing your commute, figuring out what the weather is like, looking at shopping and entertainment options, and assessing whether the people who live in your new city are “your kind of people.” If at all possible, spend some time in your new workplace and see what it is like. This can be hard to do, but is well worth the time and effort if the company will accommodate.


Be Objective

There is nothing wrong with letting a little emotion factor in to your decision, you just don’t want it to be your only guiding principle. The goal of an objective assessment isn’t to completely exclude emotion, but rather to be realistic about whether your emotions match reality. For instance, you may fall in love with the weather in your new city or become enamoured of the beach, just don’t let that single factor overwhelm other facts like an outrageous cost of living, a company on shaky financial ground, or frazzled workmates. Make a list of the pros and cons and, if you have time, put the list away for a week or two before using it to make a decision.


Isabel Parkes works for a global blue chip and has experience of executive relocation. She likes to share her ideas with an online audience on a variety of work and career topics and is a regular online contributor for a variety of relevant websites.


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