There are many reasons why a person may need to pick up and relocate to a completely new area, and chiefly among them is a change in jobs. Whether you are considering transferring to a new city within your existing company, or changing companies altogether and relocating for better opportunities elsewhere, there are a few things you should consider before pulling up stakes and heading out.
Here are 10 of the most important questions to ask yourself.
How Much Will This Cost?
It can be very difficult to accurately assess moving costs, as they tend to happen over a long period of time, as opposed to all at once on moving day. It’s true that the bulk of the spending will happen on the day that the truck is being loaded, but there are a lot of expenses to consider before and after your move – many of which are often overlooked.
For example, do you need to buy furniture, appliances or utensils to make your new home functional? These purchases usually start when the move is still a few weeks away, so that when you arrive at your new location, you can begin setting up your home. Try to get a ballpark estimate of what you will be spending on furnishings, and remember to account for the extra cost.
And don’t forget that utility companies charge extra to either switch over or begin your service to a new location. All of these “one-time fees” can pile up and wind up costing several hundred dollars by the time it’s all said and done. Ask about these fees as you call utility companies, so you won’t be caught off guard.
Lastly, find out how much, if any, your new job is willing to help cover these expenses. If the move itself will end up putting you in a large amount of debt just to get there, it may not ultimately be worth it. Most companies understand the challenges and expenses associated with moving, and many offer employees a stipend to compensate.
Is the Company Financially Secure?
It’s been known to happen: someone picks up and moves all the way across the country only to find that their company folds up less than a year later. This one can be a bit tricky to assess, and certainly bringing it up directly with your superiors might be awkward.
Try to do some investigating on the company’s past performance, and make your decision based on that. If you’re seeing too many signs of struggle, it might not be in your best interest. The success of startup companies is a bit of a different situation, and can be hard to predict, so you’ll have to make a decision without much data to go on.
Ultimately, this is a very personal decision. Struggling companies don’t always fold, and successful companies don’t always stay in business. You’ll have to weigh the company’s future against your own career goals, and go from there.
How Will this Affect Your Relationship?
Moving out of your home state, or even across several states is typically easier if you’re single. This is not to say it’s impossible for a couple to move far away, but it does add a whole new layer of logistical questions into the mix.
For one thing, will the two of you be able to move at the same time, or will career or family obligations keep one person back home for longer? Long distance relationships are as unique as the people in them, so there’s no telling whether they will or won’t work. However most people would agree that it’s much easier to be closer to each other.
There are also your partner’s job prospects to consider. You may have landed a great opportunity in a new place, but is there anything like that there for them? These questions (and more) will have to be carefully considered before you decide.
How Will This Affect Your Kids?
Kids’ worlds tend to be a lot smaller than ours. As far as they know, their friends, their school and their neighborhood makes up most of it, and taking them away from that can be tricky. For the most part, kids don’t take the news well at first.
Of course, many times, people choose to accept jobs far away specifically because they have kids. These new career opportunities might mean better schools, safer neighborhoods and more stability for your children. In these cases, the transition will be rough, but ultimately worth it for you and your kids.
Just make sure that wherever you land, you’ll have some support in place. Right now, you might live close to relatives or friends who can help you out with the kids in an emergency. If you move away, will you lose that? What’s your contingency plan? Will childcare costs outpace any pay bump you’re getting by making this move?
You could be losing more than you’re gaining, so just be sure this is the best choice for everyone.
Are You Familiar With the Area (and Will You Have Opportunities to Check it Out?)
Being plunked down in the middle of a new town means you have to start over from square one. You’ll have to find out about the important things like local hospitals and where your office is, but also the less pressing matters like where the good pizza shops are.
Before agreeing to any job, visit the new location, and see how you like it. The last thing you will want to find out is that your new town feels too isolated, unsafe, or crowded for your personal tastes, after you have turned the key on your new home.
It’s one thing to research a new town on the internet, and it’s quite another to spend a few hours walking around and seeing it for yourself.
Are You Prepared for Different Weather/Traffic/Cultural Changes?
If you have lived in a small town all your life, the prospect of moving to a big city might seem exciting. But once the newness has worn off, are you still prepared for the day-to-day living differences?
Transportation differences can have a direct impact on your life. Perhaps you’re used to driving everywhere, but will now have to begin relying on public transportation. Can you navigate subway systems? Do you know what to do if you miss your train? Or, perhaps you have never had to deal with gridlocked traffic, but are now moving to an area of the country famous for it. This is not to say that the average person can’t handle these changes, but many people cite transportation issues as one of the main reasons for moving OUT of certain cities.
The weather is no small factor either. A person moving from the Southwest to New England will not have a real understanding of the term “lake effect snow” until after that first winter. On the other hand, someone moving from sunny Florida to rainy Oregon may have a very hard time adjusting to the lack of sunlight. Weather can greatly affect your mood for better or worse, so it is best to be prepared ahead of time.
Cultural differences can also come into play. A person moving to a more rural area of the country may be shocked to find the local grocery store closed on a Sunday. Someone making the opposite move may have real trouble sleeping at night due to the fact that cities never really quiet down. A complete change of scenery can be an adventure, or a disaster. It’s best to be honest with before committing to a change like this.
Have You Spoken to Anyone Else Who’s Made the Same Move?
Many companies draw talent from all over the country. If you were recruited from far away, odds are pretty good that some of your coworkers were too. If you have an opportunity, try to sit down with a few people (or at least exchange a few emails) to get a candid account of what their move was like for them. How did the company help them out, and were there any points where the company seem to get in the way? This is very valuable information.
At the very least, you will have some idea of how the process played out for other people. You will get good advice on mistakes to avoid as well as perks to take advantage of.
Will Your Cost of Living Change?
You may not realize how many things around you are priced according to where you live. You’ve probably noticed gas prices varying from town to town, but those differences can get bigger when we’re talking about state lines instead of township lines.
But gas prices are only the beginning. Your car insurance, your rent, and even the price of a burger might vary wildly, depending on where you live.
All these little price differences can add up, so it’s very important that you take them into account when weighing pros and cons. Sometimes, businesses offer what seems to be a huge pay raise, but when an increased cost of living is behind that bigger number, your lifestyle might not change much at all.
In other words, a person making 35k a year, and paying 1k per month on rent is in essentially the same boat as someone making 70k a year, and paying 2k per month in rent. Your salary may be going up, but your expenses might follow suit.
Can You Handle the Upheaval?
If you have lived in one place for a long time, you have, as they say, “put down roots.” You have a large network around you, but now it will need to be taken apart and reassembled in a new place. Some people can handle it better than others.
If you are moving to a completely new place where you have no friends or family, you really will be starting from square one. All of your social and emotional support will be left behind, and you will have to work to build it back up. Making new friends could take years, or it could happen over the course of one auspicious afternoon. The point is, are you prepared to accept the chance that it could go either way?
And let’s not forget about the other parts of your network that will have to be rebuilt. You will have to find a new doctor, a new insurance agent, a new grocery store, a new pharmacy, and even a new favorite take-out place. In many cases, you may even need to expand your network beyond where it was in your old town. If you have just bought your first home, you may suddenly find yourself in need of an oil company, a landscaper, an electrician, a plumber, etc.
Getting completely reestablished is a tall order, but if your new job offers you the opportunities and salary you are looking for, these inconveniences can be a small price to pay.
How Are You Getting There?
When you are moving out of a dorm and into an apartment, you can probably accomplish this with a pickup truck, and a few friends to help. However, a cross-country move is significantly more complicated. Whereas multiple trips are no problem in a crosstown move, when it comes to a cross-country move, you simply must get it right the first time.
This is why most people choose to find a reputable moving company to help with this huge job. It’s really important that you do your research here, if you go this route.
A moving company can make the prospect of getting from one state to another less nerve-racking. When you know that your belongings are being handled by professionals, you don’t have to worry as much, and can instead focus on establishing yourself in your new town, and at your new job.
You may be striking out on your own for the first time, but that doesn’t mean you personally need to haul everything yourself. Moving companies can offer everything from basic moving services up through packing services. If you need to transfer to this new job in a hurry, that might be extremely helpful.
People move for their jobs all the time. One thing that’s for sure: the more prepared you are, the easier this will be. Take all of these points into consideration before heading off to your new job. Best of luck to you in this new adventure!