Moving for Work: Things to Consider

Your boss has just delivered some exciting news- the company is opening a new location in a different state and they want YOU to be the head of your department.  You’re flattered, but also hesitant.  Moving for a job, whether it be within your current company, or recruited for a brand new opportunity can be daunting.  Before you commit, there are some important factors to consider and questions to ask yourself to make sure it is the best decision for you.

  1. How will the move affect those around you? If you’re single and childless, with no other ties to your current location, this may be a non-issue.  However, if you have a spouse and/or children, there are additional issues to consider.  Does your spouse have a lucrative career that would prevent him/her from moving?  Are your kids in the middle of a school year and uprooting them could possibly cause issues?  It is best to have sit-down talk with your family to determine if the move is in the best interest of everyone, and if it’s not, you should probably decline the opportunity.
  2. Weigh out the benefits of the new position. If you are simply transferring within your current company, is there any clear cut benefit of moving?  For example, will you have a more prestigious title or better pay?  Even if you won’t see an instant benefit, perhaps there is more room for growth at the different location offered, and that may be just enough incentive to move.  If you are considering a career change, what makes this new company a better fit?  As hard to believe as it may be, sometimes taking a pay cut to do something you love will greatly increase your quality of life.
  3. Will the company cover your relocation expenses? Moving can be expensive, especially if you need to enlist the help of professionals.  If your company will cover the expenses, find out if you get a say in selecting the moving company.  It can be a little worrying to hand over your belongings to complete strangers, so it’s much better if you can choose a company you trust.  If they won’t cover any expenses, perform a cost-benefit analysis to make sure the move’s benefits outweigh the financial sacrifice.
  4. Research cost of living at your possible new location. Some pay increases are only truly impactful if your cost of living stays the same or goes down.  If you find that rent or mortgages are drastically more expensive, gas is through the roof, and day-to-day expenses in general are higher, then maybe the move is not a worthwhile endeavor.  However, if the company intends to compensate you accordingly, then it may still be a great opportunity.
  5. Find out how others have handled similar transitions. Perhaps there have been others in the company that have gone before you and you can pick their brain regarding the move.  If not, try doing an online search using the word “relocation” paired with your new city and state.  There are numerous online forums where people document their experiences, so that you can get a better idea of what to expect.  Research the weather as well.  If you are moving from a sunny Southern California with little to no seasonal fluctuations to the Midwest, you will experience quite a shock with the extreme changes in temperature and weather patterns over the course of the year.
  6. Finally, can you visit the new location before making a commitment? If you can plan a trip beforehand to fully immerse yourself in the area and get a feel for what to expect, it will probably be the most accurate indicator of if the move will work for you.  Be sure to tour the place that you will be working, especially if it is a new company, so you know what to expect in terms of working conditions.  Go with your gut, and make sure the move feels right before signing a new contract or agreeing to this important commitment.

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