You’ve just been offered the job that you’ve dreamed about ever since you were a pimply teenager, but there’s one problem-you’re going to have to relocate. Do you take the job and call up a moving company? Or keep looking for something great locally? Here are a few things to consider before you start packing your knick-knacks and dreaming about your new city.
The first thing that you need to think about is whether this move is the best next step in your career. An opportunity may sound good, but the day to day reality of the job may not turn out to be what you expected. It’s like ordering that awesome ‘as seen on TV’ Wonder Chopper and it turns out to be not so wonderful. Only, in this case, you’ll have moved across the country by the time you realize that things weren’t as advertised.
If you can, try to visit your new workplace beforehand and spend some time with your future boss and co-workers. Do you see yourself getting along with them and working well together? Find out what happened to the last person who was in your position. Did they leave the company or get promoted? If they left the company after a relatively short period of time, that might be a warning that the position or the work environment isn’t ideal. A little bit of detective work can go a long way.
Be sure to ask about opportunities for advancement in this new position so that you understand what your career trajectory might look like at the new company. What kind of projects will you be working on and will they help advance your career by giving you different kinds of experience, or more leadership opportunities?
Another question to consider is the financial shape the company is in. The last thing you want to do is move for a job only to find out the business is struggling and you could wind up going down with the ship.
Your dream job could become a nightmare if you hate the location you move to. After all, life is about more than just work. If you’re a ski bunny who spends every weekend on the slopes, you probably don’t want to move to a prairie town where the highest elevation is the overpass. Make sure that the cultural, recreational, and social aspects of your new community are a good fit.
Don’t forget to consider the cost of living in your potential future locale. While you might be salivating over the salary bump they offered you, but that could be eaten up by expenses if a bag of groceries costs half a days wages, or if you’ll have to pay a small fortune to rent a studio apartment. Look at things like the cost of heat, real estate, electricity, food, and provincial or municipal taxes. If it’s going to cost you significantly more for the same lifestyle, try negotiating for more pay.
If you're currently single and fancy free, then the decision to move for your job might seem relatively simple. But you’ll still be leaving behind a support network of friends and family and if your parents are older and might soon need help, you won’t be able to provide it. Also, you likely won’t know anyone when you arrive in your new city and it can be difficult to make new friends.
If you're in a relationship, you have to balance your desire to advance your career with your partner’s interests. If your significant other currently has a great job and the city that you're moving to doesn't have opportunities in his or her field, then the move might not be good for your family.
Similarly, uprooting your kids is a difficult choice to make. Some kids have an easier time making new friends than others. Also, it’s easier to make new friends when kids are younger. If you decide to move, work with a real estate agent to find neighbourhoods in your new city that are safe for raising kids and have good schools.
Let’s say you start your new job and a week in you’ve realized that your boss is a bully and the project they promised you you’d be leading has been given to someone else. Or maybe you discover that the company just experienced a huge loss and are likely to restructure you out of a job. Meanwhile, you’re stuck in a city where you don’t have a professional network sleeping on a futon surrounded by takeout containers.
Before you move, make sure that there are other companies you could work for in your new city so you have an idea of what the broader professional opportunities are for you there. If your only option is to work for the company offering you the new gig, it's important to understand the risks involved in moving.
Prepare yourself for anything by staying in touch with the professional network in your old city and finding new peers in your new one. Join associations and go to networking events for your field. Websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Meetup are great places to find networking opportunities as well.
Moving across country can be expensive, and it's important that you understand the costs involved and who will be left footing the bill. In addition to the expenses of the moving truck, if you currently own a home you'll also have to pay for things like real estate expenses, closing costs, and the purchase of a new home.
Many companies pay for your moving expenses but be sure you understand what costs are included and if there’s a limit to what they will cover. Maybe they only reimburse your costs if you use a specific moving company or maybe they go so far as covering the closing costs on your home if you have to sell it. Understanding what your new company offers in relocation benefits will help you figure out how far behind the move will set you financially and will help you make a decision about whether to take the job or not that's right for you.
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