You just got offered a great job, in a new city, new state, and far away from the life you currently live…so why would you relocate for it? Relocating is a lot like writing a research paper. Recently I relocated for a job and a lot of my friends and former colleagues thought I just packed up my nomadic lifestyle and decided to move. That is not what happened. I am a very organized individual and calculate my every move. My decision to relocate took me close to a year; deciding whether or not I was going to take the plunge and move from New York City to Northern Virginia. The factors I looked into were the economic growth, cutting edge urban planning, cost of living, job growth, culture, and scenic landscape in the area.
Rule #1: Plan ahead
Plan everything! I narrowed down my job search to a list of states I could see myself living in. I first looked at states closest to my home state, New York unfortunately in the states in which I was looking for a new job, I knew I could not obtain the salary I knew I deserved. I worked in the public sector then, and I was paid a public sector salary. Every time I asked for the salary that most individuals were making at my level, I would get that look from potential employers and they would ask, “why should I pay you more, when you are doing that job already for such a bargain price?” I would always give the same answer about working in the public sector. Nonetheless I was still not getting any job offers I could live. After multiple rounds of interviews I decided to broaden my search.
Rule # 2: Research
Research is an important key when deciding on whether to relocate or not. This article from Forbes, 20 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Relocate For A Job really helped me out. I also researched which state I wanted to live in. While I love New York and it will always be my home it is a very expensive state to live in, especially New York City. I was living paycheck to paycheck and was not happy with the financial insecurity. While looking at states I wanted to live in I looked at the top states for business as well as top states to live in list provided by CNBC, Business Insider, and Forbes. I researched housing in every area I applied for a job. I went on Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist and MILS. I also did a lot of research by calling various organizations to see what the young professional culture was like. Choose a state that is in an economic upturn–those states usually have growing career fields as well as a booming young professional culture.
Rule # 3- Plan how to meet new people
Moving to a new city for a job also means a new opportunity to meet new friends and expand your network. I looked at my current network while applying to jobs to see who I knew before I was going to move to a certain location. Look at local organizations, recreation centers and meetup groups like, Meetup. I saw the NOVA/DC area as a hip area for young people. All of my states that I looked at had similar social communities as well.
Rule # 4- PURGE
When relocating and moving you realize how much crap you actually own. I lived in a junior studio apartment and thought, “I have so much stuff.” That’s all it really was, just stuff! When purging and packing it is important to take into consideration what items you may have collected over the years that are really only pertinent to the place in which you currently live. For example my sister has made a couple of big moves in her life moving from one country to another, when she finally decided to move home from Israel she decided it was not important for her to take back with her a lot of the household items, toiletries, medications, and other U.S. products she had collected over the years while in Israel. This is an important factor especially if you are just one or two boxes away from the next size up on a u-haul. Moving also puts you in a unique state of mind, different than the usual spring cleaning state of mind. When packing up you always have in the back of your mind or in your subconscious the reality that after you throw this stuff into boxes it is going to have to come out and be put somewhere. If you find yourself putting together a box of non-priority items, or items you might not have to unpack when you get to your new home, it means you do not need that stuff and you should get rid of it. Remember moving is a chance for a new start, not just a transplant of your old life in new grounds, if your budget allows use this opportunity to really redecorate your life (new bathmats, curtains, linens, maybe even dishes too).
Rule # 5- Plan financially
First calculate the total cost of your move. How much is it going to cost to rent a truck, find a place, travel, moving materials, labor, and all the other nuts and bolts? Also remember that you have a couple of tax write offs when you move. You can write off your job search expenses, your move for your new job, and depending on how permanent a stay you are planning you might even be able to write off your home ownership. This article from Mashable is very resourceful for learning about what tax benefits you can receive when moving to a new job. The next question you should ask is, will my cost of living go up? The answer for me was easy; NYC has one of the highest costs of living, so anywhere I moved to would definitely have a lower cost of living. Finally you should ask yourself before taking the job “what kind of financial shape is the company in? “If the job’s duties read like a wish list of everything you have always wanted professionally, but if the company is just getting off the ground or has struggled financially in the past, this should be an indicator for you to take a step back and reevaluate the offer.
Rule #6- Give yourself time to settle in before starting your new job
I did not do this and I regret not taking a break between my prior employments to my new job. I only gave myself a week to move down to Virginia from NYC. This was not that bad considering I only have four pieces of furniture. Though I look like a bohemian because I have no couch, dining room table, and am still not unpacked (well my books aren’t) because of lack of bookshelves, I am still very happy and glad I made the change. I would have liked to have a bigger break.
So there you go – I hope this helps take some stress out of your impending job relocation.
About the Author
Rachel is a native NYer who has ventured down south to be part of the incredible APUS Team. She is a Tweet-aholic as well as digital native. When she is not experimenting in the kitchen, listening to records, or reading whatever she can get her hands on she likes to volunteer her time to various causes and community events to try and make the world a little better then how she received it. She’s also a political junkie and pop culture savant.
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