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a different perspective on human capital

Relocating for Work: Creating a Game Plan


You’ve just accepted an offer for your dream job, and can’t wait to start–the only problem now is that the position is located in San Diego, and you’re based in Phoenix. Relocating for work, whether you’re only moving a few cities away, or you’re headed abroad, can be a stressful process. Time constraints, budgetary issues, and social anxiety can put a damper on what should be an exciting journey towards a new career. In this month’s blog post, we’ll outline a roadmap for making your move as smooth and comfortable as possible.

One of the biggest issues presented by relocation is time constraints. If you move for pleasure rather than business, you generally have time to evaluate all of the options: where to live, how to transport possessions from point A to point B, and so on. Relocating for a job tends to set the wheels in motion much faster, creating even more stress for a new employee. Lists and spreadsheets can be a godsend in these situations. Keep track of services that you’ll need to transfer or cancel when you transfer cities, such as cable, Internet, and electricity. If you’re planning to venture out to your new location right away and make a second trip in the future to load up your non-essentials, make a list of items that need to be included in the immediate move so that you’re not stranded without your tablet or Keurig. Create a gameplan as soon as your offer letter is signed so that you can add to and adjust your list as you prepare to make the move–check out this handy (and printable!) moving checklist from YouMoveMe.com as a starting point: https://www.youmoveme.com/us/moving-checklist

Finances can be another major stressor when relocating for your career. Depending on the distance, the cost of putting a security deposit on an apartment, renting a U-Haul or paying for air freight can be daunting. Some companies generously offer relocation support, but others either don’t openly advertise assistance or don’t offer it at all. Before asking, create a budget of all of the costs associated with moving, down to the nitty gritty details–will you be using a rental truck? Paying for gas? Is your furniture being shipped overseas via ocean carrier? Is the cost of living significantly higher in the city you’re moving to? Think of every single cost that will be incurred over the course of your journey so that you have a realistic number to give to your new employer when you inquire about relocation support.

An oft-overlooked aspect of relocating for work is social interaction. James Mollere, a friend of one of our Recruiting Coordinators who just relocated from New Orleans to Los Angeles for a career in the hospitality industry, stated that “the most stressful for me has definitely  been that I’ve never realized how much your basic knowledge of a place or geographical location helps you connect with people. I never know where my coworkers & clients are referring to. I’m also not used to timing of transportation and have had a few hiccups there since moving here. Unfortunately, I think the only thing that will help on this front is time.” If you’re fortunate enough to have friends or family in your new destination, they can be a major asset–ask them which neighborhoods are close to your new job, what are the best local bars and coffee shops, or where you should send your children to school–they may even be willing to help with unloading boxes or organizing your new home. Work can also be a great place to meet friends–tag along with your new team to Friday happy hour, or join the company charity committee or book club to seek out coworkers with common interests.

It’s important to do a thorough evaluation of the pros and cons of relocation before committing to moving for a job, but thousands of people do it every year. If you’ve decided you’re ready to make the move, make the transition as smooth as possible: stay organized, stick to your budget, and mentally prepare yourself to make new friends, or reach out to old ones. Stay focused on all of the positive aspects of moving–the thrill of getting to know a new location, meeting new people, and of course, your exciting new job! Have you ever relocated for work, and if so, what were some things you’d do differently next time?