The Ultimate Checklist For Moving For a New Job
The opportunity to relocate to a new city for a new job can be both incredibly exciting and incredibly intimidating.
There are just so many things to think of, think through and plan out when relocating for your career, and the adjustments continue after you arrive and settle into your new home and workplace.
This process doesn’t have to be overwhelming, so long as you are aware of the pressing questions that you need to answer, and the kinds of nitty-gritty details you have to understand.
It’s this knowledge that will inform your decisions whether to move or not, and will help you make the right choice.
As someone who has moved twice to take on a new role, this process definitely isn’t easy, but appropriate planning and foresight can take a lot of the stress and difficulty out of it.
With that in mind, I’ve drawn up a comprehensive checklist of questions things you need to know and plan for.
- What’s your motive behind relocation?
- Always imagine what your next role after this one is going to be — where is it located? What responsibility will it entail? Does it make sense for your ultimate career goals? If you don’t have an idea what that next role will be, reconsider whether relocation is the right decision for you at this time.
- New boss — You may love your boss now. If so then leaving for an unknown new supervisor can be risky — or it could be great for you and your career.
- Is it a promotion? After this promotion is another one possible? Are there plans to move back? Are you moving to head office or is this a remote location for you to potentially manage? Sometimes employers send employees away for a short stint to in essence ‘prove themselves’ and may keep them there or bring them back for a higher level role.
- Ask others in your organization who have relocated for their advice — what worked? What didn’t? This will give you insight into the process specific to your company or organization.
- Cost of living — what are housing prices like?
- Will you rent or buy? What are property taxes like?
- Is your spouse able to find a job?
- Is your salary going to reflect the cost of living there? This is an ideal time for salary re-negotiation. For example, if moving from rural New Brunswick to Toronto you would need a substantial salary bump in line with the higher living costs.
- Do you need an additional car? Can you sell your current car?
- Is your work covering your relocation fees? Make sure this is negotiated in advance — include moving fees, staging fees, realtor fees, legal costs, potential storage fees for furniture.
- In your new home, how much new furniture do you need? Sneaky stuff like blinds are very expensive.
Family / Lifestyle
- Is your immediate family all moving with you? Is this a stint where you’d be gone for the week and home on weekends? What does that look like for your relationships?
- Research the best locations in the new city/town to live, examine the amenities and what is important for you and your family — don’t just pick a house or apartment location close to work.
- Where does your extended family live? Are you leaving a place where you have lots of help with your kids and Sunday night dinners?
- How far is it to get back to your extended family if they need you — does it require booking a flight or just a 2 hour drive?
- What are the schools like for your children? How will this move impact them?
- The new location may be an opportunity to choose a housing location where you can start walking to work. Conversely, maybe your new workplace is in a less desirable area and having your home in a neighbouring town makes more sense for your family.
- Is your new hometown an attractive destination for your friends and family to visit?
I think this is vastly underestimated. We get excited with the prospect of a new role and forget about the new norms and patterns we need to establish, while underestimating those from our previous workplace/social life. It gets harder as we get older to re-establish these. It’s not university anymore, and not everyone is looking to make new friends. In my experience people make their best friends in university or when they have their first child.
- Join interest groups, connect with Facebook groups to find like-minded people (eg, young mothers in your new town), join fitness club, get a hairdresser (they have great local tips!), go out to restaurants and coffee shops, get involved at your children’s schools. The sooner you learn the ins and the outs of the new area the better.
- Careful of what you say to others during social chit chat — realize if you’re moving to a small town, everyone knows everyone and saying you had a bad latte at a certain coffee shop could be social suicide if that person knows the owner. Also realize people are talking about the new people who moved here and know more about you than you realize.
- Ask questions and be positive about the move — no one wants to hear you bashing the United States, for example, if you move there.
Keep in mind a major move will take time
You need to consider all of these variables together when making big decisions like relocating for a role. As someone who has relocated for a role twice, it takes roughly 3 years to really feel part of your new city/town. Year 1 is still telling everyone you just moved here, year 2 is having knowledge of where to go/what’s fun and year 3 is finally feeling integrated and part of the community.
As you can tell the decision to relocate for your job (or that of your partner/spouse) isn’t to be taken lightly. It’s easy to get caught-up in the excitement of thinking about a new or more senior position, the feeling of adventure that can come with moving to a new city or town, the chance to do something new and break out of our day-to-day routines.
Those can all be good reasons to make a move, but to make sure your decision is really right for you, your family and your career, make sure you take the time to think through all the factors, angles and implication of the change.