At some point in your career – even when it’s just beginning – you may be presented with an opportunity to join an office in a new city, or state, or country. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of leaving your hometown for the bright lights of elsewhere. Maybe the prospect is horribly daunting to you, even if there’s a wonderful new job waiting for you there. Either way, the decision to relocate for professional reasons shouldn’t be entered into lightly.
1. How will the employer assist your relocation?
The company might sweeten their offer by reimbursing you for all or part of your moving expenses. Some will even go so far as to deal with a moving service on your behalf and pay them directly. In the best-case scenario, they will arrange for temporary accommodations while you wait to move into your new home. This all depends on the size of the company and how far you will have to travel. Feel free to ask the human resources staff for specifics, to help you figure out how much legwork you have to do yourself and how much time you will need before your start date.
2. What will your cost of living be?
Don’t be too swayed by the promise of a higher salary; it may not go as far in your new city as you’d like. In many top-tier cities, you will find it more difficult to save money, and will end up spending a higher percentage of your income on basic necessities, such as groceries and doctor’s visits. Use an online cost-of-living calculator to determine how much money it takes to maintain your lifestyle in your new city. If the company isn’t offering what you’ll need, this will help you argue for more.
3. What are your housing and transportation options?
Often, the company will arrange for you to visit your new city and look for a new place to live. Before then, they will want to know which neighborhoods are suitable for you and your family so they can tell a realtor where to take you. This will depend a great deal on how you plan to get to the office and how far you are willing to commute every day. If you have children, this will also depend on where quality schools are located. Look into how people in your new city get around, where their children learn, and what kind of home you can get for your money with those factors in mind.
4. How will you spend your off-work hours?
You’ll likely feel like a tourist when you first arrive. But how quickly will you run out of brand-new experiences to take in? And how much will this matter to you and your family? The possibility of a wonderful new job may not make up for the likelihood of feeling restless and bored within a few weeks’ time. You need to feel like you can live in your new city, not just work there, especially if you’re at a stage in your life when it’s important to put down roots. Otherwise, you may find yourself repeating the process all over again two years from now.
5. What if you’re moving to a new country?
If you’ve applied for a job that would require an international move, you won’t see an offer unless the company is satisfied that you’re eligible for immigration. If you are, you can expect to be asked for a lot of documentation: your passport, résumé, offer letter, birth certificate, criminal background check, and personal references, all of which will go to a law firm that will deal with immigration authorities on your behalf. And once all of your info is in order, you’ll have to wait for acceptance and processing, which may take weeks or even months. Nobody likes dealing with bureaucracies, but you’ll have to steel yourself for a lot of this if you’re changing countries.