Should You Relocate for a Job?

In a job market that still leaves something to be desired, the question on many professionals’ minds is, “should I relocate?”  Whether your current organization offers you a transfer that sounds too good to pass up or you receive an offer from an out-of-state (or out-of-country) firm that comes just as you were starting to get desperate, relocation is an issue that must be taken seriously – especially if you have a family that will be uprooted with you.

Of course, developing a list of pros and cons is a good move when making any major decision, but careful consideration of these five questions will also aid in your thought process.

Would you move there anyway?

If this job didn’t exist, is the area in question a place you’d ever want to go?  Think about what your regular daily routine will be like in the new location.  Do the pace of life and the amenities appeal to you?   How about the people, the culture, the weather, and the traffic?  Remember that a job is only one aspect of your life, and even work that you enjoy won’t be enough to overcome the distress of being stuck in a locale that’s not a good fit.

How will the move impact your family?

Relocations are easiest when you’re at a more flexible stage of life.  Once you have a family, however, you have to think about what your spouse will do in the new city.  Will he or she be able to get a good job too?  Is this area somewhere you can envision raising your children, complete with safe play areas and good schools?  Does the relocation involve moving away from extended family and friends who make life meaningful?

How much will it cost you?

Your new organization may or may not pay relocation costs (moving company, temporary housing, etc.), but a more important issue is whether you can afford to live in the new city.  How does your proposed salary compare with the cost-of-living?  For example, $75K goes a lot further in Columbus, OH than it does in Chicago, IL.  Ideally, you should be able to pay your monthly expenses while saving a decent amount for retirement.  In this day and age, living paycheck to paycheck is simply not sustainable.

What are your long-term opportunities in this new organization and city?

Relocating is serious business, and it’s not something you want to do repeatedly in a matter of a few years.  So before taking the plunge, you want to be sure that your new position offers strong professional development and the probability of advancement.  And in the event that things don’t work out the way you hope, will you be able to secure gainful employment in your industry and at your level?  No matter how great your new company is, you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket, and your career prospects will simply not be the same in a rural or declining area as they are in a major metropolitan area.

Have you relocated for a job?  Tell us about your experience in the comment section.

Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. Follow her @alevit.

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  • http://www.aussieoffice.co.uk/ JamesHarrison

    Relocating is never easy, but it might be an opportunity for you to grow. So it completely depend on scope and scale of your move. So take decision wisely keeping in mind family aspect, as family comes before work.

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  • Tom Gimbel

    I realize this post is geared more towards individuals who are currently employed, however it’s important to consider the other side of the coin….relocation is a great option for individiuals who are unemployed….Constraining a job search to a specific geographic region is not effective for finding a job. I share more in my blog post here: http://pastfive.typepad.com/pastfive/2012/02/relocation-a-viable-option-for-the-long-term-unemployed.html

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    Intuit QuickBase Reply:

    Thank you for sharing.

    [Reply]