What would you do if you were offered a job opportunity in a different city, state, or country than where you are now? We both know firsthand what it is like to relocate for job opportunities. It can be fun and exciting, but moving for a job is a big decision and it’s definitely not something that should be taken lightly.
We have eight things you should take into consideration when you are thinking about moving for a job. These come from not just our own experiences, but from what we have learned from friends, family, and coworkers who have made a big move for work as well.
What is the opportunity?
The first thing you should think about before making a final decision is what is the actual opportunity. Will moving and taking this job be a big move up? Is it a small lateral movement? Or will you be in a very similar position with the same pay as you are now? Is it worth it to make the move, because moving takes a lot of time, effort, and money. Can you get the same experience or something similar where you are now?
You also have to weigh the opportunity with the effect the move will have on your extended family, your spouse, your kids, and your long term plans. These are important things to think about before jumping at the chance for a move.
What life stage are you in?
Another thing to consider is what stage of life you are in. Moving will most likely be much simpler and less risk if you are young, single, and debt free without many big payments. You have a lot more to consider in a move if you are in your late 30s, early 40s, married, with a mortgage and car payments, with 3 kids, pets, and you live close to relatives who help out a lot. So think about your risk tolerance and whether or not you are in a season of life that will make for a successful and positive move.
Is it a place you want to live in?
When moving for a job you can’t just think about the work you will be doing, you will be living there full time as well. Would you thrive in the location you are considering moving to? Think about the things you enjoy doing--what are your hobbies, what do you do on the weekends, what does your family like to do. Are these things realistic in the place you are considering?
If you need sunlight to be happy, you probably don’t want to move somewhere where it rains 70% of the time. If you like a bustling city atmosphere and you enjoy museums, restaurants, and bars you probably shouldn’t move somewhere out in the country, hours away from a city. What happens if the job falls through and you have to stay there for awhile, is it a place you would be happy in?
What is the quality of life there?
Going along with whether or not it is a place you want to live, you have to think about what your quality of life would be there. Now this is very subjective, what one person thinks is a good life may not work for someone else. But what do you need to have quality of life? What do you personally need to be happy, healthy, and comfortable?
It may be that you need good public transportation to get around. You may need good schools for your kids. You may value being near top rated, quality restaurants. Whatever things you need to have quality of life, make sure you have access to them where you are going.
Have a long term plan
It is important to have short term and long term plans when moving for a job. Think about where you want to be in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years. Where do you want to end up? Do you want to go explore the world for 5 years with different jobs and end up back in your hometown near family? Is the place you are moving to somewhere you want to end up? Or is it a place you only want to be for a couple of years?
Without a plan it is easy to get caught up chasing opportunities and by the time you stop to think about what you want, it may be too late or much more difficult to figure out.
Make sure it is not a knee jerk reaction
Moving is hard. It takes money, a lot of time, and effort. It is a big decision and for most of us, just jumping at an opportunity without thinking through it is not a good idea. It can be easy to get excited about a new adventure in a new city, but make sure you think through everything that will be impacted by your move. It is better to fully realize what you are getting yourself into ahead of time, then to jump to a decision, move somewhere and figure out you made a mistake.
Is there going to be a strain on your family or your relationships?
If you have a spouse, a partner, or kids it is very important to consider what they will be experiencing if you move. Will the move cause hardships for others in your family? Maybe your kids love the school they go to and they have a ton of friends they have known for years. Or it could be that your spouse or partner is giving up a good job to move with you. Perhaps you live close to your parents and siblings and this move will take you far away only allowing you to see them on holidays.
Talk with your family members, your kids, your spouse or partner. This is so important. If your family is unhappy, eventually you will be unhappy too. You want to make sure this move is a good decision for everyone involved.
Is it a place you are familiar with?
If you are considering moving to a whole new city, state, or country--have you been there before? If at all possible, you should visit a place before you move there. And remember spending a 3 day weekend in a new place is not the same as living there. If you can try to spend a couple weeks there. This is someplace you are going to live full time, you want to make sure it is a place you can be happy in. What happens if you get the job but a month or so later it doesn’t work out, or they have to lay you off. You want to make sure you aren’t stuck in a place you hate, that you just relocated to for a job.
If you are considering moving for a job or for job opportunities, take these eight questions we laid out and think all of the details through. How will this affect you, how will it affect your family, your kids, your future?
We don’t want to forget to mention the positives of moving for a job, while it can be a daunting life change it can also come with some great outcomes. Moving can be an adventure, it can be exciting, it will bring challenges that you can overcome, it can build confidence. And who knows you may find a place that you could not dream of leaving.
Moving for opportunities can be great, just make sure you think about the details, vet it out, and set yourself up for success.