Moving for a new job — or at the request of your current employer — can either be an exciting or terrifying prospect. For some, getting to know a new city and possibly getting a pay bump along the way are big incentives to say yes. For others, change and uncertainty can leave them feeling anxious.
Before you accept or decline, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to make sure you’re making the right move.
1. Will I like the job?
Whether or not you’re excited about the prospect of moving, you’ll spend a big part of your waking moments at work. Loving your job can make up for concerns about how you’ll spend the rest of your time. But it can be hard to compensate during off-hours when the job is a bad fit.
As a backup plan, do some research on the job market in the new city as a whole. If things go south with the job, you’ll have more peace of mind knowing that you have other options.
2. What’s the cost of living?
It doesn’t matter if you’re getting a salary increase or taking a pay cut; what really matters is how to cost of living compares to your current situation.
For example, if you’re getting a 10 percent pay bump but your cost of living will go up 20 percent, you’re essentially losing money with the change. On the flip side, say you take a 10 percent pay cut to move to a rural area where the cost of living is 20 percent lower than where you currently live. You’ll be technically making more money.
Use an online cost of living calculator to get an idea of the difference and put your money situation in perspective.
3. Who will pay for the move?
Uprooting your whole life and transporting it to a new city can be pricey, especially if you’re moving across the country.
Some companies are more than happy to cover most, if not all, of your moving expenses. This perk makes it less of a sacrifice for you. If, however, the employer won’t pay to help you move, consider how paying out of pocket will affect you.
For starters, make sure you can manage the move financially. If you have to go into debt to make it work, it might not be worth it. It’s also important to consider the job offer and determine how a higher salary and better benefits might make up for the upfront costs.
4. Who else will be affected?
If you’re young and single, there will be minimal impact on others if you choose to relocate for a job. If, however, you’re dating someone or you have a family with kids, things can get more complicated.
If your partner works, that means he or she might need to find a new job in the new city. If you have kids, moving means starting over at a new school and needing to make new friends. For some kids, the transition can be devastating.
If relocating for a job impacts people you love, include them in the decision-making process. Make sure you understand how they’ll be affected and discuss how they feel about it. They might not ultimately approve of the change, but talking about it can resolve some concerns and foster understanding.
5. How is the area?
For some people, moving to a new city can be more jarring than they initially think. For example, if you’re a small-town resident moving to a big city, the exciting atmosphere can be dulled by insane traffic and safety concerns.
Also, note the differences in climate. If you’re used to getting lots of sun or mild temperatures throughout the year, moving to a city with frigid winters can be a shock. On the other hand, moving to an area with a more temperate climate than what you’re used to can make things easier in other areas.
These issues don’t have to be a deal-breaker, but knowing what you’re getting yourself into can help you manage the transition better.
Do Your Due Diligence
Regardless of which emotion you feel when you first receive the offer to move to a new city, don’t let that feeling decide for you. Take a step back and consider how relocating will impact your professional and personal life.
Analyze the different changes you’ll experience with the transition and note the different trade-offs you’ll need to make. The more time you spend gathering information, the easier it will be to either confirm or rebut your initial feeling.
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