Moving to a completely new area to start a new job can be terrifying and exhilarating in equal measures. Whether you are buzzing to get going or having an attack of the wobbly knees, what you have to be is prepared.
Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before deciding, once and for all, to take the plunge.
WHAT AM I LEAVING BEHIND?
You may have already drawn up a ‘pros and cons’ list and decided that the pros list was longer. However, people often underestimate the impact of the sacrifices they make during a career move. If you are leaving behind a spouse, children, pets or friends, even temporarily, try to imagine what that will feel like. Even the familiarity of your neighborhood and the weekly routine can cause pangs of homesickness.
Sure, you will enjoy kicking off a new career, exploring a strange city and meeting fascinating people but just ask yourself one final time – will that compensate for what you leave behind?
HAVE I DONE MY HOMEWORK?
There are two aspects to your research project: your new home and your new job. Have you done your due diligence on both? What is the cost of living in your new location and how does that fit with your new salary package? What are the employment prospects should you want to move on (it’s always best to have a Plan B)? Have you looked at crime rates, leisure facilities and, if relevant, schools?
In terms of your job, you should definitely spend some physical time in your new offices before making a final decision. Spend as much time with your boss and co-workers as possible to get a feel for the work culture. Pay attention to further career prospects. Are your ambitions likely to be supported? Are they realistic?
IS THE FAMILY REALLY ON BOARD?
Your loyal spouse and obedient children may say they are happy to help you fulfill your dreams but are they harboring reservations? If you are pumped up about the future they may feel uncomfortable about bringing up their concerns. Make sure they understand that their feelings and opinions are important to you. You may not be willing to say no to the career move of a lifetime but could you make a commitment to return to your former home twice a year to keep old ties alive? Compromise is better than the pain of family break-up when unspoken resentment is finally revealed.
HAVE YOU CLARIFIED YOUR MOVING ALLOWANCE?
If you are making an inter-company move, have you crossed the Is and dotted the Ts of your relocation package? Many companies will not only pay the moving costs but will help you to sell your home (although there could be a time limit involved). If your package isn’t that generous (or you don’t even have one), is this something that could be negotiated?
HOW CAN I MOVE EFFICIENTLY?
Most people find moving for a job is a stressful experience but there are lots of ways to make things go as smoothly as possible. First, lighten the load by selling, donating or, if you must, trashing items you no longer need. Then set up a number of systems to make your task run more efficiently. For example, follow a packing system (e.g. room-by-room or category-based) and use a clear, concise labeling system. Make sure you hire a reputable, licensed moving company and invest in quality packaging materials (not forgetting plenty of bubble wrap for packing fragile items). Remember to give friends, family and any important organizations your new address details and arrange for utilities and cable to be turned off at your old home and on at your new home so as to minimize overlap charges.
After covering these five questions you should know, once and for all, if a job move is the right step for you. Good luck with your future career!