How to navigate these 5 dilemmas when relocating for work

How to navigate these 5 dilemmas when relocating for work

The excitement of relocating for a new job can even make packing seem like an enjoyable task. But if there’s a top 10 list for best-laid plans gone awry, moving competes for first place with planning a wedding.

Relocating to another city for work is a different logistical beast than moving down the street. So you’ll want to prepare in advance to navigate these potential relocating dilemmas.

Work matters

It is financially prudent to have a plan in place that helps a trailing spouse or working age teen secure employment in the new locale.

  • Be proactive. Prior to the move unemployed adults should register with local personnel agencies and state sponsored career centers.
  • Ask current employers and colleagues for job referrals and written references.
  • Apply for jobs in the new location within a 90-day window of the move.
  • Have working age teenagers use the zip code of the new residence to search for and to apply online for jobs with teen-friendly employers.
  • Explore online work for older children and adults.
  • Research employment data at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). State, city and even neighborhood websites also offer information about employment.
  • Remember in addition to a paycheck, a job also offers professional and personal connections.

Money matters

After you eagerly agree to leave Chicago winters for sunny San Diego, avoid cost of living sticker shock by doing some research. In addition to knowing how much rent is near the beach, you should also research the price of auto insurance.

  • Negotiate a cost of living raise if your current salary is not on par with the relocation area.
  • Ask human resources for an advance on moving expenses. If they decline, ask how soon you will be reimbursed after the move.
  • Check with the moving company about discount packages they may have with local cable providers. Ask your current cable provider about transferring your “best-deal-ever” contract to the new location.
  • Know how “new” utilities will impact your finances. A move from Atlanta to Minneapolis should include budgeting for the cost of paying for heat from October to May.

Planes, trains and automobiles

Commute times, gas prices, auto insurance costs and access (or lack thereof) to public transportation can be time and money hogs. But there are things you can do to not let transportation issues put you on the road to relocation remorse.

  • Budget for annual travel (holidays, etc.) from the new location back to the old location.
  • Find out if there is public transportation that meets your specific needs. Before you rent in the suburbs, you should know that the last bus from the city is 6 p.m.! Verify in advance the fares, time and availability of public transportation for the routes your family will travel regularly.
  • Know how much it will cost to own, insure and maintain an automobile in the relocation state.  And while your car may not need snow tires in Dallas, you should probably budget for a set if you’re moving to Denver.
  • Know your options. Uber, Lyft and bike rental providers may not be available in smaller towns. Find out if the company offers employees ride-share and public transportation incentives.

Professional network building

Career advancement, continued employment and professional camaraderie are some of the benefits of networking. Which is why it’s important to build a professional network in the new location.

Business manners can differ by industry, region and by culture. So be prepared to tweak how you network in your new environment.

  • Cast a wide net. If you’re moving to a rural area or small town, find out if there are state or regional organizations you can join.
  • Ask your new coworkers how they network. Also ask them what networking practices are popular and what may be considered taboo (inviting a superior to happy hour).
  • Connect with If there isn’t a specific group for your profession, meet up with groups related to your industry.
  • Introduce yourself to people with an informal elevator pitch and a business card (when appropriate). “Hi, I’m Angela your new neighbor in 3C. I relocated here for a human resources position with XYZ Shipping Company.”
  • Become a member and volunteer. Networking opportunities abound with the Chamber of Commerce, PTA, fraternal groups, religious institutions and community organizations.

Culture and social norms

Be informed as to how your family’s quality of life may be affected by the cultural, political and social norms of the new hamlet. A visit prior to relocation is recommended. But there are ways to kick the tires at a distance.

  • Check the demographics of the relocation town. Online websites make it easy to drill down to population data by race, religion, profession, education, income, marital status and more.
  • Get an online subscription for the local newspaper to learn about the area’s politics, crime, employment and social values. Look for commentary about issues you have strong feelings about (daily coverage about the rewards of hunting should give an animal rights activist pause).
  • Know the pace. A small town may be ideal for raising children, but not a good fit for an active single. And while college towns are charming, they also come with the possibility of living next door to a fraternity house—yikes!
  • Prepare children for moving to environments where they will be in the minority due to race, religion, ability, culture, how they identify sexually or their parental unions (interracial, same gender or transgender).
  • Encourage children to share their concerns about how they feel the move will affect them. A recent study with black boys ages 11 to 17, done by the Department of Sociology at The Ohio State University, found that the boys felt more fearful in white neighborhoods and in neighborhoods of lesser economic stability than their own.