Moving for a job is by no means a small decision. Before you pack your bags, uproot your entire life, and relocate to an entirely different corner of the country (or world!), it’s important to give some serious consideration to whether or not moving for work is the best thing for you.
But this is where most people get stuck. There are both logical and emotional factors at play in your decision-making process, which makes identifying the best way forward that much trickier.
Fortunately, we’ve pulled together a few thought-provoking questions (for both you and your potential new employer!) to help you think through your options and determine whether you should stay or go.
1. What are the pros and cons of relocating?
This first question is a big one. But if you take the time to sort through your answer, it can offer some much-needed clarity about whether or not a move is a good next step.
Sit down with a notepad and jot down all of the different benefits and drawbacks that come along with relocating. Perhaps you’re excited about exploring a new city, and that area is a hotbed for your industry. But, maybe you’re also dreading moving away from your friends and family, and that city has a much higher cost of living than you’re used to.
Getting the positives and negatives into separate columns might not always clearly illuminate your final choice. However, it will help you give the decision the thorough consideration it deserves.
2. What excites me most about that position?
When you’re considering moving for a specific job, it better be a role that you’re excited about. Think through some of the different aspects of that position that really appeal to you.
If you’re struggling to think of reasons why that job is a good fit for you? That might be an indicator that you’re simply desperate for new employment — which isn’t necessarily the best reason to pack up and move your entire life.
3. What is the cost of living in that new city?
You knew finances had to come into play somewhere. While that offered salary might seem like a big step up, it’s important that you compare it with the average cost of living in your prospective new city.
Will your rent almost triple? Will you have to foot the bill for costs you didn’t previously have to worry about — such as parking or public transportation? Those are important considerations to make before jumping in with both feet!
4. How well do I cope with change?
There’s no way around it — making a move for employment is a big transition. For those who are thrilled with new opportunities and uncertainty, it’s exciting. But for creatures of habit who thrive in their normal routines? A move for work can feel overwhelming.
Take some time to reflect on your previous experiences and how you’ve coped with big changes in the past. Is a sizable shift exciting to you? Or is it a cause for major anxiety?
Getting a feel for how you typically respond to big life events like this will help you determine if your relocation would be cause for excitement or dread.
5. What will I do if the move doesn’t work out?
I know, you don’t want to think negatively. But mapping out a backup plan doesn’t necessarily make you a pessimist — it makes you prepared.
What if you hate your new job or you just can’t get used to life in your new city? What if that startup you went to work for suddenly goes belly-up? What if circumstances change and you need to move closer to friends and family?
You can’t plan for everything — and you don’t necessarily want to assume the worst. But if you’re feeling anxious about the move, figuring out what you’ll do if things don’t work out can provide some added peace of mind.
Ask your potential employer…
6. Do you offer reimbursement for relocation expenses?
Moving is expensive, and it’s nice if some of that financial burden can be offset by your new employer. Many companies — particularly those that actively pursue talent from all over — offer reimbursement for relocation-related expenses.
If you’re seriously considering accepting this opportunity, it’s worth asking about whether or not your prospective employer provides anything similar. When you need to foot the bill for everything from UHauls to security deposits, every little bit helps!
7. What is the path for advancement within the company?
Thinking more long-term, you also want to consider what your future could look like as an employee with this company. Is there room for growth and a clear path for advancement? Or is this a role you would work for a year or two before deciding it was time to move on to something else?
Changing locations is a lot of work. So, unless you’re someone who’s thrilled with the prospect of packing up for the next destination every year or so, it’s important to get a solid understanding of what sort of development you can get at this job — whether it’s far away or not!
8. How would you describe the company culture?
How you feel about your work can have a huge impact on how you approach the rest of your life. Chances are, if you don’t feel like you fit in at the office, that will color your perception of your new city as a whole. And since the office is a great place to make some friends when you’re new in town, not meshing with the company culture can make things that much tougher.
While it can be difficult to get a good sense of the work environment before you sign on the dotted line of that offer letter, do your best to get a feel for what sort of qualities that culture embodies.
The more you can attempt to discern whether or not you’d fit in and feel comfortable, the more confident you’ll feel in your decision about whether or not to make the move.
9. Do you have any resources for people who are new to the area?
Finally, ask your prospective employer if they provide any resources for people who have just relocated. Maybe it’s something as simple as a packet of helpful information. Or perhaps they have various employee groups that would be a great way for you to meet new people and figure out your way around.
Knowing that you have some support in your new city can go a long way in making your potential big move a little less anxiety-inducing.