If you are relocating for your job, chances are that this represents an opportunity for you. Whether it’s a new job with a new company, or a promotion within your current company, relocation and opportunity tend to go hand-in-hand.
At the same time, relocation can have an overarching impact on your entire life, and the lives of your spouse or partner, and your children. So, it is no wonder that relocation is considered to be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. In fact, it’s right on up there with death and divorce.
Consequently, it’s how you balance the opportunity and the associated stress that will ensure the best outcome, which ideally will result in a successful relocation.
Opportunity vs. Stress
At one end of the spectrum you have an opportunity and all of the excitement and positive energy that goes with it, while at the other end of the spectrum you are faced with a very challenging and stressful life event that has far reaching implications.
This is why it is critical for you to be able to weigh the pros and cons of a relocation on the front end, in order to determine whether a move is the right move for you and your family. And, if you do decide to make the move, it’s important for you to acknowledge that even under the most perfect conditions, that stress is guaranteed to be part of the journey. But, if you take an informed, analytical approach to the relocation, and manage your expectations and those of your family, this will help to minimize the stress.
Key Considerations and the Impact When Relocating
There are a number of key considerations that come into play when talking about relocation, and various potential challenges and/or benefits that go along with them. Some are specific to the job opportunity that has presented itself, and others are more personal by nature. Nonetheless, relocation will impact both the employee and family in numerous ways. The trick is to reduce the potential for negative impact. This can best be achieved by being well-informed of everything that the relocation entails, while maintaining a degree of flexibility and open-mindedness.
Let’s examine the key considerations and the potential impact of each.
- Cost of relocating. This is clearly the most important of all of the considerations, because relocating has to make good financial sense. So, make sure that you completely understand the opportunity that you are being offered, and what relocation benefits will be provided to you by your company. Likewise, you need to be fully aware of the expenses that you will be responsible for, and which ones you will be reimbursed for by your company. For example, will your company be providing home sale and home purchase assistance? What about the cost for household goods movers and your travel expenses? Make a list of all of the would-be expenses, and which costs will be covered, so that you will know what the move is going to cost you. Don’t forget that the cost of living could vary considerably from one location to another, which could also impact you financially.
- Career opportunity and advancement. Does this relocation represent a promotion, pay raise, and other benefits? And, is there potential for personal and professional growth? In many cases, relocation is the pathway to career growth and upward mobility within an organization. It’s also an opportunity to gain new experiences and expand your skillset. All of this can make you a more valuable employee to your organization. And, if it’s a relocation as a new hire with a new company, it could be an opportunity to do something different or broaden your knowledge within your field.
- Job security. Sometimes relocation is a move it or lose it proposition. In other words, if you want to keep your job, then you will have to make the move. This can happen in group move situations, when a company decides to relocate its headquarters or a particular division or office. In so doing, relocation opportunities will be offered to a number of employees. Thus, making the move means that you get to keep your job.
- Quality of life. This is a big one. You need to think about how your quality of life will change or be affected in your new location. Do you think it will likely be improved, or do you fear that the move will negatively impact your quality of life? This is not always an easy question to answer, because it is somewhat nuanced. Some people are excited by the changes that often come with moving to a new place, while others seek to replicate the life they are leaving behind. It’s different for everyone, so make sure that the aspects of your lifestyle that are most important to you and your family can be found in your new location. If not, then you will have a difficult time adjusting and finding your place within your new community.
- Housing. This goes hand-in-hand with the costs associated with relocation, and the quality of life that you seek for you and your family. So, you will want to research areas and neighborhoods, and work with a Realtor who can show you around and orient you to the new city. The Realtor will be especially helpful in providing local market knowledge and expertise about the neighborhoods and properties that meet your criteria. In addition, the Realtor can tell you how different locations can impact your commute time and answer other questions that you might have. Depending on your situation, you might want to weigh the options of leasing a property versus purchasing a property.
- Uprooting your family. At the very heart of the relocation is the fact that you are uprooting yourself and your family. Naturally, the impact of that alone is huge. You are leaving your friends and everything that is familiar and comfortable to you, to embark on the unknown. There are no guarantees with the unknown, so you are taking a chance, and asking your family to take a chance with you. That can be very daunting. An obvious question for most people is: What if the job or the new city doesn’t work out? That’s a question that you need to be asking yourself at the onset of this opportunity. And it might naturally lead to this question: What’s my Plan B? This doesn’t mean that you are predicting doom; it just means that you are being practical and looking at the relocation from all angles.
- Career of spouse or partner. Dual-career couples are the norm today. As such, when one spouse or partner accepts a relocation for his or her career, it can cause a disruption to the other spouse or partner, significantly impacting their own career. So, a lot of thought and research needs to go into the career opportunities of the spouse or partner in the new location. If the spouse or partner has difficulty finding a job in the new location, this could put a significant financial burden on the household. This is important research that you need to do sooner rather than later.
- Children’s needs. Your children will also have very specific needs and priorities that you will have to address. The top priority is typically daycare and schooling. Part of your research should include the school system and school districts in the new location. You will need to know which communities and neighborhoods are zoned to the schools that you would like for your children to be able to attend. Similarly, if they have particular hobbies or interests, you will want to see what the offerings are for those things in the new location.
Plan for the Unexpected
Always plan for the unexpected. This is where flexibility and open-mindedness come into play. There will be curve balls thrown your way, and it might seem like you are juggling a lot of different responsibilities all at the same time. But, trust us when we say that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
At VERSA, we understand how relocation can impact you and your family. And, it is our belief that the best defense is always a good offense. This means doing your due diligence, and asking all of the right questions upfront, so that there are few or no surprises thrown at you along the way. This strategy can go a long way in alleviating the stress that is often associated with relocation.
Do you have questions about relocating? If so, please contact us anytime!