Congratulations, you received an attractive job offer! You’re excited but, at the same time, not sure you want to make such a big transition. It’s not easy to pick up and move during these times, but we have put together a guide of 6 considerations that will help you think strategically about whether this is the right step for you.
1. Consider your Family Situation
If you are single and unattached the decision might be easier as you should have greater flexibility when you are the sole person impacted by the move. However, if you have a family, their needs are a big factor in the decision. An important consideration is the employment prospects of your partner in the new area. Does the job market offer good opportunities in your partner’s chosen career or will s/he struggle to find suitable employment? Review job boards to review employment options well in advance of the planned move.
If you have children, you will need to research educational options and visit public and private schools, taking note not only of academic rigor but opportunities for extracurricular activities.
2. Consider the Cost of Living
Even if your new job represents a promotion, the monetary increase won’t make much of a difference if the cost of living is excessively high. Conduct research on the area in terms of housing, property and school taxes, and income taxes. If you are making a lateral move in terms of title, the facility should offer a salary increase to offset the higher cost of living in the new location. An example would be a candidate who receives a salary increase because s/he is relocating from Milwaukee to San Francisco, where goods and services are more expensive.
If you are considering moving to another state to accept a new job, research cost-of-living indexes to evaluate the suitability of the salary offer relative to your current income and standard of living. Keep in mind that housing, food, and taxes vary not only between states but between diverse regions within one state. Your income will go further in those cities, regions, and states with a lower cost of living. Conversely, living in an area with a higher cost of living will mean that your family has less disposable income and less savings after paying for basic costs.
Aside from negotiating base salary, ask about sign-on bonus and how it is paid; most employers require a new employee to be with the facility for a certain period of time (typically 3 months) before the bonus is paid.
3. Consider your finances
As you moved through the hiring process, the issue of relocation assistance was likely mentioned. When a facility offers the job to a candidate more than 50 miles from his or her current work location, they may offer a relocation package. This usually covers the employee’s reasonable moving and related expenses; e.g. cost of movers; paying the lease-break penalty; providing 30 days of temporary housing. By offering a relocation package, employers seek to relieve the new employee and their family of the financial burden of relocation. A well-developed relocation package not only provides an incentive for the candidate to accept the job offer but also reflects positively on the company’s reputation for attracting top talent.
4. Consider the Stress Factor of a Big Move
Don’t downplay the significant negative impact stress can have on both your health and emotional well-being. A successful relocation involves many moving parts, from identifying housing to calling movers to connecting utility services, enrolling children in school, and let’s not forget the job of packing! A moving checklist broken down into categories is a great way to organize the move into a step-by-step process so that you tackle only one part at a time.
5. Consider the Weather
If you are a sun worshipper, think twice about moving to a locale in a colder area. Aside from having to acclimate to the harsher conditions, it also means making a significant investment in winter clothes for you and your family, as well as considerably higher heating costs.
6. Consider the Culture
You likely visited the facility during the hiring process but probably didn't spend a large amount of time exploring the community. It’s a good idea to return to the location with your family and/or friends as tourists and take in the attractions, restaurants, entertainment options, culture and overall vibe. Is it an area where you can see yourself living for a period of time? Are you comfortable with the pace of life? Talk with future colleagues for recommendations on things to do. Ask what they like best about the area (and the company!) Are they happy to be living and working there? This is a valuable way to make new friends before you officially arrive.
Relocating for a new job can be a stressful experience for you and your family. However, by carefully considering your particular situation and evaluating the pros and cons of the move in terms of the 6 considerations outlined above, you will reach a clear decision -- even if that means to forgo the offer and bloom where you’re planted!