Relocating for work is an exciting opportunity, but it’s also a big decision. Have you thought it all the way through?
Have you ever thought about relocating to a different city or even a different country for work? Depending on your situation, it might be a dream come true or it might fill you with anxiety.
Whether or not you are dying to get on the first plane out and continue your career in a new destination, there are some things to consider before you drop everything.
Think about pros and cons
The first thing you should do with any big decision is to always weigh out the pros and cons. It’s better still to do this on paper so that you can visualise the difference.
Are you moving for more money? A better job? Is there something about the location that you like? On the flip side, how far away will you be from your friends and family? Is the cost of living more expensive than what you’re used to?
Getting all of these thoughts down on paper in two lists will help straighten out the decision in your head. If you’re not sure about a lot of things, it’s time to move on to the next few points.
Know your new home
How familiar are you with the city or country that you’re moving to? No matter how close to home it might be, or whether or not you’ve been there on holidays, moving with a certain level of permanency brings about different considerations.
Do as much research as possible about the city you’re moving to. Think about everything from public transport and amenities, to cost of living and crime rates.
Consider all the knowledge you have about where you currently live and work, and see how much of that you know about your new destination. It might be less than you think. Social media is a great source of information for this.
Know your job
If you’re relocating to do the exact same job in the exact same company, lucky you – half the work is done. However, you should still do your research about the team you’ll be working with, your superiors and any other differences about your new office.
If you’re relocating for a new job, you’re going to need to do a lot more research. Learn about the company, the role, the team, the competitors and anything else you can.
Job satisfaction will play a huge role in your happiness as you move to a new place, especially if it’s the sole reason you’re moving.
Salary v cost of living
Again, this might be easier to know if you’re moving to a different office in the same company, or if your company operates on a set scale.
However, for a completely new role with a new salary, you should do your research about accommodation, transport, childcare and other such expenses that will add to your cost of living.
A massive salary jump in a country with a cost of living double to what you’re used to might not seem so shiny when you get there. You should also do your research into the tax levels in your new location.
How will you get there?
No, the answer we’re looking for here is not ‘by plane’. Have you factored in the cost of moving? What about the amount of time you will need to make the move and settle in?
Is your company contributing to your moving expenses? Have you thought about how you’re going to bring all your stuff with you?
It’s also worth considering how much of your stuff you’re bringing. If it’s a permanent move that involves selling up and buying a house over there, then the simple answer might be to bring it all.
However, if it’s only a year or two, you’re probably not going to bring everything with you. But where is the rest of your stuff going to go? Into storage? Are you keeping your current property? Make sure you’ve fully thought about this.
Learn about the admin
There’s more than just the physical action of moving that you need to think about. You also need to learn about how to set yourself up as an employee in your new place of work.
Many companies will help employees who are relocating to come and work for them, but it’s important that you read up on what you need to know so that you’re not left confused and caught out.
Think about work visas, taxes, registrations and other such systems associated with setting yourself up as a new employee in your new home and, once again, do diligent research.
Consider your family
This will go for both employees who have a spouse and children as well as those who are single. If you’re relocating and expecting to bring your family, you have to think about the implications for them. Do they want to move? Will there be work for your partner over there? What about school for your children?
For those who are moving alone, how far away will you be from your parents, siblings and extended family? How long will you be gone? How easy will it be to visit?
Make sure you discuss relocating with your nearest and dearest because, even if they’re not coming with you, your decision will affect them.
Visit your new home
If you can do so, try to visit your new location before you make the final decision. Like I said, even if you’ve been there before, you will look at a place with very different eyes if you know you’re going to live and work there.
There’s a chance that you’re moving somewhere too far or expensive for a scouting mission but, if at all possible, take the time to go and experience the transport and the area you’ll be working – and possibly living – in. Your new company might even bring you over to help you make your final decision.
Think about the long term
It can be hard to think so far ahead when you’re already trying to get your head around the near future, which involves uprooting your whole life and getting to grips with a new home (and possibly a new job).
However, when you’re thinking about relocating, you should think about how long you’re going to be there for. How long is your contract? Can you see yourself living there permanently? Would you build a life and family there?
Or is the end goal always going to be coming home eventually? This very important thought will dictate how you view the move and how much you’re willing to lay down roots. It might also be what makes your decision on whether or not to go at all.
Trust your gut
At the end of the day, our gut is very strong when it comes to making decisions. When you’re thinking about relocating, take a few minutes and listen to what it is telling you. Is it excited? Is it telling you it’s a bad idea?
Could it be giving you nerves and fear? Remember, fear isn’t necessarily the same as telling you not to go, so, if you acknowledge fear in your gut, dissect it and think about what is making you scared.
If you pull your fears apart and work towards alleviating them, you should be left with a solid gut feeling that’s telling you whether or not you should go for it.