Evaluating the Risk of Relocating to a New City for Work

We as business professionals and entrepreneurs have a duty to ourselves, not only to excel in the workplace but in our social lives as well. Eight years ago I moved to Phoenix, Arizona from Des Moines, Iowa; let me tell you I had a bit of an adjustment. I now know the struggles that accompany moving to a new city, finding a new job and making new friends. If you are contemplating moving to a new city, let me help you as I have first hand experience.

You’re probably thinking; what is there to do in Iowa? Well, not much. Des Moines is a pretty small metro area and Phoenix is the 6th largest city in the nation. I’m sure you can imagine the changes in lifestyle, but I’ll go ahead and tell you a few. Speaking directly from personal experience, you can make the move and become even more successful too!

The Work:

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So you may have been approached by your current company and asked to relocate, the first thing I would do is make sure all ‘knowns’ are out on the table. Is your company going to pay for relocation expenses? This includes first and last months rent at your new place, the required security deposit, a truck rental, gas, food and travel expenses, providing a laptop if working remotely, internet setup and bill, higher salary due to potential increased cost of living, etc.

If your company is not prepared to discuss these terms, I suggest you re-evaluate the corporate relocation offering and at least begin to negotiate some of these options.

“PRO TIP: When negotiating moving expenses and relocation options, put your best foot forward and make sure to suggest some type of bonus structure for achieving milestones, goals and KPI’s – afterall, they’re the ones who asked you to relocate, am I right?”

If you are looking for a new job/career path like I was, you will most likely be paying for all expenses upfront, and on your own. Before moving, I strongly suggest finding reputable companies in the city you are relocating to and sending out your resume to the most promising ones. You can include some local companies or startups in the mix, but I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket. As a business professional, do not forget to attach a cover letter. Companies want to know what you’re all about, it makes you look like an organized professional and of course you want the best fit for a new career; it’s a win / win / win.

The Risk:
Seriously, have a backup plan lined up. You could get to your new city, start your first week of the job and find out that it isn’t what you expected, and now you want out. Don’t get caught with your pants down, I almost did.  Here is a post Forbes put up last year, it’s pretty straight forward and has good information which you should ask yourself most of these questions before relocating for a job.

I suggest doing even more due diligence before you move, and push out your resume to multiple qualified employers. If you have secured an interview (or a job for that matter), let the other job replies sit in your inbox – most businesses understand that you have been moving over the last week and are still getting situated. If they even question it, say you had to wait 3-5 days for your utilities to get setup. They know what it is like to move and are usually pretty forgiving; if they truly want you, they can wait.

The Life:

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Once the negotiations are done (or interviews are lined up); you need to find a place to live, plain and simple. Don’t forget about your pets; make sure little Scruffy will be allowed in your new place before signing a lease.

If you’re moving to a big city, make sure your ready for big city life, it is much different than living in small towns where people know you by name.

Deal breaker alert! Ask yourself, “How is this going to impact my social life?” Are you in a relationship? Can you see yourself being married to this person? This may sound bad, but I actually created a T chart of ‘pros VS cons’ on whether I should move to Phoenix, and/or if I even suggest she come with me. Just to be transparent, she didn’t come with.

The Rewards:
This is probably one of the most important aspects of relocating to a new city for a new position or company. Here are just a few starter questions to ask yourself. Will this move make my life better? Am I ready to be 100% on my own? Am I making more money? Am I setting myself up to be successful? If you were tentative for any of these questions, I suggest you re-evaluate the relocation until you are positive you are heading down the right path. Don’t let me discourage you, I’m just trying to make sure you don’t make any premature decisions.

One of the best rewards is knowing you can make it. Achieving your goal of moving to a new city. Starting your new job, making more money and living the lifestyle you want to live. Taking a step forward in life towards your ultimate life goal, whatever it may be.

All in all, moving to a new city can be kind of scary. Putting your two weeks in at your current company can be scary too. Starting a new job, in a new city, not knowing anyone – it’s scary. But it is also very doable. Take the proper steps in the right directions and you can be successful. Keep a positive mindset and push yourself to continue moving forward in life. I wish you the best of luck on your upcoming journeys!

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