To Relocate or Not
Seriously Consider the Pluses and Minuses of a Move
at the Start of Your Interview Process
people believe that the grass is always greener
somewhere else. Often certain cities, regions or
countries become fad "fantasy" or "dream" places to
live, not because one has actually been to those places
and likes them, but because someone else has told us
that such places are so great. You must always take into
consideration how that location might or might not be
good specifically for you, your career and your family
--not just now, but five, ten, or more years from now.
Because a friend of yours likes a place and has a good
job there does not necessarily mean that there will be a
wealth of opportunities for you or your spouse. You
might be able to find the job of your dreams in your own
metropolitan area, or you might be in an industry where
all the best opportunities simply are elsewhere.
often scares people who have children in school.
But children are amazingly resilient, and a
broadening of personal experiences can prove to
be enriching to their lives. They likely can
make friends in another town, too. If one's
spouse is happily employed locally, a relocation
may seem like an unfair burden on one's spouse,
but often, both spouses can find better
opportunities if they investigate actual
opportunities for both of their careers.
ART has had experience trying to find positions
for two career families. Your opportunities and
those of your partner or spouse might be far
greater in another part of the country or world.
The world economy is coming together in
thousands of ways, in every town. The 21st
Century holds the most opportunities for those
with experiences beyond their local experiences.
Aside from the existence of career opportunities for
you, there are a number of important things for you to
consider when analyzing positions that involve
weather. Have you or your family
members ever visited the location before? Do you
have friends or family in that area who could help
advise you? If there are climate extremes
different from your own local climate, how adequately
do you believe you could adjust? This may sound
trivial compared to a job role and salary and company,
but many people wish to move largely because the
weather bothers them. If you relocate, you probably do
not want to have to pull up stakes six months later
because you had minimized this issue. (For example,
Florida in the winter may be graceful and balmy, but
it could feel very humid and hot in summer. Arizona or
Dubai could seem to some an oven in August, while
others acclimate themselves well to living with air
conditioning for much of the year. Minnesota is a
great sunny fisherman's paradise in summer, but in
winter it gets so cold that you need a special heater
to keep your garaged car's engine block from freezing
and cracking.) Scandinavia can be glorious in the
summer but grey, long winters could be emotionally
unsettling to some. Hong Kong can be fun in winter but
sweltering in summer. Air pollution plaguing bustling
world capitals such as Beijing or Mexico City could be
a problem for some people with asthma conditions.
Suburban, Rural. Do you or your family need to
live in or close to a major urban cultural
center? If you choose a rural area, in the event
that you lose your job, would you be able to find
another position within a reasonable commute?
- Housing. Can
you sell your house within a reasonable amount of time
and at a profit? If you must take a loss, would it be
offset by your new position's compensation or by an
overall improvement in your standard of living?
If your house is hard to sell quickly, could you rent
it? Some people find this option confusing, but
if your house is essentially imprisoning your human
potential and your family's opportunities, this option
might be a fast way to move on to a happier life.
Differences: High Cost to Low Cost. If
you are in a high cost area going into a location
where homes are much lower priced,
congratulations! Do not be surprised, however,
that salaries may average lower than your present
salary. If you have some set requirement to be making
a certain number of U.S. dollars, as opposed
to South Carolina, Nevada, Maine or Oklahoma
dollars --for a child's college tuition bill, for
example-- you may find the lower cost area will not
increase your salary unless you move your job title up
a rank or two. Also be aware that sometimes lower cost
areas are sometimes lower cost for good reasons: you
might get what you pay for. You might not deem the
public schools adequate, so you might have to send
your children to private schools, which can be costly.
Differences: Low Cost to High Cost. If
you are in a low cost or medium cost area looking at
new career opportunities in a high cost area (such as
Silicon Valley, Southern California, metro-New York or
metro-Washington) you may be taking a huge hit in your
housing costs, unless you are prepared to do
significantly longer commutes or live in a smaller or
older home or in a less desirable area.
cost housing may in theory be found in these areas,
but it may take work to find. One solution is to
rent first, then look for a house after acquainting
yourself to the area.
rule is this: if you like a big house with a lot of
acreage and good schools, do not expect to get that
in these areas cheaply. A similar home in many parts
of the United States might go for half or lower than
the average California or Northeastern U.S. suburb.
problem is that salaries in the higher cost areas
are usually not anywhere near double what they are
in lower- or medium cost areas. So how should
one go about a job search in more expensive regions?
Be realistic, and proactive.
not avoid the housing cost issue until the very
Do as much research about housing costs and local
taxes or you might only waste your time and a
prospective employer's time.
may be that your long term opportunities will be far
greater in these "power career centers," and that
you might be earning a much higher income some day
when you are in the right situation, but pound for
pound, if you are interviewing for roughly the same
job that you are currently holding, you will likely
be taking a loss if a position is offered to you.
too many cases, a lack of preparation or tendency
toward wishful thinking results in failed deals and
bad feelings between the employer and the candidate.
try to take some of these cost differential issues
into account, particularly if the candidate
possesses special skills that are not easily found,
rare is the company, large or small, that is
willing to offer double the going salary simply
because the candidate cannot maintain his or her
current lifestyle without it. The same employer
is usually simultaneously considering local
candidates or others with adequate and acceptable
qualifications and more reasonable salary
any relocation, it is always important never to lose
sight that every expense that you may believe is
absolutely necessary for an employer to pay in order
for you to relocate, is being added up in that
employer's mind and is being tallied against the
requirements of local or other candidates who might
have qualifications as good as yours or nearly good as
yours. And every hiring manager's budget is
accountable to someone.
considering a relocation and the costs that you
believe an employer should pay, it is useful not to
think of the employer as a faceless company with
unlimited funds. Since the late 1980's, the days of a
company buying a candidate's house outright and
selling it themselves has pretty much ended, even for
most in upper management. Most companies are glad to
pay for moving expenses and temporary housing, but
many are reluctant to get involved with the buying and
selling of houses. A wide variety of fees, including
broker fees and points, may or may not be covered.
has become increasingly common for companies to set
"flat rate" amounts for relocations, in which an
employee is given a certain budget to cover the costs
of moving, and fees. Sometimes small companies have
great relocation packages, while some large companies
might seem very tight in their relocation packages;
other times the reverse is true. There are few rules
here. Everything is generally decided on a
case-by-case basis, always weighed against the
requirements of your competition .