Relocating for a job, whether domestically or abroad, is a great opportunity – you’re advancing professionally, and at the same time you get to live in a new, exciting place. The less-than-stellar part about relocating for a new job, is, well, the actual relocation. You’re moving, and it’s often an expensive and logistically complex long-distance operation, made even more complicated if you’re taking your family along.
Careful and detailed planning is the key to success. Small things, like researching the city you’re going to and scheduling the move with a little bit of time to spare before work starts, will make a huge difference. Here are the main steps you need to take in order to keep the downsides of relocation under control and to truly enjoy your new beginnings.
Research Your Destination
You received a firm offer for a job in a different city, maybe in a different country, and you’re very much inclined to take it. However, before making long-term commitments, you need to research the destination.
From the cost of living, the climate, and the quality of education – a determining factor for families with children – to access to entertainment, culture, the outdoors and any other things deemed important, you need to look into it all. Online tools like this living costs calculator from CNN is a good place to investigate how well you’ll do in a new city, money-wise.
It’s also a good idea to research storage solutions before committing to the move – you’ll probably use a storage unit during the transition from one place to the other. Self-storage search websites like storagecafe.com will tell you what to expect in terms of prices and available unit sizes in your destination city.
Internet forums and social media groups are also very useful ways to find insider details about your destination, things you don’t usually get through a standard online search. Going on Google Maps and using their street view mode to virtually walk through the neighborhoods of your new city will allow you to get a better sense of it.
Ask for Relocation Assistance
Uprooting your life and your family’s and moving to a new city doesn’t come cheap. Some relocation assistance from your employer, in the form of cash or even services, is more than welcome. Don’t be shy about asking if it’s available.
Some companies are willing to front cash to facilitate job transfers or to help relocate new employees. Other companies, depending on their activity field, might be able to provide free or discounted services related to moving – shipping and transportation services, for example.
Start Searching for Your New Home ASAP
You need to get into the house-hunting mode as soon as you have decided to relocate for a job. Ideally, you would be able to spend at least a few days in your destination city before moving in for good, to check out neighborhoods, contact a realtor and even visit some houses or apartments.
However, that’s not always possible, and you might have to rent a new home sight-unseen. In such cases, it’s essential to hire a reputable, reliable realtor to help you through the process. Also, it’s better to opt for a short-term lease: if the new home suits your needs, you can extend the lease, or if not, it will be easy to move to another place, more to your taste, a few months later.
Schedule the Move with Time to Spare
Moving the weekend before you’re set to start your job is not the best idea. You’ll be exhausted, all your stuff will be in boxes, and you’ll still have a ton of things to do – setting up utilities, Internet and other cables, finding where to shop, and so on. That’s not the best start to your new life, so, if possible, squeeze in an extra week for adjusting to your new surroundings and organizing your household. That’s even more important when switching time zones or climates.
You can buy some extra time for yourself by streamlining your move. Start purging your possessions and packing what you intend to take with you at least 6-8 weeks prior to the move. Shipping most of your stuff to the destination in advance will make the entire process a lot easier.
Relocating from Toronto to, let’s say, Los Angeles, comes with logistical challenges. Should you pay a moving company to do all the work? That’s convenient, but quite expensive, since it’s a 2,500-mile drive. You could also rent a moving truck that you drive yourself, but, again, it’s a 2,500-mile, 35-hour trip. Should you ditch all your possessions and fly to LA with just your luggage? Buying everything new is expensive and not very convenient – you certainly have stuff you want to keep.
A solution that reconciles all the issues is to rent a self-storage unit in Los Angeles and to ship your stuff as you pack it. This way, you’re saving time and effort, and you get to hold on to your possessions. Flying to Los Angeles becomes feasible, and, once you’re there, all it takes to get your stuff is a short trip from the self-storage unit to your new home.
Start Building a New Network
One of the most daunting downsides of relocating for a job can be leaving your extended family and network of friends behind. Moving with children takes it to the next level of difficulty, as your kids will also have to adjust to a life without their best friends, school buddies and favorite teachers.
You can counteract some of the effects of such losses by starting to build a new network of friends as soon as you agree to relocate for your new job. There are several routes to go – and social media is a very efficient one. Search for social media groups catering to your lifestyle, preferences and hobbies, and introduce yourself. Whether you’re into extreme sports or theater, or you’re simply searching for a playgroup for your kids, you’re bound to find a dedicated social media group in your destination city. This way, by the time you’re actually moved, you’ll have at least a few virtual friends.
The old-fashioned way of contacting friends of friends, or distant relatives, shouldn’t be dismissed either. If you’re relocating abroad, search for expat online communities where you can contact people already living in the country where you will now live.
And, most importantly, have fun, enjoy your new city – or your new country – and make the most of this opportunity!