Relocating for work can be an exciting prospect. Forging a new life and building a better career in a different town, state or even country can strengthen you personally and professionally.
However, combining the stressors of a new job with those of leaving the familiarity and support network of your current home can be daunting. Without enough planning, a job relocation can quickly turn from being a dream come true to a nightmare. Avoid this possibility by following the advice below:
Take advantage of employer support
Many companies give employees who are relocating for work special support. For instance, some companies may have programs that pay for such moving expenses as transportation, housing search and storage. Certain companies’ relocation packages even grant you a few months of free temporary housing as you get settled.
Forbes’ Jacquelyn Smith advises that, if your new employer does not explicitly offer you relocation benefits and services, you should ask for them. Research and list out all of the expenses you anticipate having to make in order to move, and then negotiate a relocation package of your own with your employer. Seeing as you are valuable enough to be hired, go into these negotiations with the mindset that you deserve relocation assistance and that it will be in the company’s best interest to help so that you can focus on kicking butt at your new job.
Research and plan
Thorough research and careful planning are absolutely essential to a successful move. Choosing an unsafe neighborhood or one that is inconveniently far from your office will add a great deal of personal stress that, when compounded with the pressure of performing at your new job, may leave you feeling trapped and overwhelmed. Avoid this potential outcome by researching your future home as much as possible before your start date.
Read through travel and newcomer guides for the region or city you will be moving to, and conduct research online about what neighborhoods in your new hometown are the safest, which school districts are the best (if you have children), and what commute options you will have. While a two-hour commute to and from your workplace sounds bearable in theory, living through it five days a week may take much of the thrill out of your new job.
In addition, talk to as many people in the area you are moving to as possible. If you don’t already have friends or family in the region, ask your future co-workers. Not only will you get first-hand accounts of the good, bad and ugly of a particular town, but you’ll also begin building connections with your future teammates.
Be as organised and frugal as possible
Even the best-laid relocation plans will have unanticipated costs or snags. You can weather these unplanned setbacks much better if you are organized from the beginning and save as much money as possible for the move. Arrange a budget for your relocation, adding a few hundred dollars above your estimates to serve as a buffer for such things as necessary home improvements, emergency car rentals or housewarming events. Also, keeping your schedule and expenses organized can help when requesting reimbursements from your new employer or deducting employment-related costs from your taxes.
Factor in the needs of your family
Planning a relocation for one person may seem daunting enough, but if you have a family, the move will be all the more challenging. For example, if your spouse currently works, you may need to make sure that he or she has a similar opportunity lined up near your new home or is able to create a telecommuting arrangement with his or her employer.
If you have children, you’ll need to help them adjust to new schools and social circles and deal with leaving old friends behind. Be prepared for some adjustment pains as you, your spouse and your kids find your footing. To help offset the potential feelings of isolation that moving to a new place can bring, proactively research clubs or sports that your children might be interested in, and team up with your spouse to find activities and groups outside of work for you both to join.
It’s OK to ask for help
Moving to a different place for a job, no matter how rewarding, is a huge challenge for both you and your family. Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family and even future co-workers for a helping hand. If your parents or in-laws offer to come help you move or watch the kids for a few weeks, don’t turn them down; their help could save you from an overwhelmingly hectic first month on the job. After the initial storm of moving logistics and adjustment is over, show your appreciation to your assistants with a nice group dinner or thank-you gifts.
As with any important life decision, relocating for work requires careful planning and research. Set yourself up as much as possible for success by being proactive, organized and methodical about your big move.
Kaitlin Louie writes for OnlineDegrees.com. This article was originally published on OnlineDegrees.com.