Career Advancement: Preparing to Relocate for Your Job

Are you willing to relocate? It is one of the most common questions asked in all job interviews. For some, especially singles who have yet to buy a property, the answer is a straightforward, confident YES. After all, there are many benefits to relocating. First, job relocation is often associated with a promotion and a salary increase. Second, it can explore a new city or country, learn a new culture, and improve on a second language. Finally, relocation is a breath of fresh air, a break from the monotony of the daily grind.

For families with homes and children, the decision is a much more complicated one. Kids have already built friendships at school, there are mortgages to pay, and plenty of meaningful relationships to say goodbye to. As such, most people in this group hesitate to answer or say no. The result is often the loss of valuable work opportunities, not to mention more money.

Of course, you shouldn’t always say yes, no matter your age or current lifestyle. Certain things need you to be in one specific place. One example is taking care of your parents or another relative. Yet, more often than not, saying yes to a job relocation is one of the best, most satisfying, most rewarding decisions you will ever make.

If you have already made up your mind and decided to go for it, there are a few things you must first consider. They include asking the right questions, researching the new place, and having an open mind.

Asking Your Employer the Right Questions

Perhaps the most important step you can take to ease the decision on whether to relocate or not is to know what the move entails. It might sound like common sense. Still, many workers fail to ask the right questions and are later surprised by things they did not expect. A few essential ones are:

  • Is the company willing to pay for all relocation expenses? This includes transportation and courier services, insurance costs, short-term housing, and temporary storage. Some organizations will pay for all, some for most, and some for only a few. Make sure you know your company’s policies on this.
  • How long is the relocation expected to be? Is it for a few months, a year? Is it performance-based, or does it depend on any other factors?
  • If you have children, will the company help to find them new schools or nursery homes? If your spouse has to give up his job, can the company provide some temporary allowance to cover income loss?
  • How often can you go back to your hometown? Is your company willing to provide you with financial help or extended vacation leave?
  • Do you have to relocate alone or can you take your family with you? In countries like Japan, many companies send employees on temporary overseas assignments by themselves.

By asking these questions, you will be best prepared to move and know if it is a decision you should indeed make. 

The Value of Information

The information your company provides you with will only take you so far. A new place signifies new opportunities but also new challenges. Hence, be proactive and get as much information on your own as you can. If the new city is in the same state or not that far away, take a weekend trip, maybe even longer. A few days of acclimatization will do wonders.

If it’s in another country, this won’t be easy. Yet, this doesn’t prevent you from doing research online, speaking a few times with your predecessor if there is one, and learning some basic words and expressions in the new language. There is no such thing as having too much information, and the earlier you start, the better.

A New Place, a New Life

Once you know where you’re going and what you will be doing there, comes the most important thing: setting expectations. Ideally, everything will be great, your kids will love their new schools and make friends within a few days, and you will have great colleagues.

But this is not always the case. You will have struggles and days you regret your decision. A giant surprise for those moving overseas is culture shock and its effects on your mood. So be realistic, understand that you will have your ups and downs, and stay positive.

Job relocation is a fantastic chance to meet new people, change your lifestyle, and learn many things. If this opportunity presents itself to you, remember to ask the right questions, get as much information as possible, and learn to manage your expectations. It will make your experience much smoother, less stressful, and more fun.