These days more and more people are willing to pick up and move house for the sake of their careers. Particularly in this economy, sometimes an employee’s only option in keeping their job is to consider relocating within their company to a new location where jobs are in greater supply. When preparing for potential job relocation, what are the key considerations a person should have before making the big move?
Even if relocation within your current company is one that has been proposed by you, and even if the company is having financial trouble, it’s still a good idea to negotiate relocation benefits as much as possible. Especially when moving overseas, understanding and negotiating a cost of living adjustment to your salary is a must. Otherwise you could make the move and discover that your purchasing power has been reduced, and that you can’t afford to live in that chic expatriate condominium you’d been eyeing.
Another relocation benefit to negotiate is temporary living expenses. Moving can be an expensive ordeal, and you need your company’s support while you get your bearings in your new location, wait for your shipped belongings to arrive, and get oriented in your new job. What better way to do this than to have a temporary executive residence or hotel apartment you can call home for a month or so. These sorts of lodgings are not as expensive as many people might think, and they go a long way in helping relocated employees transition smoothly in their new work location.
Prepare the Family
Getting yourself prepared for a move includes preparing your family. This is the case whether you’re married with kids, or single. If you’re married or have children, then there are all sorts of issues to straighten out before moving, such as schools, finding a new job for the husband or wife that follows, and seeking out family-friendly housing and neighborhoods in the new location. But if you’re single, it’s your mother, father, sisters and brothers, etc., that need consideration. It’s important to speak to them well in advance of your move, and provide them with lots of information about the new job and the new location, so that they can be supportive rather than critical of the move, especially if it will take you farther away from them. Preparing the family should also include a discussion about when you plan to come home for visits, and whether family members would have a place to stay with you if they wanted to come for a visit.
Learn about Language and Culture
One of the biggest mistakes that relocating employees often make is assuming they’ll fit right in at their new location, and be able to navigate the many cultural differences with relative ease. Particularly with international moves, but also with moves within the same country, reading a book or two about your new location makes a lot of sense. Learn about the history and people of the area, about the different neighborhoods, best places to eat, important attractions, etc. Even if you’re moving to a city you think you know pretty well, read up on it anyway. You’ll find there was a lot you didn’t know about your future home city.
In addition, when moving to a location where new language skills may be required, even if only outside the office, look into taking some language classes. Ideally it’s a good idea to get reimbursed by the company for language training, as it will lessen your expense load, but may also encourage you to stick with the language lessons when the company is supporting and paying for them. If possible, start language training before you get to your new work location. It will give you a unique perspective on the culture of the country, and help to lessen the feeling of culture shock when you arrive.
Ensure an Efficient Hand-off
One of the most challenging aspects of relocating to a new job within the company is related to ensuring an effective hand-off of old job responsibilities. This is key when preparing for relocation, because even though you’ll be moving jobs, you’ll still be in the same company. Your reputation will follow you, so before you leave for the new role, make sure you’ve completed critical projects and work assignments, or found a designated co-worker to take them over when you leave.
Part of the excitement of getting ready for a new home and a new job is the anticipation of what lies ahead. Just remember what and whom you leave behind as you prepare for the exciting challenges that lie ahead.
by Melanie Haniph