Life can move in all sorts of directions. If you’ve found yourself at a junction where you’re looking at finding new employment or a college course, the question of whether you are in the right geographical location, or whether you may need to transfer elsewhere, has probably arisen. You may be considering moving to a new town, city, state or even overseas.
Should you go?
Regardless of whether you may be moving tens or thousands of miles, the decision to relocate your life for school or work is never straightforward. Aside from determining whether or not the job or program of study is the correct one for your career plans, there are many other considerations such as family, a partner, friends, costs and expenses, or logistics to take into account.
Our unique personalities also mean that while some of us jump at the opportunity to start over in a new place, to make new friends and explore a new area, some of us also find this notion terrifying. Either way, the decision to move is complicated and stressful.
To help you make sense of this opportunity and to decide if this is the right one for you, be sure to answer each of these five essential questions before getting close to a decision.
1. Am I certain this job/course is right for me?
Before you make the life-changing decision to relocate, you need to be sure that this is 100% the right choice for your career, so do all the checks you’d do if the job/course were local, and then dig even deeper. This is simply because if you change your mind later, it’s going to be a lot harder to extricate yourself from the situation.
To minimize the risk of unpleasant surprises, you need to leave no stone unturned:
- Be absolutely certain of what you’ll be spending your time doing
- Learn as much as possible about your future boss/colleagues/teachers/fellow students
- Ask what subsequent opportunities typically arise from taking this role/course
- Read everything you can about your employer or school
- Go over job/course descriptions, contracts and relocation packages for storage and moving with a fine tooth comb
2. How Will Life Change?
Outside of work, your everyday life will change, too. Quality of life outside of work is of paramount importance if you are to flourish in your new role. Consider what you enjoy about your current lifestyle and whether it can continue or improve in your new location.
- Are there affordable facilities where you can take part in your hobbies?
- Will you be able to spend time with the people whose company you currently enjoy?
- Will you have access to the kinds of restaurants and entertainment you prefer?
- Does your new location offer any opportunities for further personal growth (i.e., new hobbies, language learning, or travel)?
Social media channels such as Facebook groups can really help you delve into a community before you even arrive.
The cost of living will also affect your quality of life. Before making any commitment, make sure that your new salary can maintain or improve the quality of life that you are accustomed to, that suitable housing can be found, and that you know the local costs of groceries, fuel, power, internet connections and other everyday essentials.
3. How Do My Loved Ones Feel?
In any relocation, there will be people left behind whose feelings are important to you. You need to consider how you can maintain close relationships with them despite the distance. Thankfully, social media and the affordability of internet and video calling have made life easier in this respect.
You should also investigate how easy and affordable it will be for long-distance loved ones to visit you and for you to visit them.
Of utmost importance are the opportunities for family members to make the move with you. If you are relocating with children, are the education options suitable? Will they have chances to make new friends? And will they be able to enjoy their new lifestyle through their hobbies and activities?
Similarly, can your partner or spouse find the right employment and lifestyle opportunities to ensure their happiness alongside yours? It’s a good idea to trawl the local jobs market to see what opportunities regularly appear or to discuss whether they are happy to take a career break while waiting for the right opportunity.
4. Can You Cope With the Unknown?
No matter how well-prepared you are and how much research you will have done, the one thing that can be guaranteed is that there’ll be plenty of surprises along the way. Some of us thrive on never knowing what’s around the corner, whereas some of us find it stressful to say the least.
By staying organized where you can, and by not overloading your relocation schedule, you are better set to cope with frustrations, delays and surprises. It also pays to make sure you have some friendly contacts in your new destination that can help you out when locating services you may need, or translating in an emergency, for example.
5. What Do I Do If It Goes Wrong?
Before you make the move, you need to be sure you are 100% committed, but even with the greatest intentions, occasionally things don’t go as planned. Perhaps you’ll love the job, but not the location, or vice-versa. Perhaps you’ll need to return home for family reasons or because of political instability.
It pays to research ways out, too.
For example, if the job doesn’t work out but you want to stay, is the employment market in the locality strong enough for you to be confident of finding an alternate position? Will you be able to afford the costs of moving and storage companies to relocate back home again if necessary? Having an escape plan will also have the effect of making you feel more confident and safe in your choice.
The Final Decision
Asking these five questions is the key to being as organized and as prepared as possible, but there is also a lot to be said for going with your gut instinct and hoping for some luck along the way, too. Only you can decide if this is the right move for you, but remember: Often, our biggest regrets are for the opportunities we didn’t take, not for those we did. Good luck!
This article was contributed by guest author Chris Humphrey.