Most people have a fairly good idea of where they would like to live and work. For many it is where they grew up, where they went to college, or where most of their family and friends reside. But every so often a great job opportunity comes up somewhere unexpected. And when that opportunity presents itself, you have to consider whether you should stay where you are, or if it is worth relocating for something new.
So how do you decide? Well, there are many things to consider before relocating for a job, but here are seven major questions to ask yourself before making such a life-changing decision.
1. What will your life be like outside of work?
You should consider more than just the job itself, but also, what this new location has to offer in terms of lifestyle. Will you have access to pursuits and interests you currently enjoy, or is the only benefit the job itself? If it is the latter, you may not want to go.
2. Do you have any personal connections there?
Do you have any friends or family at this new location, or will you be starting your social life from scratch? While it is certainly not a dealbreaker if you do not know anyone, it will be much easier to transition if you are not alone. Having a social life is vital to individual happiness and can serve as a powerful safety net.
3. What are you leaving behind?
You cannot just consider what you stand to gain by leaving, but also, what you are sacrificing in the process. While the new job may be great, if you are giving up too much to make it work, you may want to reconsider.
4. What is the cost of living?
Many people are lured to an out-of-town or out-of-state job because of a higher salary. But if the cost of living in your new location is also much higher, the benefit may not be a benefit after all.
5. Is this a job or a career?
Permanently relocating for a job not likely to grow into something more substantial is harder to justify and less worthwhile. But if this job will translate into a career path or accelerate your current career journey, it is definitely worth considering.
6. How will it affect my family?
If you are single, it is easier to get up and move. But if you are married or have kids, your decision to relocate should be a group decision, and not just your own. Be mindful of what impact such a transition will have on your spouse and his or her work prospects and personal life, as well as the personal lives of your children. Just because it may be the right move for you, does not mean it is the right move for all of you.
7. What is your backup plan?
In dispute resolution and negotiation there is a term called BATNA. It stands for Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. Basically, it asks people to consider their best alternative if negotiations fail. So, what if your move fails? What if you hate your new job? Can you return where you were or will your decision to move burn important bridges?
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. There are many other important questions to consider before relocating for a job, such as: Where will you live? How much will it cost to move? Is the future of the company stable?
But when it comes down to it, what really matters most is whether the positives outweigh the negatives, and whether it will bring you (and your family) greater opportunity and happiness. If the answers to those questions are yes, then relocating for a job may very well be worth it.
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