The Truth About Relocating for a Job Opportunity

Posted May 30, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves

The idea of being courted by a company across the country from where you live might seem romantic. They fly you out to the interview, they wine you, they dine you, and ultimately they pay for you to move, right? Wrong. In fact, most job offers for cross country moves are less than glamorous. There are many reasons for relocation, but the vast majority of them are just plain stressful – a company moving its headquarters, being relocated due to a layoff or massive company change, moving because of family issues or illnesses – and the list goes on.

Even if you are one of the lucky few who pursues relocation for a job, gets the job, and the company pays for your move, you’re still going to have to deal with packing, moving, making new friends, and much, much more stress than you’ve even contemplated. Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t relocate.  It can also be phenomenally rewarding and exciting to find a new job, a new city, and a new adventure in your life. Here’s the truth about relocation.

Don’t Move Without Thinking About These Important Things

  • Moving costs money. Big money! Add it all up, and you might get overwhelmed, but it’s an important task to take on. Packing supplies, movers in the city you live, a truck to drive across the country, movers in the new city, new furniture if you need it, cleaners for your old apartment, and much more. All of these “small” expenditures begin to add up to what can be incredibly expensive overall moves.
  • Signing bonuses are taxed at a higher rate than regular salary. If you’re lucky to get your relocation covered by your company, those costs will often not be reimbursable, but instead will be paid to you in the form of a signing bonus. Make sure you take into consideration the hefty taxes that will be levied on you for that check, and take into consideration that lower budget when planning your move.
  • Friendships don’t cross the country with you. Sure, you’ve seen your BFF for dinner every week for the last three years, so it’s natural to think your dinner will turn into weekly phone calls where you’ll continue to catch up and be BFFs. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true. Friendships continue, and you’ll need to find new ways to interact, but they’ll never be as close as they are when you’re in the same city. Be prepared for a time period after your move where you’re struggling with finding friends and keeping friendships fresh back home.
  • Don’t jump too fast into a neighborhood permanently. If you’re moving to a large city, you might be tempted to buy a condo immediately to save on rent. Or, if you’re a suburban gal, that picket fence might be calling your name. Even if you’re a real estate expert, though, don’t buy right away. Spend at least a year renting to make sure you’re 100% certain of the neighborhood or suburb you’ve decided to put down roots in.
  • Factor in COBRA and other health care expenses. Many large companies are now implementing 2-3 month waiting periods before you’re able to join their health plans. This could mean that you’re going to need to pay COBRA expenses from your past health plan for those months, which could run up to $1,000 per month. Take those expenses into consideration when you budget your move.

These, and many other factors contribute to the decision to relocate for a job. It’s important to analyze your options when making a decision so big. Ultimately, by planning ahead, you’ll have a much more successful move if you do decide to take the job.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."