The hardest part of moving for work is deciding to take the plunge. Once that’s out of the way, you’re dealing with details. Of course, how you handle the little things that go into your relocation can make a big difference to your quality of life in your new home and at your new job.
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Do these five things, and you’ll be off to a good start:
1. Negotiate for the right salary.
Ideally, before you ever get to the dreaded “what are your salary requirements?” part of the interview process, you’ll begin looking at cost of living differences between your present location and your destination. PayScale’s Cost of Living Calculator takes into account your location, experience level, job title, and current salary, and tells you how much you need to earn in order to keep pace with present earnings (or even get yourself a nice little “new job” pay bump).
2. Take into account that commute.
Getting to and from work costs a lot, but worse than the expense for gas or public transit is the simple cost in time and frustration. Think seriously about your commute before you commit to a salary number or neighborhood. The happiest workers are the ones who don’t start off each day frustrated and broke.
3. Travel light, carry cash.
Call it Murphy’s Law of Moving: whether you move down the block or across the country, you will always have more stuff and less money than you thought. Weed out your belongings before you move, and you won’t have to dig through five unmarked boxes of old holiday cards in order to find last year’s taxes.
Extra cash is always hard to find, but as much as possible, build a little extra into your moving budget for emergencies. Things will come up. For example, even if you’re a dedicated brown-bag luncher, the combination of moving and starting a new job are bound to have you eating lunch out for the first few days after your move. And then there’s the fact that you have a whole new staff of co-workers and managers to impress. Plan on sinking a little money into work attire, even if it’s just buying a tie that doesn’t look like it’s been pulled through a keyhole or replacing last year’s holey tights with a few fresh pairs.
4. Be a good project manager.
If you’re leaving one job and moving to a new location in order to take a new one, you’re probably pretty short on time. You have to give notice, organize your life, pull up stakes, and take off for parts previously unknown. If you can, however, build in a few extra days to adapt to your new setting before you start work. It’s easier to be a productive employee if you’re not getting lost or spending an hour trying to find an open dry cleaner.
5. Make connections outside of work.
Hopefully, your new job is the gig of your dreams, and you’ll work alongside kindred spirits who inspire and support you, but in any case, you’ll need to have a life outside of work in order to do the best job when you’re at the office. Now’s the time to join that club or team or group, and reach out to people who have the same interests as you.
You might not have a lot of extra bandwidth while you’re getting up to speed at work, but it’s worth making at least a little time to lay the foundations for a personal life in your new home. You’ll never be more comfortable with being the new guy or girl than you are right now, with your move looming large in the rearview.
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