Relocating — domestically or internationally — for a great career opportunity is a big step. I’ve made several moves to take advantages of opportunities, too. I could go into each move separately, which would be a long story, so I’ll summarize.
Things that went well:
- The company that moved our family to Charlotte, North Carolina, and to Hong Kong had a lot of experience relocating people around the world and domestically. They developed a relocation program that really helped us understand what we could expect, secure help when we had questions, and ensure assistance was there on the “other side.”
- My husband had moved a lot when he was a child and young adult, so he was helpful in handling the logistics on both ends of the move. He took care of the children’s schools, the movers and home sales (when needed) so I could be successful diving into my job, traveling, and spending quality time with the kids when I was home.
- Our positive attitudes: We looked forward to every move as an adventure. We were not high-maintenance, did not complain, and we taught our kids to be flexible, too. We researched the new places, explored and enjoyed the new environments, and more. As an example, people thought we were nuts to move to Rochester, New York, but we enjoyed it! We joined a small, affordable ski club where our kids could get lessons and I could sit by the fire with my laptop!
Things we learned:
- I could not have done it alone (or if I had tried, I surely would have done it poorly). I would have had to take time off from my job or been stressed out juggling the logistics of a move and the pressures of a new position. Yes, relocations generally imply a new job either within your current company or with a new company.
- The importance of making friends. The onus is on the new (or visiting) family to make the effort to socialize, invite people to go out, or have houseguests. Remember, they have a social life already — you need to put in the effort to introduce yourself and your family.
- In an international move, language barriers can be overcome! It takes work on the part of the new employee and his or her family. In Hong Kong, while our kids learned a small amount of Chinese in school, we chose not to invest the time in the local language. The locals spoke plenty of English, and we learned enough to get around.
- Get the kids involved in some extracurricular activities like sports or music. Our kids played soccer, took karate classes, joined swimming teams, and more.
Top recommendations for career relocation:
- Seek help to understand your relocation benefits, whether you should sell your current house, and do a budget based on your future city economics.
- Negotiate your offer from the future company or the new manager in your current company.
- Save for the extra costs that come with relocating.
- When you arrive, get involved in the local business community such as the Chamber of Commerce and begin attending the Business Journal events.
- Tour your new city and visit all of the tourist spots. Share positive comments about your new city to everyone you meet.
It’s great to be geographically flexible in two ways:
- For your current company. Share with your manager that you are willing to relocate to grow your skills and career.
- For you to start a new chapter with a new company and possibly a new career in a different city.
The possibilities are limitless, especially if you are willing to commit to a very precise job search process to get you there!