It’s a big world out there–there’s so much to see and do and the best way to experience all a city has to offer is to live there. Relocating is no small task, and corporate relocation can be even harder: you’re expected to face all the challenges of living in a foreign environment, whilst hitting the ground running at your new job. It can be done though – trust me! In January, I moved from New Zealand to Boston to join the Startup Institute team. I arrived with a very heavy suitcase, no friends, and the hope that everything would just kind of “work out” (spoiler alert: it did).
If you’re considering moving for a job, I’d like to share some key insights from my own experience. I hope they’ll help to make your transition as smooth as possible:
The decision: to move, or not to move?
Relocating for work means you’ll need to find a new place to call home. You’ll need to navigate a new environment, master a new job and build a new social network. All at the same time. First, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:
What are the relocation costs?
Relocating can be expensive. The first thing you should do is research how much it will cost to live in your new location. How do housing, food and transport costs compare to what you’re currently paying? Once you know this, you can start budgeting for the move. If you’re stuck, try using a cost of living calculator. Remember to budget for some emergency cash too, in case you get caught in between paychecks.
If you’re looking for financial support, find out if your company offers relocation assistance to help with some of your moving expenses. To support your case, do some research on how much you think the move will cost to give them an idea of how much financial support you require.
Why do you want to move?
Packing up and moving to a new place is so exciting! However It can also be a little scary, mainly because there are some things you can’t really predict or plan for. Because of this it’s really important you have a very clear reason in your mind as to why you want to relocate for this job. Is it the company culture that attracts you? Perhaps it’s the industry you’re excited to be a part of, or a specific opportunity that will grow your career? Maybe you’ve always wanted to live in that city? Whatever the reason, it needs to be strong enough to get you through any early rough patches as you settle in and familiarize yourself with your new location.
What else does the new city have to offer?
Even if you’re moving for a job, you will still spend a large portion of your time outside of the office. Do some research about the city and see what’s on offer! Do you know anyone living in the city that you could reconnect with? What kind of activities could you try there? What’s the ‘vibe’ of the city? How about the weather? These are all factors that will contribute towards helping you feel at home in your new location.
If you enjoy socializing and eating out, Yelp is a good place to begin to see what the highest rated bars and restaurants in your new city are. If you’re looking to check out new activities, jump onto Trip Advisor and see what’s popular too.
Once you’ve evaluated the opportunity and determined that relocating is the right decision for you, it’s important to get yourself organized. Do yourself a favor and find a place to stay before you relocate. It doesn’t need to be a long-term arrangement, but it will give you peace of mind to know you’ve got somewhere to settle into whilst you’re learning to navigate your new city.
Consider these options when looking into accommodation:
If you’re a super organized person, try and familiarize yourself with the city a little bit before you get there. Find out where work is in relation to where you’re staying, and what the best mode of transport to get there is. If you’re stuck, you can always ask your employers for advice on places to stay and transport options.
Make it feel like home:
Once you’ve arrived in your new city there are a few things you can do to help familiarize yourself with your new surroundings.
Explore your surroundings
If you have some time before work starts, get to know the area you’re living in. Consider doing some site-seeing and visiting tourist attractions so you can give yourself some reference points and learn how to move around the city. Citymapper is a great site that can help you navigate in your new area – simply select your city, choose where you want to go and it will tell you the best way to get there. It’s that easy.
Keep an ear out for upcoming events
When I moved to Boston, I quickly discovered that there are several Twitter accounts and events calendars that focus on continuously publishing new events, concerts, restaurant openings and deals happening in the city. If you’re in Boston I’d recommend giving Boston Attitude and Boston.coma follow on Twitter. Otherwise, search your city in the Twitter search and look down the feed to follow the accounts that look most interesting to you.
Expand your social circle
This is especially important if you’re moving to a place where you don’t know anyone. The obvious place to start is at work. Make an effort to know everyone’s names and find out a little bit about them. If you’re entering a big company then at least get to know the people in your team. Join colleagues for lunch and after work drinks and attend industry events to practice your networking skills while meeting new people.
Outside of work, Meetup.com and Eventbrite are great ways to meet groups of people with similar interests as you. Otherwise, harness your hobbies and join a local sports team, art class, book club – whatever takes your fancy.
Take It One Day At A Time
Whether you’re moving for a job, or just a change of scenery, it’s important to establish some kind of routine in your daily life. One thing I’ve discovered is that you only need to do something once to start establishing familiarity. Before you know, it will all start to feel like home.
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