Relocating to an unfamiliar city is great. It broadens your horizons, helps you meet new people, and reminds you that there’s always another piece of the pie. But relocating to a new city can also be extremely challenging. Aside from the physical aspects of moving all of your belongings, the mental strain that comes with the questions of moving is enough to make you want to curl up in a ball and watch Netflix for a week.
There are plenty of reasons to move. Maybe wanderlust led you to the brash decision of dropping all of your responsibilities and exploring. Maybe there is no opportunity in your career. Maybe there is a job opportunity you’ve been waiting for that finally came through. Maybe your significant other has a family somewhere else and he or she wants to be closer to home. Taking risks is important, but don’t take risks blindly. If you’re feeling the call of road, heed the call. But do so with caution.
Have an idea where you’re headed
Perhaps the most daunting challenge of relocating to a new city is gathering your bearings, particularly if you’re starting a new job. One thing that might be overlooked in receiving a great offer is its location. So, after your initial excitement, make sure you exercise due diligence in researching the neighborhoods, culture, and landscape. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but I recommend visiting your new city at least three times for a couple days before you pull the trigger. Spontaneity is great, but that dream job can turn into misery if you hate where it is.
Is it affordable?
I am all for roughing it, but being flat broke isn’t great for production or happiness. Make sure you know the cost of living before you decide to make the move. You may envision yourself in the West Loop of Chicago living it up, but just because you get a job in a neighborhood doesn’t mean you’ll be able to afford living there. It’s important to be realistic about the move you are going to make. Understand your budget and make sure that your chosen residence matches that. They say that you should make 3x what your rent costs. I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but it’s worked for me so far.
Is it long or short term?
When deciding on whether to take a job in another city it’s important to examine the long- and short-term effects of such a move. If you’re looking to buy a house soon, and you won’t be able to save money while you’re working at a new job, a big city, you might want to rethink the move. At the same time, if you’re looking to experience city life to the fullest while in your 20’s, you might want to rethink the cushy job in the suburbs. Both the excitement of the job you’ve been wanting for a long time and the idea of living the high life in a big city can distract you from what your real priorities are.
If you’re like me and feel a constant desire to see new things, you may be apt to drop everything and hit the road. If you’re paying your bills, keeping in touch with your mother to let her know you’re ok, and treating others with kindness, who cares whether you’re always on the move? That’s what life is all about. Just make sure you’re going to be able to support yourself financially before you go on your adventure.
Job posting sites/sidegigs
If you’re unsure about whether or not you’ll be able to afford it, a side job can push you over the threshold. There are a ton of opportunities that will provide you with a supplemental income that eases your financial burden. Perhaps the trendiest/easiest, is Uber or Lyft. But not all of us will be able to afford the parking spot necessary for an automobile, let alone, the automobile itself.
If you can't afford to Uber or Lyft, Glassdoor, Indeed, and Monster are great for easy jobs that you can pick up quickly. In my experience, serving and bar tending have been excellent side hustles. Pick the right place and it can be an extra $300 for two shifts a week. But making sure you have a popular restaurant can be difficult, so look to the internet for reviews on restaurants. People are pretty relentless critics, so if you find a restaurant that is well received by the public, chances are, you can count on it.
Job recruiting services
If you’re looking to relocate, don’t have a job yet, and need to be specified with your search, a recruiting service may be your best friend. Networking is extremely important, and the internet is the easiest way to do so (especially if you’re not in the location where you’re looking to move). ZipRecruiter is a great service for ground level jobs. So if you’re looking to start afresh in your life AND career I recommend giving Zip a shot. There’s no better way to start anew than from scratch.
If you already have experience in your chosen field, I recommend researching local recruiting offices. There are plenty of national recruiting services you can look to as well, but if you’re relocating, it’s nice to be able to contact the people who have a finger on the local job pulse.
One strategy you might be overlooking is transferring to another office of your current employer. It may not be ideal, especially if you hate your current job, but it’s probably the most secure strategy for starting somewhere new. You may not have the option to transfer right away, but don’t let that coerce you into making a rushed decision. Make sure the timing is right.
Regardless of your circumstances, there will be ups and downs. Knowing what you’re getting into is important. Moving isn’t just the grass being greener on the other side. But if you do your homework, what was once frightful will morph into something exciting.
Settle the logistics of your relocation. The new sights will be brighter, the prospect of interacting with new people will be more enticing, the new cuisines will be tastier, and the possibilities that come from simply starting over will be infinite.
Above all, embrace the change.