Relocating for Work? Here's how to make it a success.

Congratulations!! You got a shiny new job in a shiny new city and you're packing up and shipping out! I've pulled off some serious relocations in my time, and it is a huge transition. Even if moving and starting a new job is something you're excited by and can't wait to do, there's a lot to think about. Here's what will help you be successful. 

Treat it Like a Project 

Think about your move from now through the first month in the new role and city as a defined project. I even recommend using a project management or list-making app to help keep you organized and accountable for various deadlines and to-do items that you will need to track. Asana or Trello are my personal faves, but you might prefer a bullet journal or simple list app where you can jot down the tasks that need to be accomplished along with deadlines and dependencies. Being super organized will help make sure that the relocation goes smoothly and you don't miss  important details like shifting your health insurance policy or booking a date in advance for the moving service. So put on your project management hat and get going. 

Get Clear on Any Relocation Benefits 

If you have negotiated for or been provided relocation benefits, check in with HR about what these are and how to claim them before you start doing anything. Some companies provide everything for you, from packing your stuff to providing an apartment, and some companies want you to do it yourself but collect and submit all receipts, and other companies give you a flat bonus and say bon voyage. Know in advance what you need to do to take advantage of any benefits they have available, it might save you a ton of money and time and stress. 

Allow Extra Time

Relocating for work is unique in that it's both a personal and professional transition. You're setting up in a new role with new colleagues and a new boss potentially at a new company, and have to be on your game professionally, but you also are going to be finding a new apartment and getting to know a new city and neighborhood and managing both the personal details and emotions (including stress) of hauling yourself and your sh*t to a new state. So leave time to allow for both the personal stuff you'll need to get done (Running around to look at apartments! Buying groceries! Getting copies of your keys made! Going to ikea! Finding the liquor store!) and the professional (Commuting for the first time! Filling out paperwork! Sitting down with your new team! Figuring out where to get lunch!). If you think you need a couple of days to settle in, double it and give yourself some breathing room. Don't be the person who can't focus in the first meeting with your boss because you're waiting to hear back on the apartment you applied for! 

Note the Details 

There are lots of little things we often overlook in our home cities that we suddenly realize we need to think about when we move. So watch out for these, and make sure they're on your project plan and you allow time to consider or follow up or find them. Some big ones include: 

  • A new state income tax rate and/or withholding 

  • New health insurance provider/policy 

  • Finding a new dentist, doctor, convenient pharmacy, and hospital system (find all of this before you need it!) 

  • How you'll commute to work, including traffic patterns and how much time to allow

  • Your morning, afternoon, and evening routine (do you stop for coffee on your way in and where?) 

  • Where and how you'll exercise (Gym membership? Identifying a running route?) 

  • Change of address for your mail, your financial providers, and for HR 

  • Drivers license and car registration (most have a strict timeline when they need to be updated) 

  • Tax deductions for moving expenses (save your receipts!) 

Create a New Network 

After you've prepped, done the move, and had a few days to settle in to your new city, you'll want to start building community and finding your people. Many times people relocating put this step off, and then a few months into the new job at the new place they're unhappy, simply because they haven't engaged in and connected in their new city. Don't let this be you! Creating a new network and connecting with your new place can take time (I tell people to allow a year. I know that feels like a long time but it's true.). You can get started with a few of these suggestions: 

  • Find and connect with other newcomers, recent hires, or people from your previous/home city

  • Join an activity or hobby 

  • Join a professional group (a meetup, local professional association) 

  • Join a spiritual community (a church, temple, meditation group)

  • Join a fitness community (a gym, studio, bootcamp, run or bike club, etc) 

  • Take a local class (yoga, cooking, paddleboarding, surfing, painting, language, whatever appeals!) 

Go Easy On Yourself 

Relocating is hard, exhausting, stressful, and time consuming. There will undoubtedly be something you didn't think of or didn't plan for or that breaks. Go easy on yourself, try to be patient with yourself, find the humor where you can, and take it a day or hour at a time. 

Need help pulling off your relocation? Get in touch!