Should I Stay or Should I Go? Considering Relocating for Work?

  | James Innes

Your current employer has decided they want you to move to another part of the country or to post you overseas. Or perhaps a new company has offered you a job which involves relocating. What are the factors to weigh-up when considering that vital question: “should I stay or should I go now?”

1.       The Job

The actual job itself should be a primary consideration. Is the job sufficiently attractive, rewarding or challenging to justify you packing up your bags and heading off into the unknown? Perhaps it is the same position in a new location, or the existing job re-packaged with a different job title. If so, is it worth it?

2.       Will this advance your career?

Ask yourself if this move will help move your career forwards. For example, in many multinationals, an overseas posting or two might be a prerequisite for career advancement. If you turn down the move and you have a choice – not always feasible if an entire operation is relocating – will this have a detrimental impact on your career prospects?

Research the role thoroughly and determine if the job represents a step-up in your career. If not, then seriously consider saying no! Relocating for relocating’s sense is likely to be a mistake, taking you away from your professional and personal support networks for no good reason.

3.       Remuneration

The remuneration package on offer should, of course, also be a major factor in deciding whether to move. Does the position on offer represent a significant increase in pay and benefits, or is it just the same? Consider the package in relative as well as absolute terms. You might be paid better in the new location, but if that city or country has a higher cost of living, in comparative terms you might be worse off.

Also, who is going to pay for your relocation costs? Moving is seldom cheap, and the cost of this needs to be factored into your decision.

4.       Family

Relocating abroad or to another part of the country may not only affect you. Family members and partners may also be impacted. It is important to include them in the decision-making process. Are they willing to up sticks and move their lives away from home, family, friends, and work? Will your spouse or partner be able to get a job in the new location – or can the employer assist with this? Children can also be a big factor. Will moving disrupt their schooling – or offer them a fantastic new learning opportunity in a different environment or culture? Are there good schools in the new location, and can you find a place for your children at them?

5.       Quality of Life

There are many questions to ask yourself when considering a move.

Will moving improve the quality of your life? Will relocating offer you the chance to meet new people, explore new places and live a different life – or will it be just the same in a different place? Will you get to feel at home in a new town, country or region, or are you likely to feel alienated and cut off from all you know and value, such as family, friends and all the comforts of home? If moving abroad, are you ready to learn a new language or embrace a different culture?  

Relocating for work is a major decision and not for everyone. However, if the job and salary package are attractive enough, if family concerns and quality of life issues fully considered, then it could be one of the best moves of your life.

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