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Everyone ends up in an intense job hunt at some point in their life, no matter what their career path is. Jobs come and go, so looking for the right one can take some time. You’ve got to think about how much money you’ll earn, what you’ll be doing and if the position will be fulfilling. Then there’s location — which, for some, might mean taking a job in a different city or state.
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Relocating for a job is an extensive process. You’re going to have to juggle many things at once, under a time frame that never seems long enough. Before you officially begin relocating — preferably, before you say yes to your job offer if possible — you’ll need to consider some important factors.
1. Who’s affected?
Sure, you’re the one looking for the new job, negotiating your way into it and then getting yourself moved into a new home, but it’s not all about you. If you have a family, you’ve got to think about how they’ll feel being uprooted and forced to start over somewhere new. Will the new town have a good school system and enough activities to keep everyone happy?
If you live alone, you’re still affecting your family and friends. Your immediate family will have to adjust to not being able to visit you as much, and your friends will need to learn a new way of keeping up with you so you don’t lose your friendships. Time zones and your job schedule will change all of this, so consider how the move will impact your life outside your workspace before you say yes.
2. How great is that company, anyways?
Before you move for a job, you need to be completely confident the job is worth moving for. That means doing research on the company’s history and how they treat their employees. However, to get the most accurate information about a company, you should ask to talk with people you’ll work with after your latest interview. They’ll be able to tell you more about your specific job. If your potential employer won’t let you talk, consider it a red flag and start looking elsewhere.
3. The new cost of living
Once you’re at the negotiating stage of a job, you might feel pressured to just accept what they give you so you don’t risk them pulling back the job offer. Make sure to ignore that feeling! Negotiating is a critical part of the job interview process, but to do it right, you need to know about where you’ll be living.
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Do research online about the rent you’ll be paying or area you’ll be living in to see what people pay to live there. Look up things like gas prices, local taxes and what residents spend their money on the most. People may have cheaper rent, but they could pay it all back at the gas pump. Research will help you know how much you need to make each month to afford the cost of living in your new town, plus any other expenses you know you’ll need.
4. How to defeat your moving stress
There’s no way around it — moving is stressful. Still, you can help yourself minimize the stress by preparing. Before you start to move, make a packing list by taking inventory of what you have and what you’ll want to move. This way you’ll know how many boxes you’ll need, and if you’ll have to rent a truck. You can also ask friends for help and get packing early. Do anything you can to make that moving day seamless so you can just jump in the car and enjoy the road trip to the new chapter of your life.
5. Do you like the new city?
While this concern might be minimal compared to your need to get a job, being happy in your new city should still be something you think about. Instead of looking at the official city website — which, let’s face it, will say only positive things — read up on what people are saying about the city online.
There’s going to be lots of talk online about whatever city you move to, because people are always coming and going with little time to prepare. In fact, in 2016, 20 percent of people who had to relocate did so because of a job, so you won’t be alone in your rush to both move in and learn about where you are.
6. What’s traffic like?
Traffic isn’t something people generally like to think about, but it’s key when you’re thinking of relocating because it’ll determine where you live and how much of a commute you’ll have each day. You can look up what people are saying online, but the best way to do it is find a place you think you might like to live in and use an online map during rush-hour times to see how long it’d take you to get to work.
You might be thinking of only living 15 miles from your new job, but in a city with heavy traffic, that could be hours of driving each day. If at all possible, try out the route you might take to work with an online map, or visit the city before you move to test out the roads yourself.
7. How serious are you about this job?
Moving for a job is a big decision, so you have to ask yourself: Will this job be worth the moving expenses, the stress and the adjustment period you’ll need in the months after relocating? Sure, the pay is better, but what if the job drives you crazy?
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If this isn’t a job you’re completely in love with, you should look around for other possible opportunities. Moving won’t be worth it if you move to an area you don’t like for a job that makes you miserable. Make sure this job is something that’ll push your career or your life forward before you make any big decisions about moving away from where you currently live.
Relocating for a job is a big deal. It’s an exciting time of life, but also an overwhelming one. Before you start that phase of life for yourself, make sure you’ve considered all possible problems and opportunities that could arise. Think about things like the cost of living in the new city and what you’ll deal with on a daily basis on the roads. Ultimately, the answers will help confirm whether you should move or not, and then you can jump on the chance to change your life.
This story originally appeared on Personal Branding Blog