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Relocation Tips From the Crypt

Relocating for your job? Global Recruiter Shares Warnings from the Relocation Crypt.

There is a lot of chatter about relocating, working remotely, and moving to cheaper places.

“Thousands of people are moving out of California into Texas. It must be a great idea!” “Texas is the place the be!” “I want to live in Florida!” “I just got a really great job offer in Hawai’i, I’m gonna take it!” “I work remote, so I am moving to Taos.” “They said they would pay for relocation!” “Cleveland is cheap!” “Detroit is cool now!”

There are also a lot of articles about relocating. Too many.

I am not writing this to help you make a moving checklist or advise you to hire a reputable mover. Such articles are ubiquitous. I am writing the stuff you should read first. I have 20 years of recruiting and resume writing experience. Relocation was my bread-and-butter for half that time.

From traveling x-ray techs to a strategic CFOs, I moved people across the continents in IT,

Finance, Healthcare, and Life Sciences. Serving client companies meant making sure they got a good fit.

Serving my candidates meant making sure they got a good life.

Here are 10 pointers to make sure you avoid a bad one:

1) Put your commute in the backseat. Keep your life up front.

Maybe you have no choice. You are in dire need of work, and a job came through in Cleveland. You are a Houston guy through-and-through. Conduct deep research on neighborhoods.

Put yourself closer to the things you love rather than closer to work. This might save your soul.

Better for a runner to have a longer commute if that means having a running trail close to home.

2) Unless you really need to do so, avoid moving just for a job offer.

Many people get blindsided by the momentary glee of a distant offer. They see a job listing or get a call about something that moves them up the ladder. Their frontal brain goes to rest.

Their reptile brain shuts down all reason.

This sadly happens more when the job is about moving up in pay or rank.

Remember what fulfills you, your life’s mission, and the health benefits of being where you want to be.

3) If you move for reasons of place, that can be filled with surprises — even if you are independently wealthy.

Most notions we have about other places are entirely false. I fell victim to the Forward Atlanta campaign of the early 1990s. I regretted my move within two hours. Nothing anyone showed me could change my mind. It just was not the right fit. I learned more in that year than any other of my life, but it all hurt.

4) If your move is a great career move, be aware that where you live will impact your happiness and thus your performance in that career-steering role.

Most employers will try to sell you on a place. “You can snow ski and water ski here on the same day!”

Yes, and your city council President is also a self-avowed white supremist. San Diego is a great town, but not being a surfer can have the same limiting effects that not golfing in Tampa might bring.

5) If you move for a dream job and even to your dream place — ask yourself what will happen if you lose that job.

Denver was always the worst culprit for this. If a person lost their role, they seemed to have no other options. They were selected from a large pool of applicants that would have relocated, and now the same competition emerged for open jobs they see. Many had to pack their bags. Most of the others never saw the advancement that would surely come after advancement into the very role they moved for. Know the local job market.

Some places are averse to outsiders. Atlanta was number one for this last century. She has loosened up a bit this century. Getting promoted over a Southerner is still challenging in far too many workplaces.

6) There are weather and wildlife risks everywhere.

This is the most positive entry of all ten. Ignore worries of weather and wildlife. Sadly, these keep people from pursuing what just might be the best possible career moves of all! Sure, I might avoid buying a house in a flood zone, but I once moved into the heart of Tornado Alley. I fell in love with tornadoes!

The person who worried about earthquakes twenty years ago missed out on two boom decades in San Francisco.

Coyotes have made living in Vancouver scary for people with kids. I watched this unfold from afar. Now, coyotes are thriving in my neighborhood. Poisonous snakes are moving into Boston. Bears are becoming skilled at breaking into houses.

Killer bees are just one job offer away from nesting in a tree near you.

7) Working remotely makes you and your work remote.

Working from home isn’t new. Accepting remote work offers is decades old.

Moving your role into a remote one, and moving to another place after that, has been happening for decades.

Moving because you can work anywhere is a symptom, not a cure. What if others get chances at building rapport through the occasional local meetup or office day?

The world is not flat. Fashion is centered in New York and L.A. Broadway is Broadway. Fields like drug development have claimed certain land for certain use. Research in Cambridge.

Clinical trials in RTP. Headquarters in Northern New Jersey.

Many jobs in the medical-scientific-industrial complex are going remote, but we have yet to see how this bears out for career security and progression.

I have seen many people go remote, and literally become remote.

8) Honesty is expensive. Cheap places lie. Most of them suck.

The people and pace will be different in low-rent towns. Make sure you know how you will be received, what kind of peers you might find there, and what your exit plan will be. You must have an exit plan at-the-ready for instant execution. You do not want to be trapped with people that are not your crowd, or the unwitting target of harassment.

Some places are resentful of remote worker influxes. Cars with California tags get targeted on the highway in Texas. That would be right in the heart of Austin even.

People who do not have your options will falsely ascribe blame to you for any limits in theirs.

9) Place is personal. Florida is not a great place any more than Quebec City is.

Place is one of the most personal things going. Florida is a place that many people move into and right out of. Sunshine every day can get tiresome after a while, and it is only sunny if you have money.

Detroit is not cool. Hawai’i is anything but paradise. Alaska is still the Wild West. Detroit built cool. Hawai’i defines paradise. Alaska is your new frontier.

Which is what which?

10) Try not to make a move unless you can afford a total loss of your investment.

You will then have to reinvest the same time, effort, and money into another equal endeavor.

You will reinvest the same mental space into it. And the physical part, too.

Shit will happen. Know the total picture. Prepare for losses. Budget for extra expenses. Have an exit plan. Know what you will do if it all goes terribly wrong.

In closing, for the remote worker seeking new pastures or cheaper digs.

Suddenly, rents are at reach for more people in Manhattan. Many are making a fresh star there. Will that reality last?

If you move to Cincinnati, will you be ready for mind-boggling urban planning debacles?

Going to Dallas for quality-of-life reasons and to ensure a wider job market at the same time?

If you are leaving Manhattan for Dallas, how will you feel about driving all the time?

Make sure you understand that no level of research will mitigate all risks. You cannot measure rewards in advance.

Like my client Mike, you could end up facing a natural disaster, a hostile neighbor, a job loss, and a flat tire in your first week.

The burglars left Linda’s front door open on her first day of work, but the raccoons went away after they got food.

Rebecca’s insurance did not cover that flood, and her friendly neighbor drowned.

One unfortunate Michelle lost her life in a car accident heading into her first day on the job.

As with many things, articles only scratch the surface.

The busy recruiters who are relocating people as part of their job are not writing articles. I never did. Now I write, and thankfully something better than a state-by-state primer on crime statistics and taxes.

I hope you enjoyed this offering. My international stories are not as exciting. Most moves like that come with extraordinary support. No horror stories besides the expected outbreak of unexpected war, arrest for spying, and an uptick in kidnappings.

I wanted to take the time to share a dose of reality from a long history of learning, not get into movie-like scenarios.

And those are not movies or rare news tales. They happen daily in the life of an ex-pat executive. Those concerns are real. So is a riot spree in Seattle.

You don’t know what you are getting yourself into until you live it. Do all you can to know as much as you can. Brian Brandt

I write about careers and the less traveled path. I also have great tips, tricks and advice. Even better, I have witnessed every mistake in the recruiting book. Decisions last a lifetime.

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