While the national numbers may show an improving job market, many American families are still facing challenges in the workforce. Our family is experiencing that in full force as my husband decided to accept a job offer in another state. A thousand miles away is our new life. As we're unpacking, we're learning the many complications of a large move like this. For those who might be considering a cross-country move for a job, keep in mind some important factors in making your decision:
What is your motivation for taking the job?Is it for the financial benefit, or will it provide you with experience to help you secure better positions in the future? A high-paying position might be enough reason in itself to move, but you can justify a position with equal pay as well if you're learning enough on the job. For my husband, the pay was comparable to his previous job. The key factor was the experience he's gaining every day at work.
Does the job provide benefits?Most importantly, does it provide health insurance? An affordable insurance plan from your employer makes a huge difference for your budget. It was a crucial part of our decision to move; my husband's previous job didn't have insurance, but his new job does. Another benefit would be a retirement plan such as a 401K or a matching program. Does your new job have any bonuses? Do they have discounts on their products or services for their employees? Do they provide other financial help like daycare reimbursement or assistance with transportation to work? What about sick pay and vacation pay?
Will your new employer help with moving expenses?Keep in mind that while you're lining up a new place to live, be it apartment or house, you'll need somewhere to stay. After you've found a place to live, you'll need a moving truck at the very least. Moving services are even more helpful but are also more expensive. Will your employer pay for you to move your household across country? One of the downsides to our decision was that we paid our moving expenses out of pocket. Fortunately we did our research and found the most affordable option we could.
What is the cost of living in the location you're moving to?Are they comparable to where you currently live, or are they more expensive? Housing costs in particular can vary drastically from state to state. They can be even worse in large cities. Will you be able to earn enough to pay for everyday expenses? It was definitely a shock for us to find the higher housing costs on the east coast versus the Midwest. Once again, we thoroughly researched places to live near my husband's new job and got a great rental for a reasonable price (at least for this area!).
Do you own a home or rent in your current location?It may be easier to move out of a rental than to sell your home, depending on the housing market in your area. On the other hand, if you've just signed a lease for a rental you'll either have to deal with a penalty for moving early or you'll have to sublet your apartment. We ended up with an overlap of two months on the end of our lease at our old apartment. While we don't like the double rent for a short time, we're still paying less than someone with a house on the market for several months.
How will other family members handle the move?Will a spouse or significant other be able to transfer their job or find a new one? If you have children, how will they deal with the move away from their friends and school? Our infant daughter is still young enough to be able to adjust easily to a move like this, but it's been more challenging for me. I had to give up my job, and I'm currently staying home with our daughter until we get used to the area. I still need to research child care facilities before I can think about going back to work.
While these were all factors we considered in our decision to move, ultimately everything was trumped by necessity. My husband had lost his previous job, and the only jobs available in his career path were out of state. I can't say that all the circumstances of this move have been ideal, but as a family we decided that the continuation of my husband's career was worth certain challenges. I encourage people with less extreme circumstances to consider the above questions, as these are issues that can be easily overlooked during the excitement of a job offer.
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- Employment & Career