Tips for Relocating for a Job

This post is written by Erica Moss. Erica is the social media outreach coordinator for the Masters in Nursing degree program at Georgetown University, which has one of the nation’s leading nurse midwife programs. Erica knows firsthand what it’s like to relocate as she recently moved across country for a new job.

Relocating for a job is one of the most disruptive experiences you can face. It means saying goodbye to your friends, your home, and favorite restaurants. Some people enjoy the adventure of exploring a new place, while others dread the idea of starting over in unfamiliar surroundings.  Here are some ways to prepare for relocation and adjusting after arriving.

Before Leaving Home

It sounds obvious, but the first order of business is to figure out how to get to your new location and the best way to transport your possessions. For shorter distances, consider renting a moving truck or van and moving yourself rather than hiring a moving company. If you are moving across the country, decide whether it would make more sense for you –  to drive or fly –  and then consider options for transporting your stuff. Create a detailed budget for the move so you’re prepared for all of the costs associated with relocating.

When packing for a move, consider it an opportunity to go through your possessions and donate or toss out clothing and other items you no longer need. Not only will this make it easier to pack, but donating clothes to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or other charities helps people in need and may be tax deductible. Don’t forget that job search and relocation expenses are also tax deductible. Make sure to label boxes carefully and keep a separate inventory sheet with you as you travel.  Pack a couple of boxes of essentials for setting up your new home (kitchen items, towels – the basics you’ll need right away.)  

Research your new city; realtor sites and the Chamber of Commerce can be helpful in advance. Check social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn to see if you know anyone in your new neighborhood; ask for advice about what to expect.  Even strangers will be happy to help with advice; find a local group and identify yourself as their newest neighbor.  If you have friends there, ask them to recommend areas of town to live in or real estate brokers to work with in finding a new apartment or house. Consider renting a place for the short term while you get a feel for the new city and decide which neighborhood you want to live in.

Arriving and Adjusting to a New Place

Once you have found housing, take time to familiarize yourself with the area. While it may be tempting (or necessary) to jump straight into your new job duties, the adjustment to the new job will be smoother if you unpack your new home, meet your neighbors and explore first. Ask your neighbors for their recommendations about the area. Find the closest grocery store, dry cleaner and a couple of good restaurants. Locating the essentials will make you feel more at home and make daily life less stressful.
After taking some time to unpack and get acquainted, you can settle into your new routine. Start establishing your network by consulting Facebook and LinkedIn to find old friends, colleagues and classmates who live there. Consider joining an interest group or find a local Meetup through gathers people with common interests.
Be patient.  Understand that it will take time for this new place to feel like home.  Meanwhile, enjoy making new friends and focusing on your new job. It may help to remember that, whatever you’re feeling, while new to you, it’s not really new.  In 400 BC, Greek philosopher Aristophanes wrote:  “A man’s homeland is wherever he prospers.” Go ahead and prosper in yours.

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