I distinctly remember having a conversation with a friend about whether or not she should relocate for a career opportunity in a different city. My friend asked my opinion because, a few years ago, I moved to Atlanta and lived there for three years.
I said GO FOR IT. She was a young, single woman who already had personal and professional connections in the potential new city. I told her, “If you don’t like it, you can always move back, but at least you’ll have that experience.”
That same evening, I overheard someone else discourage her from moving, even if it meant career advancement.
I was completely floored. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Why would anyone discourage someone from pursuing a successful career? It was the perfect time for her to make that kind of professional move! Why would someone NOT relocate for a career opportunity? The rest of the evening, I kept sending telepathic vibes, repeating over and over in my head, “Take the job! Remember what I told you! Just take the job! Relocate, relocate, relocate!”
Spoiler Alert: My friend did end up moving and never looked back.
I’ve heard many people talk about job relocation as if it’s a limiting factor in their professional life. But to be perfectly honest, I can’t blame them. I used to think that location was everything.
And it is–but not for the reason I originally thought. I used to think that if I could live in one particular city in one particular state, I would be happy.
After I graduated with a Master’s degree, I thought I would be happy moving back to Lexington. Months later, I started my PhD in my hometown surrounded by friends and family. I was exactly where I wanted to be.
I was SO wrong!
It was only after two years, when I was working a dead-end job and discovering that the PhD life wasn’t for me, that I realized happiness isn’t a place on a map. A city itself doesn’t pay your bills or give you purpose. A city isn’t a substitute for healthy relationships and emotional well-being.
My Grandma said this to her kids and she said the same exact thing to us–“Move where the job is.” There is absolutely nothing that can kill your professional life quicker than staying put while the jobs move.
But life is about more than just a job, right??
True story. A job isn’t everything. But let me put it this way–working a dead-end job with low pay, or even being unemployed, can really cramp your style.
Our primary goal to relocate was a response to the dismal job prospects in our city at the time. There were simply not many opportunities within our desired industries. When Stuart received not one, but two job offers in Columbus, I was on Zillow that evening scoping out rental properties!
But what changed between the time I moved back to the Bluegrass and now?
You’d be surprised how connected mental and emotional well-being are to your professional life. I did a lot of work and found out a lot about myself in those two years. I also started a healthy relationship with my now-husband and started thinking critically about my professional goals. My career is a major priority and, honestly, if you’re comfortable with yourself or with the right person, ANYWHERE can be an exciting adventure!
So far, I’ve lived in three different cities in three different states, two being major metropolitan areas. It can be scary at first, but now I hope to live overseas one day (or at least travel frequently)!
There are so many things I’ve learned from moving for school and new jobs. Relocating for your career offers advantages you never knew existed. However, you can only discover them by taking the plunge…
1. Anywhere can be fun if you have a good paycheck.
In all likelihood, you’re probably not going to accept a job offer unless it includes a pay increase. But one thing’s for sure–it doesn’t matter where you live, it’s no fun if you can’t afford anything.
2. Never underestimate the power of liking your job.
This is (obviously) a major factor in your job search. If you find a job you really want, location should not be the limiting factor. If you’re spending 40 hours of your week doing something, ideally it should be something you like!
3. More networking means more opportunities.
By staying in one city your entire life, your access to different people and different opportunities decreases exponentially. Depending on your career goals, it may make more sense to venture outside of your geographic comfort zone to take advantage of opportunities you’d never have otherwise.
4. You can stay connected to friends and family.
We have technology. We have air travel. We are a global society. Just because you live in a different city, state, or country doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch with loved ones. Plus, having friends across the country (or globe) means having a reason to visit different places!
5. Don’t be afraid to expand your worldview.
Working with and making friends with different people makes the world A LOT less intimidating. Everyone is trying to make a living and everyone can bond over work. I’ve often been surprised how easy it is to develop close friendships with the people I work with, many of which come from all over the world.
6. You are in control.
Apply to positions in locations you would like to live. If you are excited about a location to begin with, a job offer will be that much more exciting!
7. Relocation includes all kinds of places.
Relocation doesn’t only include big cities. If you want to live in a smaller town, adjust your job search to include these kinds of places. Living in a smaller town with a larger paycheck has its perks too. Depending on the industry, some jobs pay more or offer additional benefits to attract talent to less populated areas.
8. Fresh perspective is an asset.
The days are gone of getting a job right out of college and staying with that employer until you retire. Professional experience is no longer about how many years you’ve been with the same company. You can enhance your resume with your experience working in the same industry but in different geographic locations. Never underestimate the appeal of a fresh perspective.
9. Relocation assistance.
If you’re worried about the expense of moving, some employers offer relocation assistance. Make this a condition of your employment when you’re offered the job. This is a common conversation within HR, so don’t be afraid to ask about this option.
10. You can write off moving expenses on your taxes.
If you relocate specifically for a job, you can write off your moving expenses at tax time. Make sure to check the details with the IRS to see if you qualify. There are specific requirements regarding the distance you move and minimum number of weeks you work within the first 12 months of your new job. The deductions can cover your travel, transportation of your possessions, and even storage units if you can’t move into your new home right away.
In addition to these 10 Reasons Why You Should Relocate for Your Career, the real question is…
Outside of extenuating circumstances (e.g. caring for a loved one, etc.), there’s no reason why you should decline a good job opportunity due to relocation. If you are financially able, relocating for a career opportunity can be one of the best decisions you can make!
There are always a million reasons not to do something, but the fear of moving to a new place should not keep you from a good opportunity. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself, invest in your future, and treat your life like the adventure it is!
Have you ever thought about taking a job in a different city? If you could live anywhere, where would it be?