6 Tips To Ease the Pain of Relocating for a Job
If you’ve been offered a job in another city or plan to move to greener pastures to look for a job, there are many factors to consider beyond just the job itself. Along with illness, death of a loved one and divorce, moving ranks among life’s top stresses, and I got to experience it firsthand this summer when I relocated from Northern California to Texas. Here are some things I learned along the way:
1. Hiring Movers is Worth It
I haven’t asked a friend to help me move since my 20s, and here’s why: moving is such a pain for me that I have no interest in helping someone else move. Why should I expect others to come to my aid if I do not want to come to theirs? Unless you or your friends are trained to wrap furniture so that it does not get damaged and own a dolly for getting multiple boxes at a time up multiple flights of stairs, leave moving to the professionals.
Moving companies though, sometimes scam people. This happened to me once when I was charged several hundred dollars more than the estimate. Make sure you read reviews and get a reference or referral if possible.
I got rid of most of my furniture and went with a pod through the company Door to Door. Similar services include PODS and U-Haul U-Box. Pricing depends on size of the box and distance moved. Door-to-Door delivered a 5’x7’x8’ pod to my driveway. I packed it, and the company dropped it off at my new residence a week later. It was easy to pack myself because I lived on the ground floor, but my new apartment was 200 steps from the pod’s drop-off location. I paid a professional mover to unpack the pod and deliver my belongings to the apartment.
If you need someone to help you unpack quickly, try Task Rabbit. Unpacking takes time, and living among cardboard boxes is no fun. The sooner you are completely unpacked, the better. Some moving companies pack and unpack for you, but that’s never been in my budget. If you are negotiating a relocation package, see if you can get the funds for the red-carpet moving treatment.
2. Tell Everyone You Are New To Town
Once you’re on the ground, you’ll be in discovery mode, learning the best places to get groceries, gas, home supplies, haircuts, etc. You may also be adapting to a new climate. While the Internet and your smartphone GPS will be great guides for getting around, people are even better guides.
I told every single person I met that I was new to town. It was how I learned about the best supermarkets, running trails, movie theaters and how I got information about the weather. In my experience, Texans are friendlier than Californians, and I would often chat up cashiers. They were happy to offer advice on whatever I would ask about and offered unsolicited useful pieces of information. Four months in, I still tell some people I’m new. There’s still a lot to discover about Texas.
3. Make an Effort to Socialize
As a single person who works from home, I had to make a concerted effort to get out and meet people. Meeting people at my apartment complex was easy, but they did not necessarily share my interests.
The most important thing I did was join a weekly dance group. Every week I knew I saw at least some of the same people, and whether or not we got to know each other, the familiarity with like-minded people helped me feel grounded. I also joined Meetup and found several other groups of people who welcomed me.
Again, I wasn’t afraid to say I was new to town, and people informed me of many other groups and events that aren’t on Meetup. I also looked on Eventbrite for events of interest, some of which were networking groups. Next Door is also a way to connect with people in your neighborhood.
Whether it’s sports, dance, writing, crafting or church, committing to regular group outside of work will greatly enhance your feeling of belonging to your new community.
4. Take Advantage of Discounts
When I registered my change of address with the postal service, I received a package with coupons for stores like Target, Lowe’s and Best Buy. At 10 percent off or more, these discounts will save you money as you stock up on cleaning supplies and all the random things you will need for you new home. You will probably receive other welcome packets that give you savings on local restaurants and services.
5. Complete Administrative Tasks As Soon As Possible
Car inspection and registration, a new driver’s license, change of insurance and myriad change of address forms make up the administrative tasks of moving across state lines. Most states have guidelines on how soon you are supposed to transfer your car registration and get a new license. I met many people who took months or even years to do this. If police pull you over for any reason, you could get ticketed. It’s just not worth it.
Completing all your administrative tasks within 90 days can help you feel settled. I cried when I put the Texas plates on my car after only a month, but I jumped for joy when I finally got my driver’s license two months later. Officially becoming a Texan made me feel as if I had finally cut ties with California.
6. Expect to Grieve
I lived in California for 18 years. I knew where to go for hiking, for groceries, for oil changes and haircuts. I had a doctor, a veterinarian and a chiropractor. I had many good friends and was in love with the beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area. While much of the first few months was wrapped up in figuring out where to put things in my apartment and where to go for basic needs, I was also grieving the loss of friends and a place I loved.
Every time I saw a picture of the Bay Area from one of my Facebook friends, my heart would break. I had lot of late-night phone conversations with friends in California (due to the two hour time difference). Until I started forming real friendships in Texas, staying in touch with California was a lifeline.
All grieving takes time. The excitement of new opportunities and a sense of discovery pulled me forward. Unless your new place is better in all ways than the old, you will naturally make comparisons and think about the things that are different. Keeping a focus on what’s great about the present will keep you from dwelling on what you miss about the past.
If you feel you’ve been stagnating for any reason in your life, moving to a completely different location might just be the answer. And with a national job-seeking tool like Simply Hired at your fingertips, it could be easier to get the ball rolling than you think.