Moving target

Relocating for a job doesn't have to be a nightmare

Posted: Sunday, November 26, 2006

Moving to a new city for a job can be both stressful and exciting, and considering the current corporate consolidations and climate of mergers, acquisitions and buy-outs, more people than ever are relocating based on their employment. According to Jennifer Bonham, spokeswoman for Mayflower Transit in St. Louis, an estimated 43 million Americans move annually and approximately 40 percent of those moves are job related.

"Most employers offer some type of moving assistance, but you should negotiate the terms of your relocation package up front," says Bonham.

Standard procedure

Knowing when to ask about relocation expenses is key in getting the most out of your employer.

"The best time to negotiate relocation expenses is before accepting the new job so you can avoid surprises," says Bonham. "During the interview process, ask your prospective employer about the company's relocation policy, and check to see if the human resources department can provide a written copy."

Bonham adds that larger companies may offer a more standardized relocation package than smaller companies.

"Determine the flexibility of your prospective employer," she says. "Also, the cost of living and compensation varies by city and your industry, so do your homework to make sure the dollars are comparable in your new market."

Small steps

You're likely to feel anxious and in order to combat these feelings, make sure you follow a few important steps.

"On quick way to decrease that anxiety is to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings," says Caroline Lee, an employment advocate with Legal Authority. "Through the Internet, one can map out close freeway on-ramps, restaurants and places of interest. Buying a guidebook will also help in establishing some familiarity so that the relocation can go a bit smoother."

Nilam Dave`, a researcher with BGC Attorney Search in Pasadena, Calif., says a little planning to handle obvious problems can help make the relocation stress-free.

"Prepare your house for sell and start packing in advance to avoid any last-minute hassle," he says. "You can inquire with your spouse's human resources department to find out if there are programs for transferring spouses with their families."

Talking to people in the area can be a big help as well.

"Contact friends, family and colleagues for referrals which will provide great help when looking for new houses or a child's school," says Dave`. "Research on the Internet about schools in your area and for housing deals. Calculate the cost of living in the new city and plan the budget of the new home."

New location

Relocating for a job raises a smorgasbord of emotions: excitement, resentment, curiosity, fear, and wonder, just to name a few. It also brings out dozens of practical questions - everything from how to pack and what to bring to where you'll live and who the heck will pay for it all.

After you agree to the move, the best way to handle the relocation is with a spirit of adventure. Keep in mind that you will experience a new place with a built-in safety blanket. You obviously already have a job lined up, so the other pieces will eventually fall into place, given some time.

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