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Relocation Evaluation: Some Things to Consider Before Moving for a Job

It's been a long job search and you've finally found the position you wanted. Unfortunately, it's more than 800 miles and an entire lifestyle away. In graduate school, you learned to evaluate your options and it's never been so important a lesson as right now. Doing your homework by mapping out all aspects this move will have on your life can help you make a decision now that you won't regret later.

There are some considerations that should be addressed head on in your research, and the first of these according to Marty Nemko, an Oakland, California, career coach and author of Cool Careers for Dummies, is the "permanence of the position."

"You don't want to disrupt your life and move far away only to find a year later that the company went bust or they decided you were expendable," said Nemko. "(You should look for) the standard things one looks for in a good job but insisting on a higher level of job quality because you'll have to move: is the work interesting and challenging but not too challenging, a good boss, satisfactory compensation, reasonable commute, good work environment, opportunities for learning important things."

Moving costs vary depending on where you live and even if you plan on packing everything you own into a compact car, they should be included into the budget you establish for yourself.

Ask your potential employer what you can expect regarding the reimbursement of moving costs. This is not a time to be shy. The human resources departments of most corporations will be expecting - if not budgeting for - a question such as this.

"It's all negotiable, depending on how much they want you and if you have another job offer(s) to use as a negotiating tool," said Nemko. "Sometimes you can get all moving expenses including the cost of selling and buying a home plus a relocation signing bonus."

Taxes may not be pressing on your mind right now but keeping track of moving expenses is essential when you report your moving expenses to the Internal Revenue Service seeking a deduction. You could need to complete a separate form, Form 3903, when you do your taxes, so check the IRS Internet site (
HREF="./dolink.cfm?link=http://www.irs.gov">www.irs.gov) as you determine everything that is possibly deductible and save all moving-related receipts. The site even has a worksheet that you can use to deduct travel costs if moving by car applying a designated mileage rate.

Nemko recommends talking with people familiar with the position you may accept before deciding whether or not the move is financially beneficial.

"Before accepting the position, do a "360-degree evaluation": talk with the person who's place you'll be taking, your boss, supervisees, peers, customers, vendors," said Nemko. "Some of them won't be candid, but you'll learn enough to increase your odds of making a good choice."

Emotional well-being should fit into your relocation plan. If you are a person who feels more comfortable and productive in a small-town setting, moving to a big city chasing a job that is less than your ideal career may not make you happy. And if you are unhappy, chances are you may find yourself shopping around for another job move.

Explore the quality of life factors in the area where you are considering a move. Ask yourself if you can be happy with the length of your new commute. Is the company's medical insurance package, and deductibles, similar to those you have now? If you have preschool-aged children, it will be important to know if the cost of child care will increase with your move. Look into the area's school system and determine if their standards meet your own with regard to your child's education.

Having recently lived in the state of New Jersey where automobile insurance remains the highest in the United States, consider how large a chunk of your salary this will remove at least once a year.

Ask about the crime rate in the area where you're planning a move as well as the average cost of housing in this area. Even if you may not be able to afford a real estate purchase for several years, you should be planning on staying at your new job for at least a similar amount of time. CareersCafe.com (www.careerscafe.com) allows visitors to find a city profile of a locale's characteristics including the information mentioned above and other deciding factors such as the median family income and the regional unemployment rate.

Finally, there are some benefits of relocation that cannot be studied on paper. The opportunity to network with people who can help you advance in your field, not just within your company, is important to consider when you are thinking of relocating.

"Yes, alas it's too often, who you know matters as much as what you know," said Nemko. "So, indeed, a job that puts you in close contact with 'the right people in the field' is a real plus."

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